Shadow
Renfield
An imperfect horror-comedy that that benefits greatly from the scenery chewing by Nicolas Cage.

Renfield

Release Date: April 14, 2023
Runtime: 01:33
Synopsis:
Renfield, Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them.

Table of Contents

The servant of Count Dracula fights for his independence in . For decades Robert Montagu Renfield () has been the familiar for Count Dracula (), with his primary task being locating victims for his master. Following Dracula's latest defeat, Renfield relocates to an abandoned hospital in New Orleans. He nurses his master back to health between visits to a support group to deal with his co-dependency issues. Renfield soon finds himself caught in the middle of a war between police officer Rebecca Quincy () and local mob boss Bellafrancesca Lobo () and her son Teddy ().

Renfield Synopsis

Renfield is a horror-comedy directed by Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War), which acts as a modern-day continuation of sorts of Tod Browning's original Universal Monsters Dracula, complete with an opening prologue that sees Nicolas Cage recreate some of Bela Lugosi's iconic moments. The titular Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), has spent decades as a semi-unwilling servant of Dracula, gaining superhuman powers by eating bugs and being healed by drinking Dracula's blood. While attempting to acquire drug dealers as victims for his master, Renfield ends up crossing the path of Teddy Lobo, whose family gets free reign in the city thanks to the corrupt police force. The only exception is traffic cop Rebecca Quincy, who has been working with her FBI agent sister Kate () to try and bring down the Lobos. However, Teddy ends up striking a deal with Dracula, which causes trouble for both Renfield and Rebecca.

My Thoughts on Renfield

Over the years, there have been many attempts to revive the Universal Monsters properties, including the interconnected Dark Universe, which immediately failed after the poor performance of the 2017 remake of The Mummy, as well as the one-off remake of The Invisible Man. Renfield is another one-off attempt which takes a very comedic approach to focus on Count Dracula's long-suffering servant Robert Montagu Renfield.

The most positive takeaway from the film is the scenery-chewing dedication Nicolas Cage gives to his performance as Dracula. Despite technically being the film's main antagonist, Cage's Dracula spends most of the first half of the film recovering from being burnt to a crisp in the opening scene. This results in more focus on mob boss Bellafrancesca Lobo and her incredibly annoying son Teddy.

This whole mob boss subplot is quite obviously plot filler, and both Lobos end up being incredibly unnecessary and grating characters. Despite having since found success as the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog, Ben Schwartz's performance as Teddy Lobo hearkens back to when he was best known as Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Recreation, and not in a good way. Despite these flaws, Renfield still has fun moments, particularly as the titular character uses his bug-drawn superpowers to dispatch thugs in an incredibly gory fashion.

Ultimately, if it weren't for the involvement of Nicolas Cage, Renfield would probably end up being a more forgettable film than it ends up being. While the movie won't do much regarding revitalizing the Universal Monsters, the film is still a relatively entertaining horror-comedy that makes for a fun distraction.

Trailer for Renfield

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.