RENFIELD is a new horror comedy that is so insanely bloody it should be labeled a “splatter comedy”. Nicolas Cage is clearly enjoying himself as Dracula, while Nicholas Hoult is perfect in the title role. Read our full Renfield movie review here!
RENFIELD is a horror comedy that can be watched on demand now. And you really should. Nicolas Cage is having a ball portraying the iconic Count Dracula himself. Nicholas Hoult meanwhile is perfectly charming as his “familiar” in the title role.
Oh yeah, and it is bloody. Very bloody. So over-the-top and absolutely extremely gory with body parts flying around. Several times along the very tight runtime. In terms of horror-comedies, we getting close to Shaun of the Dead levels. And yes, I do absolutely love that particular zombie horror comedy, so those are crazy big words.
Continue reading our Renfield movie review below. Find it out on VOD from May 2, 2023.
Nicholas Hoult is charming and intense
It is, not surprisingly, Nicholas Hoult who has the actual lead role. He plays Robert Montague Renfield and is the title character telling his very own story. A life story that is somewhat unusual, but one Nicholas Hoult (The Menu, Kill Your Friends) delivers in a surprisingly charming way.
The film starts quite calmly at a group meeting for “codependents in toxic relationships”. While there, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) hears a number of relationships described. All of these clearly describe relationships similar to the one he has with his master; Count Dracula.
Shortly after we first meet Renfield at this meeting, he, as the narrator, wants to ensure that we (the audience) get a bit of backstory.
This is when the first wild escalation in mood and speed happens. We go from a gentle 5 to crazy 100 in a split second. It gets very violent, uncannily fast. Something that is appropriately used comically, before you can relax a bit again. This happens when we get a wonderful tribute to the classic Dracula (1931).
Specifically the way he was portrayed by Bela Lugosi himself.
Nicolas Cage is perfect as Dracula
This is also the moment where we first meet Nicolas Cage (Willy’s Wonderland) as Dracula. A role made for him at this point in his career, where he embraces the most wacky parts of himself. Dracula is always fully aware that he is in charge, and he loves it.
In Renfield, Nicolas Cage gets to create a portrayal of Count Dracula that both pays homage to the past and fits perfectly in the present.
Also, I have to highlight Awkwafina for her performance in a key role. Sure, it is very Awkwafina, but most people should know by now that she can do many different kinds of characters. In this movie, she plays the young police officer, Rebecca, just perfectly.
Rebecca is one of the few officers in New Orleans who cannot be bought. A dangerous decision when just about everyone around her is on some gangster’s payroll. It makes her a threat to the most feared drug family in the big city. But also an inspiration for Renfield, when he sees how she speaks up in the face of threats.
Like those he constantly endures from Dracula.
Awkwafina (Ocean’s Eight) is just wonderful as Rebecca, as she’s perfect as a young woman, who stands her ground. Especially when faced with threats to both her career and life. Most come from a family of gangsters led by the always fantastic Shohreh Aghdashloo (Run Sweetheart Run).
A fantastic splatter comedy
Although Renfield is officially a horror comedy, it’s actually so gory that “horror comedy” is too tame a description. This is a gorgeous “splatter comedy”. In fact, it’s a fantastic splatter comedy with a simple story, extremely well-cast actors, and a sharp runtime of 1 hour and 33 minutes.
Incidentally, the comedy part is also effective. As made obvious from the laughter, I witnessed myself when watching this in a movie theater. There were people laughing from start to finish. Some laugh due to dialogue, others from the over-the-top splatter elements that have limbs flying around.
Basically, we have a hybrid-genre movie here, where not only is it written with a number of really funny lines, but they are also delivered perfectly by the actors. You absolutely have to nail the casting of these roles, or the lines will fall flat or feel forced. With Renfield, it just works!
Watch Renfield on VOD now!
Director Chris McKay has managed to tell the story of Dracula in a new way through his familiar Renfield. If you are a fan of What We Do In The Shadows (both the film and the TV series), you will certainly be able to recognize some of the elements used. Especially as both movies are led by a “familiar” to vampires.
However, there is far more action in this new splatter comedy than in What We Do in the Shadows. Okay, with the exception of a few episodes maybe. This movie has the most fantastic fight scenes that are on par with some of the best action movies. Though, obviously, taken to the extreme with way more blood, body parts flying around, and dark comedy.
Those intense action scenes do also suit director Chris McKay very well. He previously directed the sci-fi action movie The Tomorrow War. And when it comes to hybrid genres, it’s worth mentioning that he also directed The Lego Batman Movie.
The script was written by Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty, Community), while Robert Kirkman gets credit for the “original idea”. If the name Robert Kirkman seems familiar, it’s probably because he is the writer of The Walking Dead. I mean, the actual graphic novels that were adapted into The Walking Dead TV series and various spin-offs.
In other words, there’s a delightfully skilled crew behind this new horror comedy. And most importantly, it’s just extremely well-made and thoroughly entertaining.
Renfield was released in theaters on April 14, but you can watch it on VOD as of May 2, 2023. It will also be available on Peacock from June 9, 2023.
In Theaters: April 14, 2023
On VOD: May 2, 2023
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Fantasy
Director: Chris McKay
Writer: Ryan Ridley (screenplay), Robert Kirkman (story)
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, Shohreh Aghdashloo
In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult (The Menu) stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Nicolas Cage). Renfield is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, after centuries of servitude, Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his codependency.