Film Review: Renfield – 6/10

‘I will no longer tolerate abuse. I deserve happiness!’

It feels ridiculous that it has taken until 2023 for Nicholas Cage to play Count Dracula. There is quite a large chance that he is an actual vampire in real life for chrissakes. And now that it has actually happened, he’s not even the goddamn main character. What a world, what a world…

Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) feels underappreciated at work. He is treated shoddily. Taken for granted. The works. It also just so happens that his boss is Count Dracula (Cage). Seeing affirmation, Renfield attends a group for people who feel abused by a co-dependent in which he begins the long and difficult process of stepping out of his master’s long and insidious shadow.

Now. The stuff with Renfield and Dracula is great. A full movie of that had the potential to be wonderful. Cage has the time of his life, of course. Hoult is effective also. Unfortunately, director Chris McKay (The Lego Movie) and his writing team of Ryan Ridley, Robert Kirkman and Ava Tramer don’t explore this concept enough. Instead, they tack on some nonsense about a crime lord (Ben Schwartz) and a cop (Awkwafina) and this derails the movie somewhat despite some excellent fight scenes (albeit excellent fight scenes that are undermined by some truly woeful CGI gore).

Renfield has some great moments but it’s not crazy enough. Cage as Dracula just feels right and yet his performance here is strangely muted. A missed opportunity.