- Published: Friday, 14 April 2023 10:49
- Written by Lupe R Haas
RENFIELD is not just another vampire movie. The horror-comedy takes what we know about the genre and twists the familiar tropes for laughs, led by the perfect casting of Nicolas Cage as Count Dracula and Nicholas Hoult as his overworked servant Renfield.
The classic monster tale takes a new focus with the bloodsucker’s servant (Hoult) taking the lead. The tortured sidekick has grown tired of his narcissistic boss after a decade of servitude. After saving the day and meeting Officer Rebecca (Awkwafina), he’s inspired to find a way to break off his toxic relationship.
RENFIELD shares many similarities to KICK-ASS, also starring Nicolas Cage as a Batman-type vigilante. Both are a send-up of a familiar genre with a dark, comedic tone and lots of cartonnish blood splatter.
Cage inhabits Count Dracula with his usual quirks and flair but with a menacing attitude and razor-sharp teeth. Cage brings a fun quality to this narcissistic character. The self-professed film aficionado obviously looked to classic black-and-white vampire movies starring Bela Lugosi and Max Schreck for inspiration in the exaggerated facial expressions. The lighting on his face also harkens back to the classics. Cage fans won’t be disappointed with his turn as Dracula.
Hoult and Cage make a dynamic pair. Hoult shares many characteristics with Cage. There’s an eccentricity with Hoult that matches Cage from his early years. The English actor often plays oddball characters with an endearing quality such as in WARM BODIES and in his series, The Great. In RENFIELD, viewers are rooting for Dracula’s servant to win over his blood-lusting boss.
Awkwafina is the straight man to Hoult and Cage’s eccentricities which seems odd because that’s usually her area of expertise. However, she dials it way, way down for RENFIELD. While the actress seems out of place as a New Orleans police officer, her dynamic with Hoult works regardless.
Ben Schwartz plays the mob boss’ childish and loud-mouthed son to utter perfection that you hope he gets killed off early in the movie. Funny enough, you’ll often hear his Sonic the Hedgehog personality.
The idea for the movie was conceived by The Walking Dead author and producer Robert Kirkman with a screenplay by Ryan Ridley. The premise behind the movie is a fun one. How do you escape your toxic boss or relationship using a classic monster as a vehicle to tell the story? The film is full of little truth bombs with inspirational messaging on how to break away and be more self-confident which is a nice touch. The message balances the cartoonish action happening around it.
Director Chris McKay (LEGO Movies, Robot Chicken) strikes the right tone in RENFIELD. The filmmaker paces the story and plays up the horror comedy to its full potential. The action scenes are ridiculous but fun with tons of cartoonish blood splatter to satisfy the genre fans.
RENFIELD is a good time at the movies, especially for Nicolas Cage fans who enjoy watching the actor’s eccentricities. If you like KICK-ASS, this movie is for you.