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Review: Renfield (2023)

5 Star.png
5 Star.png

#Cinema, #streaming, #Horror, #comedy, #peacock, #film

David North-Martino

Jun 14, 2023

Review: Renfield (2023)

Review: Renfield (2023)

Review by: David North-Martino

Renfield (2023) is an American comedy horror film directed by Chris McKay (The Tomorrow War) and stars Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), and Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider).

Inspired by the novel Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker and the Universal Pictures Dracula (1931), this version focuses on Renfield, Dracula’s servant, having survived into modern times along with his master, attempting to live an independent life in New Orleans. Of course, Dracula is not entirely thrilled with this new situation.

Renfield seeks out the help of a support group for people in co-dependent relationships and later Rebecca (Awkwafina), an NOPD traffic cop. His attempts to free himself from Dracula’s thrall also put him in the crosshairs of the mob.

Nicholas Hoult (Renfield) gives a nuanced performance. His ability to oscillate between outright silly to sad and wistful is a testament to his acting ability.

Awkwafina is not given much of a character or an arc. She does the best she can with what she’s been given. Making her a traffic cop instead of a detective doesn’t make much sense. When Awkwafina is on screen, I can’t help but think her deadpan humor mirrors that of Melissa McCarthy.

Nicholas Cage plays Dracula somewhat understated. I expected a bat-crap-crazy performance from Cage but I was pleasantly surprised with his restraint. At times he really looks like Bela Lugosi, especially his eyes. Yet, they update his look for modern times making him look freakier and more menacing.

Shohreh Aghdashloo (X-Men: The Last Stand) as Bellafranessca Lobo a matriarch mob boss and her son Tedward Lobo (Ben Schwartz, Parks and Recreation) offer shades of John Wick.

If not for all the blood spray and swearing, Renfield would be a really sweet comedy. As it stands, if you don’t like either of these elements, you would be advised to stay away.

This film is paced well and makes sense throughout. It’s not convoluted like many of the films I’ve watched lately.

Renfield isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you like Melissa McCarthy-type movies, over-the-top blood and gore, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll probably enjoy this movie as well.

Although not a huge fan of horror comedies, I liked this one enough to recommend it. Critics hated it and audiences seemed to at least like it. My wife would give it four stars for entertainment value alone, I can only give it a solid three. I’d be interested to know what you think.

Renfield (2023) is streaming on Peacock Premium.

Story Doctoring:

I think fleshing out Rebecca’s character and arc would go a long way to making this a better movie. Renfield is missing a true love interest and that is needed in this picture.

Rating: Three out of five stars.

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