Renfield: horror movie (review: video format).
Oh, joy of joys, just when you thought Bram Stoker’s Dracula was wrung dry of its creative juices, along comes Renfield, an action-packed, gory comedy that tickles your funny bone and somehow leaves you wanting less. Because who wouldn’t want to see Dracula’s pitiful servant Renfield (played by a perpetually flustered Nicholas Hoult) struggle through his eternal servitude in the modern-day New Orleans? I mean, a support group for abusive co-dependency and a local gang war? Genius!
Renfield is the brainchild of The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman, who teamed up with Chris McKay (aka The Lego Batman Movie) and Ryan Ridley (Rick and Morty) to create this cinematic masterpiece. And let’s not forget the pièce de résistance: Nicolas Cage as the King of Vampires himself. Cage chews up the scenery with a ferocity that would make Max Schreck proud.
Unfortunately, Hoult’s Renfield falls a tad flat, like a squished bug on a windshield. Channeling Hugh Grant from the ’90s, Renfield is too spineless to carry this film on his own. Thank goodness for Awkwafina’s plucky cop, who adds a touch of awkward charm to the mix. And who could forget Shohreh Aghdashloo’s sultry kingpin, a character that would give John Wick a run for his money?
Renfield does have its moments, such as Cage’s uncanny homage to Bela Lugosi’s iconic 1931 Dracula. But for the most part, this $86 million film is all about the digital splatter. Limbs fly, eyes are gouged, and heads roll in a frenzied ballet of gore that would make Buffy and Blade proud.
So, if you’re in the mood for a film that’s all style and no substance, this flick is the perfect ticket. Just don’t expect anything beyond the blood, guts, and Nicolas Cage’s wild performance. After all, emotional stakes are so passé.