Released April 14th, “Renfield” follows the story of Robert Montague Renfield, played by Nicholas Hoult, who has been Dracula’s esteemed servant for centuries. After all these years, Renfield decides it’s time to see if there’s life outside of his boss’s shadow. One of the first things to notice about this film is the chemistry between Dracula (Nicolas Cage) and Renfield. From their early days of companionship, Renfield does anything in his power to serve his master and bring him bodies to feed on.
Cage’s delivery of his lines as Dracula is as expected for the Dark Lord himself. With such a prominent figure like Dracula being placed in a modern setting, he still maintains his regal and elegant way of speaking. It is a highlight of the film as even Renfield finds himself speaking with the same eloquence that Dracula speaks as if he had just been relocated to the modern world from his original time.
While those may have been the highlights of the film, there were a few pieces where “Renfield” does disappoint. The main focus of this film was the relationship between the two titular characters and having Renfield break free of Dracula’s narcissism. However, we rarely see the two of them aside from early in the film. The majority of the movie takes place in modern times, and which would have been nice to see the connection between the different periods Dracula and Renfield have lived throughout.
Within the film, there is a support group for those in codependent relationships. Renfield attends this support group as a means to find common ground amongst those who may share the same experience. The relationships between all these members and the reflection their stories tell influence Renfield throughout the movie. It is also a chance for the audience to empathize further with his true feelings about doing Dracula’s bidding. It also has viewers rooting for him as he progresses and the character develops further upon realizing that happiness is possible. Throughout the film, we can hear Renfield’s inner thoughts occasionally being voiced in the form of a voice-over, allowing us to go even further into his head and his character’s internal struggles.
Another titular character within this movie is Officer Rebecca Quincy, played by Akwafina. Known as the legacy child within the New Orleans Police Department, she tries to prove herself as more than a low-level cop working the drunk driver stops. She constantly shoots for the bigger fish in the Lobos Crime Family — the most feared crime family in all of New Orleans, and was responsible for the death of Rebecca’s father. Awkwafina’s character does serve as sort of a romantic interest, but not much happens between them except for advice that she gives to Renfield for him to go about life and try to break free of the control Dracula has on him. There is a whole separate storyline about the corruption within the law enforcement division, and the crime family is centered around the whole city of New Orleans. It draws away from the advertised plot of exploring Renfield and Dracula’s rocky relationship and guidance through this modern world after being alive for centuries.
This film leans heavily on gore and blood-spilling. It has a slapstick amount of gore, blood and dismemberment. There are also a lot of bones that will be cracking, so you’ve been forewarned ahead of time.
The costumes are another focal point as we see Dracula rocking the classic Count Dracula look with his cape, the star medal necklace and even the makeup. The effects used by the makeup department to enhance the ghastly and frightening look of Dracula add more to the performance put on by Nicholas Cage.
Verdict: “Renfield” is a frighteningly good time, despite the lack of a more in-depth look at the advertised relationship. The muddled storylines draw away from the talents of Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult.