It’s happened before, and it will happen again. That’s a phrase most people have heard a number of times throughout the years, and it’s relevant in almost every aspect of pop culture and fashion. Clothing goes in and out of style, only to return decades later, 3D did the same in cinemas, and is now trying to make a second resurgence thanks to Avatar: The Way of Water. Marvel does the same, bringing back B-movies with its Werewolf by Night Disney Plus special presentation, and now Renfield follows suit.
The latest film in the Nicolas Cage renaissance sees the exuberant actor portraying Dracula. Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) is his loyal follower who procures bodies for Dracula to devour, and makes sure his other needs are taken care of. However, Renfield still has a heart and a conscience, which gets him into trouble with Dracula, Tedward Lobo (Ben Schwartz), the son of a drug cartel family, and Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), a true blue police officer.
While Nic Cage does pulp up every scene with his now trademark over the top performances, he’s actually a little reserved in Renfield. The movie primarily revolves around Renfield and Rebecca Quincy, and is very much a modern day B-movie horror with everything that comes along with that designation. The gore is over the top, yet unrealistically befitting of B-movie stereotypes, and in no way does the film take itself seriously. It leans into the cheese and never looks back.
If you came looking for substance, Renfield is not it. This is a B-movie comedy horror film through and through. Most of the jokes land, and the ridiculousness of some of the fight scenes will garner a few laughs as well. The plot is super straightforward, with Awkwafina playing Rebecca as straight and narrow as they come. Ben Schwartz is typecast in a pretty typical role for him, just a bit more hardcore as an over the top and incompetent drug lord.
With a 90-minute runtime, Renfield does not waste any time getting to the point and running with it. The plot is predictable, but no words are minced. The pacing moves quickly to keep the audience entertained and avoid any lulls in the action. While it’s best to enjoy this kind of film with an audience, that’s the only aspect that really begs this film to be seen in a theater. Otherwise this is fine to watch on streaming or VOD down the road.
Renfield leans hard into the B-movie vibe, but after one viewing there’s not much left to entertain. This is not the kind of film that requires repeat viewings unless you just love B-movies. Still, on the first viewing there’s a lot to enjoy, especially if you’re not looking for anything too serious out of the movie.
Synopsis: Renfield, Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them.
Director: Chris McKay
Writers: Ryan Ridley, Robbery Kirkman
Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina
Runtime: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.