Review: Renfield

Over the years, there have been various interpretations of Dracula. From 1931’s Dracula to 2014’s Dracula Untold, the tale of the Prince of Darkness has captivated audiences. Renfield is Universal’s latest Dracula story told through the perspective of his assistant aka familiar named R.M Renfield. The film focuses on the abusive boss/employee relationship that exists between them.

Living in New Orleans, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) finds help for his relationship with Dracula (Nic Cage) through a support group and unlikely friendship with Officer Quincy (Awkwafina). Renfield’s decision to stand up to Dracula leads to more chaos in his life.

Renfield is a mixed bag. The good mix – the film showcases a fun performance from Nic Cage. His Dracula is menacing, dangerous, and hilarious. He’s the worst boss you’ve ever had that could/would kill you at any moment. You also have Nicholas Hoult who plays a very entertaining version of Renfield. The dynamic between Cage and Hoult works well. When the two of them are on screen together the film is at its best.

There is also a lot of blood…lots and lots of blood during the fight scenes. Blood spewing everywhere like a broken fire hydrant is extremely comical and will at least make the audience chuckle. Unfortunately, those high moments are immediately brought down by a non-Dracula scene.

The not so good mix – the script leaves a lot to be desired. The B plot involving the Lobo crime family and Officer Quincy is hollow. Even with a runtime of 93 minutes, the moments away from Dracula are just filing time. The B plot feels even more bloated once Officer Quincy’s sister and the reasoning for her father’s death is injected into the story. It’s a plotline that’s 10x more uninteresting than it is entertaining.

The biggest crime in Renfield is not taking advantage of an interesting premise. It has the bones of a really fun horror-comedy that blends what we know about Dracula with what we know about abuse and mental health. Instead, audiences are left with an uneven film that waste one of the most interesting Dracula performances in recent years.

Grade: C