After playing none other than Nick Cage in last year's The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, it looked difficult to find a role more perfectly suited for Nicolas Cage. And now, just a year later, we have Cage playing the Lord of Death AKA Prince of Darkness AKA Count Dracula. What a perfect piece of casting this is.
Whilst Cage's Dracula is a big part of the film, and arguably its selling point, Renfield's focus is, you guessed it, Renfield. Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) is Dracula's familiar slash servant. But when Dracula starts planning for world domination and seeking to grow to full power, Renfield decides that he's grown sick and tired of serving Dracula and wants to find a new lease on life.
Renfield starts attending support groups and starts dressing more colourfully. He even begins to fall in love with Awkwafina's police officer Rebecca Quincy. But as Dracula's power grows, and as the power of New Orleans' crime ring falls into his hand, all hell starts to break loose.
Renfield balances itself perfectly. It doesn't lean too hard into the horror of Dracula but instead, it fills itself with over-the-top action scenes featuring cartoonish blood and guts flying all over the place. Heads exploding, limbs flying across the screen and lots of comically fake blood is what you should expect to see from Renfield. It truly delivers on this with wacky and zany action scenes full of silly gore. As an action-comedy, Renfield is bloody entertaining and boy is it bloody.
It's funny, has blistering action sequences and is one of the most entertaining films of the year. It would be a mistake not to mention Ben Schwartz as the scene-stealing Teddy Lobo, son of New Orleans' crime boss who has to prove to his mum that he's got what it takes to carry her legacy forward. Schwartz looks like he's having the time of his life in this role and has some of the best lines of the movie.
Renfield doesn't dive too deep into Dracula or vampire lore, nor does it go too hard on its messaging on co-dependency and valuing self-worth but that's okay because Renfield has it where it counts. Nic Cage and Nicholas Hoult are great as Dracula and the titular familiar and they work great together, keeping the film light and breezy. Director Chris McKay lets Cage go full Cage in his performance, and as a result, Renfield is fresh, over-the-top, and vampire filmmaking at its silliest.
Renfield releases in cinemas on April 14th.