Fans of blood-sucking vampire stories are in for a mindless treat with Renfield, a new film that just hit theaters on April 14, and stars Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, and Awkwafina. The film follows Renfield (Hoult) as he attempts to break free from the chains of his forced and seemingly permanent job as a familiar belonging to Dracula (Cage). His life especially takes a whole new turn when Renfield meets Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), a New Orleans cop whom he grows fond of.
Renfield is one of those movies where you can simply sit back, relax, and watch events unfold without having to put much thought into the story overall. The biggest relatable factor is that it’s all about quitting your job and cutting ties with a toxic workplace and employer. Who hasn’t dealt with that but in much less gory and violent circumstances? It doesn’t take itself seriously at any point throughout the movie, which can alternate between being beneficial and detrimental as the story progresses. At times, there are some situations that fit the overall tone of the film, and push the incredibly outlandish gory nature as the appealing factor for this film. But other times, it feels as though things happen simply just to happen, with not much payoff by the end.
The film isn’t clean cut or perfect, and tends to lose focus, despite having a well-paced and easy to follow story. The main issue that drags the film down a bit is its many antagonists that don’t always feel as compelling or entertaining to watch, or simply have no true place or purpose. Ben Schwartz’s character, for example, feels more like a rehashed and remixed version of all the previous roles he’s ever played. Does it fit the film’s style? Sure. But is it exhausting to see that type of character from him? Absolutely. Did he need to be in the film? Probably not.
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It’s also important to remember that this is a movie that is primarily about Renfield, hence the title. While Dracula is a major part of the plot, don’t be surprised if you feel there wasn’t enough Nicolas Cage to go around. And frankly, that is for the best considering how much of Dracula we’ve seen in other media. The movie takes the focus on Renfield and runs with it, giving him a bit more depth than we thought we needed, and Hoult manages to bring his all into the role that appears to have few limits. It’s not entirely clear what the dynamic was intended to be for the relationship between Hoult and Awkwafina’s characters, and it especially does not help that they had next to no chemistry. Surprisingly, however, Awkwafina on her own was way more fun to watch than expected.
I wouldn’t toss this film to the side necessarily, especially if you had any prior intentions of watching it. Despite its major issues, it still serves as a fun and outrageous movie to watch that doesn’t try to be anything more than it advertises itself to be. It’s a vampire helper’s movie, through and through, and makes for an entertaining watch with a couple jokes that hit the mark. And let’s be honest, this is quite a creative way of quitting one’s job!
Renfield receives 3 out of 5 Samosas.
Renfield is now playing in theaters.
Runtime: 1h 33m