Movie Review: Renfield (2023)

Synopsis: After decades of serving as Dracula's familiar and committing murders on his master's behalf, Renfield seeks to separate himself from his codependent relationship. However, Dracula isn't ready to let him go and, when he helps a local police officer, Renfield becomes the target of a New Orleans crime family.

Who's in it? The movie stars Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Review: I was intrigued when I saw trailers for this movie a few months ago but, since not all Nicolas Cage movies are the same, I wasn't interested in seeing it at the theater. It became available on Peacock this week, however, and I wasted no time watching it finally. Overall, it wasn't too bad.

I wasn't really sure if I would like this movie at first. The premise was somewhat unique, focusing on an underrated character from the Dracula lore and introducing the main plot with a clever recreation of the 1931 film (substituting Cage for Bela Lugosi). However, the extreme amount of blood whenever a murder was shown made me wonder if the movie would be a bit too over the top.

However, as the film progressed, I found I was getting invested in it. I think the thing that really won me over was, while he could be considered a victim in some ways, I wasn't sure if I could consider Renfield (Hoult) a good guy. His latest murders were of bad people but were still murders and he had a long history of killing innocent people as well. 

This, at minimum, kept the ending a little more unpredictable than I would have expected, especially once his secret was out. I mean, with the only other main character being an honest police officer (Awkwafina), how does this film not end with him either dead or in prison and still feel realistic?

I also have to admit, I loved how Cage portrayed Dracula. A lot of movies tend to soften that vampire, but Cage's version was the definition of evil, both from the way he abused Renfield to his desire to take over the world. There was no question about him remaining evil until the very end of the film and wouldn't suddenly start seeing things from Renfield's eyes.

Final Opinion: The blood and gore might have been a little too much at times, but the plot is definitely unique and entertaining and it's one of Cage's best performances, at least in my opinion. I'd recommend it as a result.

My Grade: A


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