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Renfield (2023) Review

This is my review for the 2023 movie “Renfield”. Nicholas Cage and Nicholas Hoult star in this comedy slash horror slash action movie. It’s fun, entertaining and plays it a bit too safe.

What is Renfield about?

The titular Renfield (Hoult) has been serving Dracula (Cage) for decades, but has had enough. Sick of having to be a bad guy, Renfield seeks a heroic turn and a messy divorce from the lord of death. His boss, naturally, isn’t too pleased. Their story becomes entangled with that of a lone cop’s (Akwafina) fight against the local mob. It doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s a comedy and it’s an entertaining fare.

Is Renfield gay?

Despite there being quite a lot of homoerotic tension between Cage’s Dracula and Renfield – the movie doesn’t delve into this anywhere near as much as it should. Renfield does spend a lot of time complaining about his boss at a support group for victims of toxic relationships (all of the other speakers are there regarding romantic partners) – but it doesn’t seem like the two share anything intimate. Or, at least, they don’t anymore.

In all honesty, I think this was the piece that this movie was missing. For a movie that seems to be centred around toxic relationships, it only bothers to show us the toxic; and never the relationship. It’s hard to see why Renfield feels any compulsion to help; beyond fear. Some fruitiness to their relationship would’ve definitely helped explain some things – and would’ve been very fun, given how hammy Cage’s performance was in this film.

Renfield (2023) Review

There is a good movie inside of this movie, though it struggles to find it. Everything with Cage in it is golden, he puts on a great show. The problem is the crime syndicate aspect of the story, which offers nothing but fodder for Hoult and Akwafina to fight. So much time is spent on this weak segment of the movie and the film doesn’t even bother resolving it.

However, when this movie is good – it’s great. Hoult is a delight as the lead and plays off of Cage really well. Akwafina gets a lot of flack from the internet, but I found her to be perfectly fine in this. If this had just been a horror comedy, it would be glorious. It’s just a big shame that it diluted the good stuff with unimpressive action sequences and a boring police drama.

The final third feels particularly weak, with a lot of the rules of the universe starting to bend a little. It becomes clear that every character’s power level is exactly what the plot needs it to be at a given time.

As a comedy, this is passable. I’ve said it a million times already but Cage was a fantastic casting decision – he knows what he does best and he does it so well. I laughed a few times and grinned at others, though it was hardly “laugh a minute”. The cringe-worthy “Postmates” joke from the trailer, thankfully, seems to have been left on the cutting room floor.

It feels like I’ve been harsh on this movie. I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to anyone based on Cage as Dracula alone. However, it is disappointing to see a movie that could’ve been a great cult classic settle with just being fine.

Will there be a Renfield sequel?

Looking at the box office numbers of Renfield, a sequel does not look likely. This movie is putting up disappointing numbers, which is a shame. It doesn’t seem likely that there will be any push for any sort of continuation of this story, not that it needs one. It does potentially hint at the possibility of one with the ending, but there’s no obvious plotline presenting itself. I wouldn’t bet on a sequel.

I do hope that the box office failure of Renfield doesn’t cause studios to become reluctant to make horror comedies. Last year, we had phenomenal black comedies like The Menu and Bodies, Bodies, Bodies – these movies clearly can be great, it’s just a shame that this one fell a bit flat.

Who is Renfield for?

If the idea of Nicholas Cage as Dracula makes you raise an eyebrow, then yes – this movie is for you! You will not be disappointed, he’s everything you want and more. Equally, if you’re just looking for a movie that’s good to switch your brain off for but has enough action to keep you awake – go for it.

Other than that, it is difficult to see what this movie was gunning for – target audience wise. It is a weird mix of action, horror and comedy; but doesn’t really nail any of the three. Besides a couple of jump scares, there’s no real horror element to the plot. The comedy is hit and miss; while the action (while spectacularly gory) isn’t particularly special.

This was my review of the 2023 movie “Renfield”. Did you like this movie or did you think it “sucked”? Let me know in the comments below.

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