Universal is going in double-fisted on Dracula. Not only did we get Renfield which was released today but the trailer for The Last Voyage of the Demeter as well. Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been told and retold more times than we can count by Hollywood. Some dark, some kids friendly, and others featuring Nic Cage. First, let’s dive into the synopsis and trailer, and then let’s talk Renfield.
Renfield, the tortured aide to his narcissistic boss, Dracula, is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding. However, after centuries of servitude, he’s ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of the Prince of Darkness.
Renfield focuses mostly on the tortured aide to Dracula, Robert Montague Renfield (Hoult). He just wants a normal life, but being aide to Dracula is anything but normal. The film finds them in New Orleans and the city is run by crime families with lots of corruption, so no shock there. Awkwafina plays Officer Rebecca Quincy who Renfield saves when Teddy Lobo (Ben Schwartz) and the crime family go after her.
The film is touted as a sequel to the Dracula film from 1931. However, even as a horror film Renfield is anything but serious. With Nic Cage cast as Dracula, you can expect him to be very, very Cagey in this film. Which frankly, is exactly what Cage fans want to see. And because the film doesn’t try to take itself seriously, they are able to take the gore level up to ridiculous and horror fans will eat it up.
The film spends most of its time with Renfield, Officer Quincy, and Teddy Lobo, each of which provides an interesting mix of character personalities and how they interact together. Even some of the side characters like Kyle and Doug get some fun punch lines that keep going throughout the film.
As a horror film, Renfield doesn’t really stand out as overly innovative or franchise-building. But again, it’s all about expectations going in. If you are a horror fan, and you love slapstick gore and carnage, mixed with Dracula and Nicolas Cage, well Renfield is going to deliver all those check boxes for you. I am personally not a huge horror fan but I found myself laughing with the audience during the fight scenes and the comedic moments while appreciating Nicolas Cage being himself, playing Dracula.
Renfield is in theatres today April 14th.