In theatres today from director Chris McKay and Universal Pictures is one man’s story of learning how to be RENFIELD.
Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has been spanning the eras being the familiar to the one and only Count Dracula (Nicholas Cage). At a personal cross-road, Renfield finds himself attending a 12-step self-help group with others who are coping with being in a bad relationship with a narcissist.
New Orleans has also been plagued by the Lobo crime family headed by Mom Ella (Shohreh Aghdashloo) and out of control son Teddy (Ben Schwartz). Trying to put them behind bars is officer Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina) who is shut down every time she has Teddy in cuffs.
A chance meeting brings Renfield (his tin of bugs) and Quincy together and angers Ella but Dracula has other plans. Making it clear that he is happy with being in the 21st century, he shares the plan with Renfield that he must do better at providing, well food, for his master. This isn’t sitting well with Renfield who is learning to be his own man!
Teddy is now after Renfield as well but ends up in Dracula’s lair. That’s where the ancient fanged horror finds out that Renfield has been sort of living a good life. Now the table is about to turn as Dracula finds people who are just as happy to be evil in order to take out the good because, as Dracula says, the good taste so much better.
Co-dependency – its time to take back the power!
Hoult as Renfield is charming, disarming, thoughtful, caring and pretty much accessory to eras of, well, murder. That being said, Hoult brought life to a character that has been a bit overlooked throughout history. I just love how he is given his due and in the most unusual way. The interaction between Hoult and Cage is fantastic and a bit intimidating just to watch.
Awkwafina as Quincy is a cop who has been fighting for years to find justice for her murdered father. Especially when the ones responsible are the Lobo family. She gives us a hard edge but comedy to boot. Awkwafina gets a chance to show some action skills and it’s pretty cool.
Schwartz as Teddy is just ridiculously out of control and pretty much knows he can get away with anything. The corrupt police department makes sure of that. Schwartz looks like he is having a great time in this role. Aghdashloo as Ella has one purpose, to keep her crime family together even if her son is a loose cannon. Its wonderful to see her take on a comedic role while being the most well-dressed bad gal in the film.
Now, lets talk about Cage as Dracula – I swear I either couldn’t stop laughing or was riveted by his portrayal. This isn’t your handsome, smooth talking nice guy that is misunderstood. Nope, he is clearly got dental issues, controlling tendencies, a plan for world domination and needs a nail technician asap! He has taken this role and given is thrills, laughs, chills and more thrills. Well done from start to finish.
Other cast includes Adrian Martinez as Chris, Danya LaBelle as Karla, Rhonda Dents as Sharon, Christopher Cook as Bob, Michael Sullivan as Weird Kevin, Rosha Washington as Trevante, T. C. Matherne as Kyle, Brandon Jones as Mark, Jenna Kanell as Carol, James Black as Captain Browning, Caroline Williams as Vanessa, Bess Rous as Caitlyn and Camille Chen as Kate.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
RENFIELD is such a horror/comedy filled with amazing performances. Starting with Hoult and Cage then add a spicy dash of Awkwafina and add a well-chosen cast of disturbing characters and this is fun for everyone. There is action, a long history story line, blood, gun fights, body fights, more action and all in the name of the prince of darkness.
The opportunity for Renfield to tell his side of the story makes it clear that working for a self-indulgent, narcissistic ageless boss needed its moment in the sun (pun intended). Jaw dropping moments along with uncomfortable laughs only add to this strange and pretty dang cool telling.
I was all in for Cage being Dracula but man, oh man, did direction McKay get it right from action to cinematography to special effects. It is everything we didn’t know we wanted!
In the end – it sucks to be him!