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  • Writer's pictureMatthieu Côté

RENFIELD Review: Diabolically yours, Dracula

The Prince of Darkness is back on the big screen and this time portrayed by the legendary and eccentric Nicolas Cage in Universal's new film, Renfield, named after Dracula's faithful assistant. Indeed, this gory adventure features the right-hand man of the greatest vampire of all time, a concept that is quite appealing to Dracula fans. The project is under the direction of Chris McKay who directed the hilarious and colorful The Lego Batman Movie, so a touch of humor was also expected when Renfield was announced in 2021. It was Nicolas Cage's opportunity to put back his vampire teeth after his appearance in 1988 in the cult film Vampire's Kiss. The good news is that the actor delivers in this important role.

Synopsis: "Renfield, Dracula's henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them."

Renfield is an ode to toxic relationships through the means of an action-packed, gory and colorful hand-to-hand trip. What it lacks in atmosphere and depth, they compensate with a decent amount of blood-splattering fun and a devilish performance from Nicolas Cage. As a huge fan of the mythical vampire, it's hard not to think of the wasted potential horror-wise, however Dracula's presence does not disappoint. The time spent with the supporting characters isn't always welcome, but the film still finds a way to entertain and deliver.

Nicolas Cage is known for his technique of "nouveau shamanism" which he himself developed and despite his reputation for going too far, he was able to incorporate the essence of Dracula with his presence in front of the screen. Even when Dracula is not seen, he is ever-present through the psychological burden Renfield carries on his shoulders. The absence of Universal's mythical castles or the aesthetic of Hammer Films is slightly felt, but they still manage to pay homage to the classic 1931 Tod Browning film and create some interesting paintings with the lighthing and the sets.

In the midst of an identity crisis, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) is played with a sentimental touch as he meets a fearless policewoman (Awkwafina) who gives him hope. This portion of the scenario is not completely successful, but we can not help laughing thanks to the electric and endearing performance of Awkwafina. The actress brings a little soul to this morbid escapade.

Overall, Renfield achieves his entertainment goals with a pool of blood and a Nicolas Cage in full control of his ways. Moviegoers who bought a ticket to see him play the famous Count Dracula should get their money's worth.

Initial Score: 7/10

Renfield starts playing in theaters on April 14th

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