Renfield… Robert Montague Renfield, sees Nicholas Hoult (The Menu) in the titular lead role, but because this is 2023, and everyone needs to talk about their feelings and mental health, he finds himself at a self-help therapy group for people in co-dependent relationships, who are trying to get out of these abusive situations.
For him, he’s a ‘familiar’, aka a servant of Dracula (Nicolas Cage – Adaptation), but is afraid of him. As he explains to group, he wants to break free from his narcissist boss, and if he doesn’t tend to the individual’s every need (by bringing him dead bodies to feast upon), then “he won’t grow to full power”. I guess, if that happened, The Transylvanian Prince of Darkness would be a complete Count?
But he’s a scrawny thing, so how can he? Well, that’s done by eating bugs to give him a superpower for a brief time, in order to bump baddies off, as well as helping Dracula defeat anyone who wants to kill him.
However, you can only maintain a prescence in a town for so long. Hence, every so often, they have to leave where they live and move somewhere else.
Once they settle in New Orleans, events bring the Lobo crime family into their loves, led by Teddy Lobo (Ben Schwartz – The Afterparty) and his mother, Bellafrancesca (Shohreh Aghdashloo – Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and I also remember her getting blown away in ‘24‘, as she couldn’t act to save her life), along with traffic cop Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina – Swan Song), who joined the force because she wanted to follow in their footsteps of her late father. They work well together, and even with some tertiary characters, such as support group leader Mark (Brandon Scott Jones) and some of those telling their tales, there’s enough in the script to give everyone a fair crack of the whip, and leave a lasting impression on you, even in its brief 93-minute running time.
There’s also some amusing use of slo-mo in a particular fight scene, which was partly shown in the trailer, but I remember it being not as blood-splattered as in the film.
Plus, given a mix of gore, Dracula and humour, this took me back to Love At First Bite, with George Hamilton in the lead role. That was also a 15-cert, albeit not nearly as gory as this film.
As an aside, the budget for Renfield is $65m, and I can’t quite see that all onscreen, but to date, it’s only taken $18.9m and it deserves much better than that.
There’s also some elements which happen during the closing credits, which you can read below:
Running time: 93 minutes
Release date: April 14th 2023
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Format: 2.39:1 (Redcode RAW 8K)
Cinema: Cineworld Didsbury
Director: Chris McKay
Producers: David Alpert, Bryan Furst, Sean Furst, Robert Kirkman, Chris McKay
Screenplay: Ryan Ridley
Based on an original idea by: Robert Kirkman
Music: Marco Beltrami
Robert Montague Renfield: Nicholas Hoult
Dracula: Nicolas Cage
Rebecca Quincy: Awkwafina
Teddy Lobo: Ben Schwartz
Bellafrancesca Lobo: Shohreh Aghdashloo
Mark: Brandon Scott Jones
Chris: Adrian Martinez
Kate: Camille Chen
Caitlyn: Bess Rous
Carol: Jenna Kanell
Karla: Danya LaBelle
Sharon: Rhonda Johnson Dents
Bob: Christopher Matthew Cook
Weird Kevin: Michael P Sullivan
Trevante: Rosha Washington
Captain Browning: James Moses Black
Kyle: TC Matherne
Vanessa: Caroline Williams
Apache Joe: Marcus Lewis
Brice: Derek Russo
Sal: Marvin Ross
Mitch: Dave Davis
Doug: Keith Brooks
Mandy: Chloe Adona
Cliff: Stephen Louis Grush
Jones: Christopher Winchester
Jeffrey: John Cihangir
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.