Fall into Dracula’s coffin of horror comedy with ‘Renfield’

By Uriel Reyes, Staff Reporter

Kailey Ryan

With bone-tickling jokes, references to the original Dracula film from 1931, and a chaotic amount of bloody action, Renfield is a movie worth sinking your teeth into.

Directed by Chris McKay, the movie tells the tale of Renfield, played by Nicolas Hoult, who has served Nicolas Cage’s Dracula for decades and now faces the dilemma of whether or not he wants to continue or finally break free from the vampire’s wings.

Cage’s performance as the antagonist vampire is bound to be recognized as one of the great interpretations of the character alongside past actors who’ve worn the cape and fangs. A particular scene that comes to mind is when Dracula finds out about Renfield’s heroic gestures and confronts him about it. While Renfield makes excuses, Dracula plays the fool and pretends to believe him until he’s had enough. He finishes the confrontation by threatening Renfield and says how he gave him the power of a god, yet Renfield seems to prefer the desperation of humanity.

Everyone in the cast knew how to deliver. Aside from Renfield’s big dilemma, there is Awkwafina’s Officer Rebecca working to bring the town’s drug traffickers to justice, and Tedward (or Teddy) played by Ben Schwartz, seeking to prove himself worthy to continue the drug business. Each character had their own conflict and with their expressions and emotional delivery, viewers can’t help but sympathize with them.

Special effects are only used when needed, and everything is practical, making you will believe that Renfield gains supernatural powers from consuming natural organisms and that Dracula can float in the air.

The movie does well in steadying its ground for both sides of the horror-comedy coin, and the jokes are rightfully placed and don’t ruin the intended mood.

When the short and quiet moments end, it allows for the coffin of madness to be unearthed during the action sequences. The exaggerated bloodiness of these scenes further add to the comedy. At some points, the goriness is slightly reminiscent of the “fatalities’ common in the Mortal Kombat video games.

One of the main themes is the idea of control, particularly in relationships. At what point does one finally have enough of being controlled, and what does it take for one to be happy with one’s self?

These are the questions that hang in Renfield’s mind. He initially liked the benefits from working for Dracula, but after a major case of being in the right place at the wrong time, he starts to see another reality. He sees freedom, the normal life he could have, and a chance to be looked up to rather than down on.

From the chaotic opening to the slower but hilarious ending, Renfield will leave a permanent bite on the neck of horror comedies.

Whether you’re a fan of vampires, gory action, horror, or simply a part of the Nicolas Cage fandom, you won’t want to miss this movie.

Renfield premieres Friday, April 14, including at Showplace ICON Theatre, located in the Roosevelt Collection shops at 1011 S. Delano Ct., a few blocks west from Target South Loop.