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Home > ‘Renfield’ (2023): Forgotten Too Soon

‘Renfield’ (2023): Forgotten Too Soon

‘Renfield’ (2023): Forgotten Too Soon

Double the Nicks and Double the Entertainment

Renfield, released on April 14th, 2023, was directed by Chris McKay and released by Universal Pictures. The story follows R.M.Renfield, a lawyer who quickly becomes Count Dracula’s eternal servant, following his orders for nearly a century. Through the years of torture and pain, Renfield is quietly becoming more and more uneasy at the idea of staying in this toxic cycle with Dracula. Desperately seeking help, Renfield attends a 12-step program aimed at helping people who are stuck in codependent relationships and attempts to find a way out.

A Therapeutic Journey and Self-Discovery

In its most basic concept, Renfield doesn’t come across as the most interesting idea – a bit comedic but not that interesting. However, upon completion, it is a hidden gem that doesn’t receive the credit it deserves. The story, though applied to one of the most famous classic movie monsters of all time, still has a sense of reliability and heart that helps keep the story moving through the narrative beats. For the most part, every scene made the film more enjoyable and moved the plot along at a respectable pace. The jokes that make it on screen were truly scene-stealers, as a majority of the performances were backed by a fantastic script with underappreciated comedy. 

The only issue with the film is the scenes between Awkwafina and Camille Chen. Although the latter greatly utilizes the material, it often feels as if the inclusion of their scenes puts a halt in the narrative flow and inserts unnecessary emotional beats that are already provided with Renfield and the occupants of the meetings he attends. That being said, the overall tone of the film remains consistent and shows both McKay and Ryan Ridley’s abilities to combine comedy, drama, and horror all into one complete package.

‘Renfield’ (2023): Forgotten Too Soon

An Interesting Combination of Comedic Abilities

When looking at the lineup of actors who were cast in the film, comedy was definitely something to have on the radar. With actors such as Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Brandon Scott Jones, and Nicolas Cage all signed onto the project, a funny time was at least guaranteed in the slightest. The cast was a huge plus to the film while also somehow being its detriment. Hoult, Scwartz, and Cage all chew up the scenery when on scene in their own unique ways. Hoult is grounded and solemn, capturing the attention of all who watch in his somberness. Scwartz is wild and erratic, nailing several jokes in the span of seconds, creating an air of ease with him. Cage is campy in the truest definition while also managing to be genuinely threatening at times, illustrating to the viewers that he knows exactly who his character is. 

In terms of the 12-step program group, each character that was given lines was their own unique person and never felt as if they could be combined into one character to save time. Jenna Kanell and Bess Rous are highlights, and Jones manages to throw in the most memorable jokes of the film. Everyone, even those who weren’t acted the best, make decisions that correlate with their characters, and that already makes the film better than most in the horror genre. 

The biggest detriment to this film is Awkwafina. Whether it be her acting itself or the dialogue that was given to her, every time her character comes on screen, the film slows down and begins to drag. Awkwafina is good in other film roles, such as The Farewell and Quiz Lady, but for some reason Renfield just couldn’t work with her style of acting, and unfortunately that showed. Every joke made by Awkwafina for the most part didn’t land and often left an uncomfortable silence. However, it only felt like that when Awkwafina was by herself or without Hoult; whenever with the latter, her character just sparked with life and made her more enjoyable.

A Bloody Fun Time – A 3.5 Star Rating

Renfield is a wild submission into one’s catalog of films, but looking at the repertoire Chris McKay built up, it fits right in. The film has a combination of great action sequences and gory kills, a decent plot of the narrative, an overall great cast, creating a movie experience that is both entertaining and introspective. This is something that one should watch at home on streaming, as watching this with a crowd might affect the perception of jokes thrown.

Stream Renfield on Prime Video now.

‘Renfield’ (2023): Forgotten Too Soon

Renfield (2023) Official Universal Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.