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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Renfield - A Unique Yet Uneven Vampire Tale

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Released 04-14-2023

Watched 05-11-2023

Reviewed 05-17-2023

Watched on Amazon Prime Video

"Some call me the Dark One. Others, the Lord of Death. To most, I am... Dracula!"

Renfield (2023) offers a fresh take on the classic Dracula tale, focusing on the titular character, played by Nicholas Hoult, as he navigates his tortured existence in servitude to the enigmatic Prince of Darkness, portrayed by Nicolas Cage. The film features a unique blend of horror, drama, and dark comedy, with Awkwafina providing a strong supporting performance as Rebecca, a member of the self-help group that Renfield turns to in his quest for personal growth.

Nicolas Cage's portrayal of Dracula is both captivating and bizarre, adding an eccentric flair to the iconic character. For those that may not know, I'm not normally a big fan of Mister Cage's work, but he is good here. He manages to inject a sense of menace and unpredictability into his performance, keeping the audience on edge whenever he appears on screen. Nicholas Hoult, as Renfield, delivers a compelling and empathetic portrayal of a tortured soul seeking redemption and a life beyond the darkness.

Awkwafina's performance as Rebecca adds a much-needed touch of humor and humanity to the film, helping to balance the story's darker aspects. Her chemistry with Hoult's Renfield is undeniable, and their shared scenes are often the most engaging.

However, Renfield suffers from some notable flaws that prevent it from achieving greatness. The film's pacing feels uneven, with the plot frequently meandering and losing focus. The self-help group angle, while intriguing, is not fully explored or integrated into the narrative, leaving viewers with a sense of unfulfilled potential.

Additionally, while the film attempts to offer a fresh perspective on the vampire genre, it occasionally falls back on cliches and predictable story beats. The visual effects are adequate but not groundbreaking, and some of the film's more intense action sequences feel lackluster as a result.

In summary, Renfield is a mixed bag that will appeal to fans of the genre and those seeking a unique take on the Dracula mythos. While it has its moments of brilliance, the film ultimately falls short of its ambitions due to uneven pacing and an underdeveloped narrative. However, the performances from the lead actors make it worth a watch for those seeking something out of the ordinary in the realm of vampire stories.


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