There’s no telling what version of Nicolas Cage you’re going to get in any of his films. You only find out when you sit down and watch one of them. It’s Schrödinger’s Cage, if you will. Whether he’s good or bad, wild or reserved, Cage is gonna Cage and deliver a performance unlike anything else. Renfield, in which Nicolas Cage plays Count Dracula, features an absolute batty performance from the actor alongside a traumatized Nicholas Hoult for one action soaked horror comedy, resulting in a bloody good time of a film.
Renfield focuses on the perspective of Robert Montague Renfield, a lawyer who sold his soul to Count Dracula and became his familiar. In exchange for a little bit of Dracula’s powers, Renfield would assist the Dark Lord in his day-to-day necessities, primarily in the procurement of victims for Dracula to feed upon. After decades of being Dracula’s errand boy, however, Renfield finds himself at a self-help group and realizes that he is in a toxic relationship. Leaving Dracula isn’t going to be an easy feat. Renfield must find the courage and strength to say no to Dracula, otherwise he’s going to be collecting bodies for him forever.
There has been no shortage of Dracula depictions since the character’s inception over a century ago. From horror to comedy to everything in between, the legendary vampire has become an iconic figure in media. Renfield tips the bloody scales more towards the latter as the film embraces a more outrageous and splashy interpretation as opposed to something more subdued and dramatic or scary. It’s quite fitting for Cage’s over-the-top portrayal. Cage goes all out in a performance that is equally hilarious and creepy. He captures all the hallmark aspects of Dracula, from his appearance to his accent, but his mannerisms are distinctly Cage. And not the subtle Cage from Pig. No, we’re talking about full on Mandy Nicolas Cage. It’s beautiful and perfectly fitting for Renfield.
That’s because the film does not hold back in showing just how bloody a mess Dracula’s powers can be. Renfield gains his powers from eating bugs he keeps in a tiny tin in his pocket and then wrecks havoc on any person he finds deserving in his vicinity. He’s not a bad guy; he’s just doing bad thing on account of his co-dependent relationship with Dracula. These fights are all but typical as limbs are ripped from their bodies in explosive fashion. An action scene early on in the film features Renfield punching a guy so hard in the head he decapitates him and sends his head flying through a window, setting the extreme tone for the rest of the film. It’s outrageously wild and entertaining. Watching a man get his arms ripped off and then proceed to get beaten to death with said arms is something I did not expect to see, but am glad I did.
And yet even with the hyper unrealistic violence depicted in Renfield, there is still room for some heartfelt moments. The toxic partnership between Dracula and Renfield is an interesting perspective to take for the film. It paints a portrait of Dracula as a monster, not because he kills people and drains them of their blood, but because he’s an abusive boss. He’ll do whatever he deems necessary to Renfield so long as he gets what he wants. Renfield may be cloaked in layers of action and comedy, but there is plenty of heart at its core. The film could have explored the toxicity a little bit more, but then I feel it might have become a different type of film entirely, and the over-the-top action might not have worked as well as it does. It’s a fine line to balance on, and Renfield ultimately does so successfully.
Renfield fully embraces its outrageous undertones and delivers a bloody fun film from start to finish. It’s a laugh out loud blend of action and comedy that’ll have you howling in your seats. Both Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult give it their all and deliver entertaining performances. This is one Dracula movie that doesn’t suck, but is still worth sinking your teeth into.
Renfield, in which Nicolas Cage plays Count Dracula, features an absolute batty performance from the actor alongside a traumatized Nicholas Hoult for one action soaked horror comedy, resulting in a bloody good time of a film.