San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Review: Renfield ‘reVamps’ the horror genre

This film will have you dying for more
Photo courtesy of Skybound Entertainment
Nicholas Cage as Dracula in “Renfield.”

Looking for a good movie to sink your teeth into this weekend? Chris Mckay’s recent release, “Renfield,” is the perfect theater outing. 

The film follows Dracula’s servant, Renfield, who struggles between his obligation to his blood sucking master and his own morality. Delivering on gory action sequences and comedic one liners, “Renfield” proves to be a new horror comedy classic.

Satire is leaned on heavily as writer, Ryan Ridley, exposes the parallels between the turmoils of the human world with that of “Renfield’s” supernatural dilemma. 

Right off the bat the audience can see that this man is aimlessly searching for an exit from his indentured servitude by establishing a life in modern day society. Then with the help of both a cinematically and historically pleasing flashback, viewers are clued into the turbulent nature of Renfield’s relationship with Dracula. 

The pacing of the movie shows a delicate balance between heartwarming and hysterical realizations, as well as explosive blood curdling fight scenes. 

Many times the violence within the film felt excessive, but it was oddly adequate for the premise. Viewers will be in suspense wondering just how inventive the cinematographer, Mitchell Amundsen, and special effects coordinator, Ty Abrahams, could possibly be when it comes to showcasing Dracula’s power. 

The shock factor wasn’t the only astounding piece of this horror comedy. Some outstanding performances by acting veterans like Nicholas Cage (Dracula) and Nicholas Hoult (Renfield) were included in the movie. Cage and Hoult play off of each other beautifully as they depict the one-sided power dynamic between ancient monster and timid servant.

In addition, the cast also includes Ben Shwartz (Teddy Lobo) and Brandon Scott Jones (Mark), who each hold their own as comedic masterminds.

Cage explores a more humorous spin on the callous villain through sarcastic facial expressions and flippant monologues, in which he undermines the importance of human civilization. In turn, Hoult uses the character Renfield to not only illustrate themes of inept decision making, but also a revitalized commentary on the struggle to find oneself outside of duty.

Similarly, Awkwafina shows, once again, her versatility as an actress in her portrayal of the determined, yet amusingly blunt New Orleans cop, Rebecca Quincy. 

On a mission to finally bring down the major drug enterprise run by the Lobos family, Rebecca must fight to be taken seriously by her allies and enemies. An emotional element drives this secondary plot as Rebcca’s motives stem both from  her position as a cop and personal history with the Lobos family.

Awkwafina and Hoult work well together as the unlikely friendship between their two characters form as a result of the collision between the natural and supernatural worlds.

While the movie does deliver on many fronts, there are a few pitfalls, such as the allotted running time. At a crisp 90 minutes, the movie packs in a lot of information like character background, villain arcs and, of course, the occasional face rip. At times things can feel a bit rushed, resulting in some storylines being left unfinished or underdeveloped. 

At certain points throughout the film, some lines are thrown in right after someone has had their arms ripped off. The immediate juxtaposition definitely adds to the humor, but fails to convince viewers of the character’s emotional plight.

Lastly, considering Cage really dove into his portrayal of “The Prince of Darkness,” it would’ve been beneficial to see more of this fearsome midnight stalker grace the screen. 

Overall, “Renfield” was a shocking, funny, thematic and  very entertaining watch. If you’re hoping to see a movie that will make you want to shut your eyes but not dare to close them in fear of missing a single second, then look no further.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Review: Renfield ‘reVamps’ the horror genre