TV Party Tonight! #132

TV Party Tonight! #132

Monday, 02 October 2023

[Blu-ray/DVD combo]

I gotta say, I wasn’t going into Renfield with high hopes but I was kind of surprised. It’s a very cool concept, but cool concepts often get ruined by poor executions or lack of vision by the team. Renfield is a little of column A and a little of column B. The movie wasn’t a huge hit and no one in their right mind is a huge fan of Renfield or wants more of the Renfield-universe, so that’s a sobering hindsight.

The concept here is to focus on Renfield and Dracula’s relationship in modern times and to treat it like a comedy. That’s interesting in my book. The other concept is to cast Nicholas Cage as THE Bela Lugosi Dracula and let him run with it. That’s also a cool idea in my book, because I really do love Nicholas Cage. I don’t like him in an ironic way, like some people do, where he’s “so bad he’s good.” I think he’s a naturally talented actor who’s had a rich and varied career. He’s also outrageous enough to pull off this role. And he does. The main glue holding this entire movie together is the performances and relationship of Nicholas Cage’s Dracula and Nicholas Holt’s Renfield. They are the perfect ying to each other’s yang. Cage’s Dracula is sinister, unhinged, diabolical, destructive, manipulative, and driven by malevolence and hatred of humans. Holt’s Renfield is mild-mannered, likeable, capable, self-aware, highly approachable and driven by a desire for independence. We also get to see plenty of them in the movie and whenever that happens, the movie truly is interesting. Also is the fact that this horror comedy has Mortal-Kombat-levels of gore in it. Fight scenes are full of buckets of blood and what I can only describe as fatality-like death sequences.

So what’s wrong with Renfield? Well, mainly that the script is kind of shoddy and poorly thought out. Of course, this premise is nuts, but everything is a cliché or half-baked. The other pain protagonist is a cop (played, unfortunately, by Akwkafina who we are still being sold on being a real actress) who is the only “good” cop in a police force full of crooked cops and has no new lessons or skills to learn. She is already pure and the moral compass. The city is being run by a crime syndicate who is “not the biggest but the most feared” and their goal is to “take over the world” with the help of Dracula. Did the writer’s creative run out that easily?

So yes, Renfield is fun, and has some great performances, but suffers from a terribly boring and predictable script. Kind of a waste, really.

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