The Moya View

Renfield: Getting Beyond the Blow and Suck

Courtesy Universal

Plot via IMDB:

R.M. Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) decides to leave his centuries-long line of work as a henchman and familiar to Count Dracula (Nicolas Cage) and finds a new lease on life in modern day New Orleans when he falls in love with a feisty but perennially aggressive traffic cop named Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina)

I came to Renfield to see Nicolas Cage but I stayed because of Nicholas Hoult.

Courtesy Universal

Horror fans know the backstory of Renfield, Dracula’s bug eating familiar and blood finding assistant. For those who don’t, the opening scenes of Renfield are a montage of Cage vamping his way through black and white recreations of the Bela Lugosi classic. The Transylvanian accent is toned down two molasses level and the camp Lugosi acting style is filtered through two levels of Stravinsky and the Method. It’s weird, but effective since Cage’s Count is supposed to be the ultimate narcissistic evil overlord, the worst boss ever. The type that makes one seek 12 Step Therapy for those in terrible co-dependent relationships. And for more than 100 years Renfield has been smothered in the Count’s endless ego, evil demands- and finally wants to be his own man.

Courtesy Universal

Cage is essentially playing second banana to Hoult’s Renfield. It gives Cage the opportunity to steal twice as many scenes. Hey, Evil must loom large and bloody. And, there is no shortage of gore when a R rated gangster revenge subplot is overlayed with Nosferatu blood lust.

Courtesy Universal

Hoult gets the heart, Cage gets the gore and all the better special effects in the appropriate horror running time of 93 minutes. It’s the perfect balance. Renfield never gets the chance to wear out it’s welcome. Everything is on point and balanced- romance, violence, and comedy. The punchlines are brisk. The violence, is at times, over the top and executed with the perfect timing of a Jackie Chan action routine. Cage gets charred and rejuvenated to the proper grill mark for everything to stay juicy and delicious..

Courtesy Universal

Redfield’s redemption and independence arch is taken seriously. Hoult’s Renfield is a better looking than his cadaverous predecessor. He is also more tender and sincere. He’s more put upon than menacing. His Renfield is a character the audience can root for without guilt This is Renfield’s superhero origin story. Whether he gets a sequel, only the box office will tell.

Courtesy Universal

Renfield gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+.


Directed by

Chris McKay

Screenplay by

Ryan Ridley

Story by

Robert Kirkman

Based onCharacters
by Bram Stoker

Produced by

  • Robert Kirkman
  • David Alpert
  • Bryan Furst
  • Sean Furst
  • Chris McKay



Mitchell Amundsen

Edited by

Music by

Marco Beltrami


Distributed by

Universal Pictures

Release dates

Running time

93 minutes


United States




$65 million

Courtesy Universal





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