Nicolas Cage played Dracula in Renfield. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.
LOS ANGELES, April 11 (UPI) — "Nicolas Cage as Dracula" is enough to make any movie a must-see. Renfield , which hits theaters Friday, adds more levels to support Cage's vampire character and provide an interesting setting to play with. Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has been close to Dracula since Bela Lugosi's 1931 film, in which Hoult and Cage played scenes in black and white. Dracula gave Dracula so much power that he knew how to bring any man he could eat to his knees.
LOS ANGELES, April 11 (UPI) — "Nicolas Cage as Dracula" is enough to make any movie a must-see. Renfield , which hits theaters Friday, adds more levels to support Cage's vampire character and provide an interesting setting to play with.
Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has been close to Dracula since Bela Lugosi's 1931 film, in which Hoult and Cage played scenes in black and white. Dracula gave Dracula so much power that he knew how to bring any man he could eat to his knees.
Renfield and Dracula have now moved to New Orleans, which is a fitting place given how many Cage films have made the city their setting. Dracula needs more blood to recover from his recent encounter with the Angry Men, while Renfield finds a support group for his allies.
Dracula always taunts him, promising Renfield his power but dangling a carrot in front of Renfield to get him to do Dracula's dirty work. Extending that relationship by 100 years has turned it into a codependency.
Renfield's disregard for Dracula is surprising, but the film gets confused with Dracula. In one scene, the camera panned to identify Renfield as an afterthought.
This movie has as much fun with the formula of the relationship movie as it does with the horror genre. Renfield gets his makeover montage and it's just hilarious.
As the main draw, Cage's portrayal of Dracula doesn't disappoint. Cage infuses his body with a touch of rock 'n' roll while honoring his classic heritage.
Cage wears prosthetic makeup at his worst in Dracula. Cage can achieve his manic expression through all of his prosthetics.
However, Cage also voiced the threat. This isn't Dracula the Clown.
He's still as dangerous as Dracula in Bram Stoker's adaptation, although Dracula is more iconic than the 1931 film, Dracula has Renfield's body mass.
Where many comedies slip on a single premise, Renfield soars at breakneck speed. Alongside the topic of codependency, Renfield interrupts an onslaught by local mobster Tedward Lobo (Ben Schwartz).
Lobo witnesses Renfield's ability to defeat Lobo's assassin and runs screaming to Officer Rebekah Quinn (Awwafina). Lobo still has enough connections to get out of prison, and Rebecca has accompanied Lobo throughout his career since his officer father was killed.
That means Lobo sent more assassins after Renfield and Rebecca. Renfield uses a classic Hollywood fighting style, but with a Matrix comic book twist and the absurd damage of an '80s slasher movie.
The fast pacing enhances the comedy as true psychological development can take 90 years, not 90 minutes. By then, however, Renfield had developed all of the legends associated with the story and incorporated many vampire tales, all of which paid off.
This step requires a brief understatement. The film really just hits the psychology buzzwords, but it portrays Dracula and codependency well.
Rebecca has a sister (Camille Chen) at the FBI. Despite their differences, the shared grief didn't really develop.
Vampirism is as metaphorical in its use of bloodsucking bloodsucking narrative as the illness and addiction of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's high school villain .
Renfield updates his style with modern language to discuss toxic relationships. The style is sensational but most important is the fun and powerful rap with the horror show.
Fred Topple, who attended Ithaca College film school, is a UPI entertainment writer based in Los Angeles. He has been a professional film critic since 1999, a Rotten Tomatoes critic since 2001, a member of the Television Critics Association since 2012, and a member of the Critics' Choice Association since 2023. Read more about his work in entertainment.