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  • Colin Fraser

RENFIELD

THREE STARS Dracula's man-servant has had enough. He wants off the blood-thirsty merry-go-round.

COMEDY-HORROR US English #RENFIELD

Starring Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage


There’s a lot to like about this gothic comedy-horror, not the least of which is pairing Nicholas Hoult with Nicolas Cage. Riffing on WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, this meta-modern update on the bloody tales of Dracula (Cage) comes at us from a new(ish) perspective, that of his man-servant Robert Montague Renfield (Hoult). He’s grown tired of the murderously servile merry-go-round and seeks comfort from a self-help group for co-dependants. Never has my boss is a monster rung so true.


He also finds an unexpected ally in a cop (Awkwafina) who’s tracking Dracula’s body count, a line of inquiry that pits her against the local crime family who align their future with, you guessed it, Dracula. Soon his Renfield and his new best friend are pitting their wits against brutal mobsters and the Prince of Darkness. What could possibly go wrong?


Chris McKay (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE) directs with a youthful glee, never letting a second pass without throwing something at the screen (body parts, mostly). While RENFIELD's relentless chop-n-cut edit caters to the ADD in us all, it would certainly benefit from a little more air. Some will be on board with his whack-a-mole blood-thirst and one-liners, others would prefer he would just calm the fang down and give us all a moment to breathe. Too many scenes fall flat simply because no one gets enough time to deliver them properly, nor the audience to process them adequately. So many jokes are thrown away so McKay can carry on dismembering the cast. The classic ‘don’t invite the vampire through the door’ is a wasted case in point.


You also have to have a strong constitution to endure megalitres of blood and gore that all but drown the vivid sets and everyone in them. It’s funny, to a point. Still, this rip-n-roar approach is exactly what McKay set out to do and he can’t be criticised for delivering what it says on the tin. Funny? Yes. Thrilling? Yes. Exhausting? Absolutely. Draining, you might say.


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