Renfield is a 2023 horror comedy movie directed by Chris McKay, starring Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, and Ben Schwartz. Chris McKay is known for his work on Lego Batman, The Tomorrow War (and its upcoming sequel) as well as several episodes of Robot Chicken. He is no stranger to comedy, but this just didn’t play to his strengths.
McKay is a decent enough director, but wrangling talent like Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult is no small feat. He wasn’t able to squeeze the cast to give anything extra. Everybody seemed to have a good time, and that bled through to the audience in some scenes but it wasn’t enough. Cage absolutely killed it as Dracula, but Hoult and Awkwafina were stiff as boards. Zero chemistry or personality.
The dialogue, main story, and subplot were all incredibly poor. The whole gangster underworld thing with gun-wielding henchmen attacking Renfield was asinine. Robert Kirkman is an accomplished writer, responsible for the renowned Walking Dead and Invincible comic books plus their respective tv adaptations. But comedy, in this scenario, was not his strong suit. Something about the vibe of this just doesn’t line up with his style of humor.
There are several other areas that are disappointingly weak. The soundtrack was incredibly lackluster. There is nothing memorable about it at all. I watched this movie back in May and not even two months later and I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it. The same with the cinematography. It was very uninspiring.
There is nothing memorable about it at all.
Further insult to injury is the iMovie SFX that perpetrated the entire 93-minute runtime. Everything looks like modeling clay or rubber. I have no doubt that this movie was made to be as cheap as possible, but there isn’t any semblance of effort, just outsourced VFX that most YouTubers are capable of. The practical cinematography felt just as weak, capturing cheap-looking sets and minimalistic set dressing.
I just can’t find many good things to say about Renfield and if it comes up in conversation that somebody was going to watch it, I would actively steer them towards something a little less… stupid. Movies that are made to be stupid, like Hot Rod, are really fun AND stupid. But Renfield is just stupid and not fun at all.
Directed by: Chris McKay
Studio: Universal Pictures
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Nicolas Cage, Awkwafina, Ben Shwartz