Renfield – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Renfield – Between Me and You: A Bloody Relationship

Within a hopeful thought is a place of possibilities.  This is a motto for people that seek a path for a chance at something great.  For filmmakers, a promising premise is one thing, but turning it into something great is another obstacle.  For every triumph there is mediocrity … it is only a wonder which will it be for you.  In this review, I look at a film with an interesting premise.  Within its concept comes a mix bag of great characters and cliché plot elements.  Even within its mixed results, Renfield provides a push for a vampiric good time.

Over the years, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has been faithfully serving his master, Dracula (Nicolas Cage).  As things begin to wane, he seeks a new life.  At a crossroads in his servitude, will Renfield find a way out of this relationship.  On the surface, this story starts with a strong premise.  We come into the tale through background narration, building Renfield’s backstory and how he became Dracula’s servant.  After a series of expositional scenes, we move to the present where we find Renfield struggling with his undying purpose.  On the outside, he sticks to his ‘duty’ to find food for Dracula, but deep down he is also trying to find a way out of servitude.  The conflicting motives provide a throughline for the relationship and familial themes.  As we see the building of character, it is complimented by the backdrop of absurdity, obscure moments and witty one-liners.  Through some convenient plot devices, Renfield’s goal starts to build as circumstances pave a way from victimhood to hero.  This leads to a series of scenes that fuse over-the-top action with whimsical dialogue to create a roller coaster of emotional but enjoyable moments.  The mixing elements build a strong premise through the strength of their leads (Hoult and Cage).  Their dynamic provides a visceral but unique twist of co-dependency, narcissism and honor.  As the promise of the premise starts to grow, the directive veers off course into a convoluted web of unnecessary material. 

With Renfield trying to find his path away from Dracula, this opens the doorway to the introduction of ancillary subplots.  As the Renfield/Dracula relationship gets entangled with cliché mobster/cop tropes, we head down a path of shallow plot development, lackluster moments and one-dimensional side characters.  The blandness weighs down the premise, leaving (the audience) with fragments of lost potential.  Even for this weight, we head into a third act that attempts to put the premise back to the forefront.  This leads to a full circle climax and a wholesome epilogue.  Renfield is a film that builds from a strong premise that gets lost in unnecessary material.  Even for its lackluster elements, there is fun to be had.  If you’re a fan of the actors, premise or want something slightly different this is one for you.  Definitely check it out for the right price at the theaters.    

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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