Macabre…ish Review: Renfield
Renfield, 2023/ 1 hr 33 min.
At DRAAG (Dependent Relationship Anonymous Addiction Group), a support group for people in unhealthy relationships, including Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult). Who is also in a destructive relationship, a long one, with his boss. Once upon a time, Robert was a real estate attorney and was in the middle of a life changing land deal, what he got instead, was a life changing job as the client’s assistant and after a while, he became a familiar. This happened in the 1920s and he became a servant to Dracula (Nicolas Cage).
Unlike vampires who’s powers come from human blood, familiars’ power come from consuming insects. Robert does whatever his master bids, including help kill the last of the vampire hunters, when he was caught. Regularly, Dracula goes on a blood thirsty bender, the good guys show up and Robert cleans up the mess. They move city, Dracula is nursed back to health and the cycle repeats itself.
And in the mean time, Robert likes to go to a support group. But not really for help, for victims, he helps get rid of the support groups’ monsters by giving his monster, what he needs.
He hunts them down, this time he’s looking for Mitch, Caitlyn’s (Bess Rous) man. Who, with his mates, stole a fortune in drugs from a drug dealer. They are aware of a hitman looking for them and they think it’s Robert, it’s not but the hit man is right behind him. A violent and bloody fight results in Robert being disemboweled and the hitman’s head being punched off and landing across the street.
After the decades of moving and dwindling resources, Dracula and Robert moved into a dilapidated hospital. Dracula looks horrible but Robert has taken him the hitman’s headless remains along with a few other victims. But Dracula is unimpressed, he needs pure victims like nuns and teens to return to his former glory. He punishes Robert by ripping his bowel open again and reminding him of his place as a servant.
And unfortunately, there’s a witness, another member of the Lobos drug cartel, Teddy (Ben Schwartz) and he spilled his guts at the police department. Ofc. Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), who lost her dad to the Lobos’ is eager to break the case. But he lawyers up and has to face the boss when he gets out, his mother, Bella (Shohreh Aghdashloo).
She’s worried that he is not feared enough in town and needs him to prove himself. So he plans to terrorize a restaurant, but specifically the cop, Ofc Quincy. Also in the restaurant is Robert, after he dropped his container of spiders, he goes for a nearby fly and then tackles Teddy. A very aggressive and gory gun fight breaks out.
The fight was amazing and both Robert and Ofc. Quincy was impressed by the other’s skill. When Robert returns to the lair, Dracula is talking world domination, so he can live like a God, instead of a rat. Dracula and Renfield, together forever. Alarmed, Robert seeks help at group therapy to get out of his toxic relationship.
And he spills his guts, in so far as he can and Renfield leaves that meeting and gets his own apartment and starts to focus on himself. He also decides to give a statement about the restaurant incident and flowers to Ofc. Quincy.
Meanwhile, the Lobos’ uses facial recognition software to find out who Renfield is and where he was last seen. So they take a crew to the dilapidated hospital that is stacked with fly blown corpses and serve themselves up to Dracula. Leaving Teddy for last, Dracula confronts him and then Dracula is off to find Renfield.
Renfield is caught off guard by Dracula sitting at his dining table. And Dracula hit him with all the low blows about abandoning his wife and child, chasing wealth and power because he, himself, is only a husk.
At the same time, Ofc. Quincy happens upon a couple of women, both who happen to have missing partners, both, a part of the same support group. Which is located inside the church that is responsible for the self help book that inspired Renfield to leave Dracula. And Dracula is going to destroy it. He arrives at the support group and now everyone is in danger and Renfield can’t do a thing to stop it.
Afterward, Dracula promises to unleash suffering on the entire human race in a consequence of Renfield’s betrayal. Then the police arrive and behind them, The Lobos’. They also want Renfield. Backed by the crooked cops in the department, The Lobos’ almost get what they want but Ofc. Quincy takes off with Renfield in the back of a squad car.
Dracula wants to make a deal will Teddy and The Lobos’ to help with his plans for world domination.
The next morning, Rebecca, wakes up in Robert’s house while he’s making cookies. It’s a weird morning and conversation as he tries to defend himself and tells the story. Just in time for evidence of his decades long crimewave is verified by the lab.
As Robert and Rebecca leave his house, the place is overrun with cops and gangsters. And he needs to find some bugs, quick. He finds spiders just in time and the cops and Lobos’ that aren’t there, watch through camera feed as Renfield rips everyone to shreds.
And as Capt. Browning (James Moses Black) quits, Teddy, brings Dracula to his mother to talk business. And it involves Rebecca’s sister, Kate (Camille Chen) who is being used as bait. Rebecca and Robert are going to the Lobos’ but first they need weapons and a whole lot of bugs. They arrive to find the entire Lobos organization are now familiars.
They fight their way to Rebecca’s sister and Dracula makes Rebecca an enticing offer. Not enticing enough because in the end, he ends up in concrete ice cubes in the sewer.
This horror was directed by Chris McKay and it was fun! The acting was good and it was funny, Nicholas Hoult’s narration was excellent! The was very gory and graphic but they managed to make the gore and splatter more cartoonish than realistic. Nicolas Cage transformed a lot but he really is the only one that really transformed.