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  • Staff report

At least Renfield doesn't suck


Nicholas Cage (L) as Dracula alongside Nicholas Hoult as Renfield.

A film by the director of the Lego movie, with Nicholas Hoult & Awkwafina starring, and more importantly, Nicholas Cage as Dracula. What could go wrong?

Renfield is the newest film by Chris Mckay, revolving around Nicholas Hoult's character being the servant of Dracula and wanting to get rid of his toxic relationship. The synopsis alone gives you a glimpse into how ridiculous this newest comedy can be. And with a director that found great success handling the Lego movies, you can see the visual influence.

At least through its first two acts, the film is eye candy to watch. Chris Mckay's use of exaggerated colors in settings like clubs and abandoned hospitals stands out within the action comedy genre. The action sequences in the film are complemented well by how the film is lit. Not only are they pretty to look at, but they are surprisingly exciting and easy to follow.

This care for visual composition is also incorporated into things such as set design, with colorful apartments that remind us of Wes Anderson or ridiculous props. Therefore, the sets allow that careful viewer always watching the background to have some surprise laughs.

It makes you feel like Chris Mckay went all out in wanting to express his visual style, a similar feeling to when you watch John Wick Chapter 4 or Bullet Train. Performances are also crucial to the film and essential to why it is a successful comedy.

Nicholas Hoult brings a performance that is full of heart and interprets well a socially unaware character stuck several centuries ago. His character also bounces perfectly with the rest of the supporting cast, especially in the support group scenes, which are the highlight of the film.

From which, Barndon Scott Jones as Mark, the main sponsor of the group, lands some of the best jokes in the film. Awkwafina steals the spotlight in every scene she is in. Her timing when it comes to comedic comebacks in the film is unparalleled.

Nicholas Cage is a joy to watch, as always. You can see how much fun he has with the costume and the makeup of such an iconic character. The character's sinister cheesiness can play well with the previously mentioned performance of Nicholas Hoult and does bring some of the best interactions in the film.

That being said, the character was a little underused for him to be the film's main antagonist. The real constant threat throughout the story is your generic crime family, which undercuts the film's interesting premise.

This brings us to what I feel is the film's lowest point which is its third act. It felt overcrowded by introducing new elements into the story, which got resolved in a few minutes.

It also fails to capture the pacing or excitement that came with sequences earlier in the movie.

Another aspect that could have been worked more or cut out entirely is Renfield's narration. They serve as exposition dumps for the audience, some of which are unnecessary due to what is being presented visually.

Nicholas Hoult (L) as Renfeild and Awkwafina as Rebecca Quincy.

Also, because the narration is not constantly used throughout the film, it makes it glaringly obvious that it is only there for exposition purposes.

At the end of the day, Renfield is another solid comedy by Chris Mckay with a power star-filled cast that will make you smile. I give Renfield a 3.5 out of 5 and declare it worthy of a watch, even if it made some missteps along the way.

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