Director Chris McKay's new horror/comedy Renfield tries to find a fresh spin on the Count Dracula tale by focusing on his co-dependent relationship with his human underling Renfield.
Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) plays Renfield, who is growing tired of helping Dracula (Nicolas Cage) secure new victims in their new home of New Orleans. Renfield finds a support group for toxic relationships where he tries to work through his feelings about the relationship. He also develops a crush on a young cop (Awkwafina) he rescues from gangsters (led by Shohreh Aghdashloo and Ben Schwartz).
Renfield is at its best when focusing on the dysfunctional nature of Renfield and Dracula's relationship because there it actually feels like the film is trying to do something different. Cage is also clearly having a lot of fun as the count.
However, there are lots of superhero-style fight scenes where Renfield dispatches a bunch of interchangeable bad guys in an extremely gory matter (if you are squeamish in any way, skip this one). The subplot involving the gangsters and their eventual relationship with Dracula is also pretty ho-hum. That subplot takes up a lot of screen time and makes the film resemble 1992's forgotten Innocent Blood (about a gangster who becomes a vampire) more than any other vampire film.
Renfield is different enough that it might garner a bit of a cult following eventually, but it ultimately fails to devote enough attention to the stuff that makes it interesting.