Renfield 2023 – The Science Fiction and Fantasy Community Blog

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IMDB’s description: 

Renfield, Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them.

So, if you remember the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula from 1992, you might recall that Keanu Reeve’s character took over the accounts of Dracula from R.M. Renfield, who went insane. This movie instead has Renfield (Nicholas Hoult)  working for Dracula (Nicolas Cage) and becomes the familiar of Dracula ( a familiar being someone who apparently doesn’t age). Ninety years later Dracula and Renfield are hiding out in New Orleans while Dracula tries to recuperate from a near fatal encounter with vampire hunters. 

Renfield is attending some kind of group therapy to try and help his ‘co-dependence’ with his employer while also scouting out evil people he can feed to Dracula. After the session he goes out to find one of the abusive men. Just as he is about to do this though, there is a random mafia hit perpetrated by Teddy Lobo (Ben Schwartz). Renfield eats some bugs that give him super powers and we are “treated” to an over-the-top gore fest as he literally rips people limb from limb. This kind of gore might have appealed to a teenage version of me, but does not anymore. 

Teddy speeds off and then gets arrested by Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina). That’s four recognizable names to this movie so far, and yet, this movie is a hot mess. Rebecca is a lowly traffic cop because she keeps going after the crime family. She also has a sister in the FBI named Kate. Basically all of New Orleans is under the thumb of this mob family, and it is eventually revealed that many of the police are also loyal to them. 

Dracula is not happy with the bodies that Renfield brings him to eat. He says evil people taste worse and aren’t healing him fast enough. This is stark contrast to what Lestate told Louis in Interview with the Vampire. I wish these undead would get their stories straight. Renfield goes to find some victims and happens to be in the same place as Rebecca when it is attacked by Teddy and his men. Renfield and Rebecca team up to kill all the mobsters (except Teddy) with more gratuitous violence. 

Teddy returns to his family’s house and Teddy’s mother wants him to kill Renfield. This leads Teddy to Dracula’s lair (somehow). And they team up. Renfield makes a statement to the police, and then goes to his support group, but surprise Dracula shows up and kills everyone in Renfield’s support group in retribution to the betrayal that Dracula feels. Rebecca shows up and arrests Renfield. But then basically every police officer we’ve seen in the movie shows up and reveals they are all in the employ of Teddy’s family. Teddy and Rebecca escape capture to Renfield’s new apartment, only be to attacked by cops and robbers (see what I did there) the next morning. Rebecca and Teddy hold nothing back as they grotesquely kill a lot of them. 

Now Rebecca calls her sister, who this whole movie I expected to be corrupt, but it turns out she is clean and was captured by the bad guys. Renfield collects a bunch of bugs and goes for the final confrontation. It isn’t clear to me if different bugs do different things. Dracula has converted Teddy and like five other dudes into familiars as well. But there must be a learning curve, because Renfield is easily able to dispatch them all. 

Now we learn something completely unexpected. Dracula’s blood has a super healing factor to it. Kate is very badly injured and if Rebecca lets Dracula go, he’ll heal her. But she then dumps him in sunlight and they surround him in a magic circle and then encase him in concrete. They are able to harvest quite a bit of blood though, and use it to heal Kate, and then also heal all of Renfield’s self-help group. Even though they’ve been dead for over a day and probably had autopsies performed on them, and many of them were dismembered and everything else. Probably that is the same kind of blood that Khan has in Star Trek: Into Darkness. And the movie ends. Finally.

 

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