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Nicolas Cage plays Count Dracula

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Query: Is Nicolas Cage enjoying Depend Dracula a robust sufficient concept to hold a 90-minute movie?

In a buzzy studio pitch assembly, I’d most likely shout “sure!”


film evaluation

Operating time: 93 minutes. Rated R (bloody violence, some gore, language all through and a few drug use.) In theaters April 14.

Caught in a movie show seat watching “Renfield” plod alongside, the reply is a convincing meh.

Because the Depend from “Sesame Avenue” would say, “‘Renfield’ will get TWO stars! Ah, ah, ah.”

Cage — whose profession has develop into so goofy he not too long ago performed a parody model of himself who will get kidnapped by a Spanish drug lord — is as humorous and self-aware because the evil outdated vampire.

Loopy, it will appear, has develop into Cage’s new regular. 

However don’t come in search of a wacky sendup of the story within the vein of Mel Brooks’ “Younger Frankenstein.”

It’s truly not whilst hilarious as that director’s much-worse 1995 film “Dracula: Useless and Loving It,” and outdoors of some primary particulars the movie has little to do with Bram Stoker’s guide.

“Renfield,” directed by Chris McKay, has extra in widespread with the (much better) “Zombieland” sequence, with high-body-count motion sequences, quick-cut comedy and an unlikely, socially awkward hero. 


Nicolas Cage plays Count Dracula, the boss who torments poor Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) in "Renfield."
Nicolas Cage performs Depend Dracula, the boss who torments poor Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) in “Renfield.”
Photograph Credit score: Michele Okay. Brief/Common Photos

That will be Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult), Depend Dracula’s beleaguered “acquainted,” who has been gifted an unnaturally lengthy life in change for bringing the vamp recent victims. His different quirk is that he will get superpowers by consuming bugs.

Firstly of the film, at a church group remedy assembly in current day New Orleans, Renfield publicizes, “I’m in a harmful relationship.” (Need leaden jokes about poisonous companions and managers? “Renfield” has them.)

It’s an exhausting gig. Just about each time Dracula seems vanquished over the many years, Renfield brings him to a brand new metropolis and nurses him again to well being. At first, Cage’s Depend has vine-y, sagging pores and skin, just like the Grand Excessive Witch from “The Witches” — however cheaper. Suppose Previous Gregg.

After some blood-sucking, he’s again to being that recognizable nationwide treasure.


Dracula (Cage) is brought back to health through the blood of his victims, captured by Renfield.
Dracula (Cage) is introduced again to well being by way of the blood of his victims, captured by Renfield.
Photograph Credit score: Common Photos

However Renfield needs to flee from underneath his merciless boss’ centuries-old thumb, and he begins to construct the braveness to just do that after he meets and falls in love with Officer Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), a critical cop hell-bent on bringing down the Lobo crime household (Shohreh Aghdashloo, together with her smokey and threatening voice because the boss, is terrific casting). 

Woe to Awkwafina. So hilarious in “Loopy Wealthy Asians” and on “Nora From Queens,” right here she has a cardboard, bookish, humorless position. The identical is usually true for the enormously gifted Hoult, whose display screen time is wasted on nervous mumbling and very gory combat scenes. For all of the gallons of blood which are spilled, Renfield is a cold half.

The final third of the film, through which Renfield and Rebecca are on the run — form of from Dracula, form of from the cops and form of from the Mafia — is a wash.

In fact, most individuals don’t know each minute element of Stoker’s novel and so they possible haven’t seen the 1931 Tod Browning film. (The perfect a part of “Renfield” is a brief prologue that cleverly re-creates a few of that.) 


Awkwafina is wasted in the role of a serious, hard-nosed New Orleans cop.
Awkwafina is wasted within the position of a critical, hard-nosed New Orleans cop.
Photograph Credit score: Michele Okay. Brief / Common Photos

Nonetheless, we’re left wanting higher, smarter, “Dracula”-specific jokes. As an alternative we get witless, back-of-the-drawer exchanges like this one:

Quincy: “Do you wash his cape?”

Renfield: “No. It’s dry-clean solely.”

Is that this a movie script — or my uncle on Thanksgiving?

The bit — the one bit, actually— is that Renfield is Dracula’s mistreated assistant. The Transylvanian terror is a complete Miranda Priestly, solely undead and performed by a slapstick Cage. That shtick, and Renfield moping across the French Quarter like Charlie Brown, is worn-out after 20 minutes.

Cage is amusing although, and exemplifies the outdated stage knowledge “for those who’re having enjoyable, they’re having enjoyable.” 

Nonetheless, that’s the largest downside for “Renfield”: Each time Cage leaves the body, which is commonly, we instantly cease having enjoyable — as if Dracula commanded us to.

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