Renfield (2023)

Talk about a toxic relationship! The one shared between Count Dracula (Nicolas Cage) and his handler Robert Montague Renfield (Nicholas Hoult, About a Boy) has gotten so bad that Renfield, a former real estate agent who sold his soul to the Count some 100 years ago, attends a 12-step support group for those caught in toxic relationships.

Their interconnection is best summed up when, after Renfield tells Dracula, “I will no longer tolerate abuse. I deserve happiness,” Dracula retorts with “Let me explain something to you, okay? You deserve only suffering! I will unleash an army of death! Everyone you care about will suffer, because you betrayed me!”

"a sophomorically funny little gem"

And that’s exactly what the Count does. And that’s also the theme of Chris McKay’s Renfield, a sophomorically funny little gem that pokes fun at a lot of different things, including rom-coms, narcissistic relationships, and even classic Universal horror.

Written by Ryan Ridley and Robert Kirkman, the guys who brought us "Rick and Morty" and "Robot Chicken," Renfield rushes us through an expository backstory which reveals the now contentious relationship between Renfield and Count Dracula before eventually picking up current day in New Orleans where the two are laying low while Drac heals from a particularly vicious exposure to light.

While in New Orleans, Renfield must continue to provide the blood of fresh victims to his master, which causes them to cross paths with Rebecca (Awkwafina), one of the few clean cops in the city, as well as The Lobos, the drug family responsible for the death of Rebecca’s father.

In the meantime, Renfield is attempting to cope with his own issues, mainly the self-centered, narcissistic tendencies of Dracula who gaslights Renfield when he tells the young manservant, “I’m not the monster, you are! Now bring me innocent victims! I want a handful of nuns, a busload of cheerleaders.”

It’s this kind of self-aware humor that keeps it all afloat. Well, that and the scene-chewing performance of Cage as the thousand-year-old bloodsucker. Yes, it’s silly, even a bit heavy-handed at times, and many of the jokes miss the mark. But darn, if it isn’t a whole lot of fun. Oh, and gory. Boy, is it gory! Blood spurts by the gallon, heads explode, and arms are ripped from bodies and used to beat the poor victims over the head. I can tell you how bloody the whole thing is, but you won’t believe it until you see for yourself.Renfield (2023)

Then there’s Nic Cage landing in the role he was born to play. Snarling at the camera through pointy teeth and throwing his cape around with unbridled glee, he even takes a swipe at Lugosi himself when he growls “I. Am. Dracula,” putting emphasis on the “I.” The only downside is that, as the title suggests, it’s not really a film about Dracula, so Cage, sadly, doesn’t get enough screen time.

Hoult does, however, and he is perfect. As the run down, sympathetic character just looking for a break, his browbeaten Renfield plays nicely against his overbearing, narcissistic boss. Caught between supplying victims for his master and looking for a way out of the deal, Renfield’s toxic relations support group provides for both an endless supply of hapless victims and a means of, well, support. He’s also a badass action hero. He eats bugs and insects which gives him superhuman strength and whirling dervish-like martial arts skills.

Renfield isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is. But at a scant 90 minutes, it’s the rare exception that could have spent more time with a better developed story. As it is, it’s so over the top bonkers and the violence is so in your face that it is actually funny and a whole lot of fun.

3/5 stars

 Renfield (2023)

Blu-ray Details

Dracula Sucks Edition / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Universal
Available on Blu-ray
- June 6, 2023
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English SDH; French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French (Canada): DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS-HD HR 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; DVD; two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Watch gallons and gallons of gooey blood splatter the screen in sparkling 1080p clarity as Nic Cage's rendition of Dracula finally hits high definition with Universal's release of the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code DRACULA SUCKS EDITION of Renfield.

The blue eco-case comes housed in an embossed cardboard slipcover and contains a feature-length commentary as well as bucket loads of extended and deleted scenes, alternate takes, EPK featurettes and making-of pieces, and a Movies Anywhere digital redemption card. If you like the film, then this will be a nice addition to your blu-ray collection!


There are plenty of dark scenes throughout the film and, for the most part, they hold up well, with minimal crush and artifacting.

It's also a very colorful film with beautifully-designed and well-lit scenes throughout. One particularly memorable scene can be admired at the 48-minute mark as Dracula invites himself to a self-help meeting. The stage is bathed in pastel colors and backlit by the warm hues of the setting sun pouring through the windows as Dracula rises to the ceiling ensuring everybody in the room knows his name. Just sit back and admire the color and clarity of the scene. The AVC encoded 1080p 2.39:1 picture is pristine.


An English language DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is included as well as a Spanish-language DTS-HD HR 7.1, and a French-language DTS 5.1 track. As expected, there's a lot of pipe-organ music that works its way around the room in addition to the action scenes which also put on display a lot of channel separation. Very nicely done, Universal!


In addition to a feature-length audio commentary, included in the Bonus section of the disc are eight deleted scenes, and a handful of other EPK-type pieces, which take us behind the scenes of the making of Renfield. Special effects nerds will particularly enjoy the Flesh & Blood piece which highlights some of the practical effects set pieces in the film.


  • With Producer Samantha Nisenboim, Screenwriter Ryan Ridley, and Crew

Special Features:

  • Alternate Takes (03:18)
  • Dracula Uncaged (04:48)
  • Monsters & Men: Behind the Scenes of Renfield (12:35)
  • Stages of Rejuvenation (06:15)
  • Flesh & Blood (05:23) - Best of the box!
  • Fighting Dirty (06:12)

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

Renfield (2023)

MPAA Rating: R.
93 mins
: Chris McKay
Ryan Ridley; Robert Kirkman
Nicholas Hoult; Nicolas Cage; Awkwafina
: Comedy | Horror
Sucks to be him.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Some call me the Dark One. Others, the Lord of Death. To most, I am... Dracula!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 14, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 6, 2023
Synopsis: 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.


Renfield (2023)