'Renfield' Trailer: The Promise of a Bloody Fun Addition to the Cage Resurgence

I have been a huge Nicolas Cage fan for decades. It was a big moment to see Cage get oodles of critical praise for his amazing performance in 2021's Pig after being dismissed for his straight-to-video work the past decade. It also appears the critical success has led to some mainstream acceptance again as last year he got a relatively big studio release in The Massive Weight of Unbearable Talent. I was thrilled when it was announced he would be playing Dracula in the Universal release, Renfield.

My gut reaction during my first viewing of the trailer was disappointment, because this wasn't the movie that I had envisioned. All I really knew about the movie going into the trailer was that Cage was playing Dracula, and Nicholas Hoult would be the title character. 

I was expecting a gothic horror set in the 1800s with a possible retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula but from the point of view of the assistant. I was thrown off over it being set in modern times and clearly a horror comedy with strong emphasis on comedy.

Once I reminded myself to not judge a work off what I want it to be but rather what it is trying to be, I had a blast with this trailer, and this promises to be just as much ridiculous fun as M3gan. Could this be the year for excellent horror comedies? A genre mix that is surprisingly hard to pull off.

Once I realized what this movie was attempting, it became a pleasant surprise to discover the always hilarious Awkwafina had a major role, and she looks to be teaming up with Hoult's Renfield to take down his boss from hell. The movie is sold on the appropriately over-the-top performance by Cage, who probably should have played the iconic bloodsucker a long time ago (I think this is his first time going vampire since cult-b-movie-classic Vampire's Kiss.). I have been a Nicholas Hoult fan ever since About a Boy and he continues to take on very diverse roles, and he is great as the super-powered vermin eater who is exhausted with his immortal service to Dracula.

It looks from the first trailer that the picture is leaning more comedy than horror, and looking at the previous credits of director Chris McKay and screenwriter Ryan Ridley that probably is a great assumption going in. But the action sequences in the bar look fun and high energy, so the picture will have a strong visual and action focus that is dripping with ambiance and atmosphere.

I assume from the trailer it is leading to a Renfield showdown with Dracula, but there is a chance this trailer is hiding some major story points. I kind of hope that is the reality, and this movie is less formulaic than it seems.

An example of the possible blending of comedy and horror comes from the support group where there is some fun gags with the members completely missing what Renfield is moaning about, and it builds to what will likely be a horrific fate for all the members that aren't Renfield.

It looks packed with fun, and everyone seem all in on their roles. Classics like Gremlins, Ghostbusters, and Cabin in the Woods have proven you can be filled with comedy while still offering up a frightening threat with big stakes and scary moments. This may not be what I expected, but it still promises to be one of the highlights of 2023.