Renfield Reviews Are Here, And The Critics Are Disgusted In The Best Way By Nicolas Cage's Horror Comedy

There are few movie monsters more classic than Count Dracula, and vampires in general have seen so many different big-screen interpretations over the years. While Chris McKay’s upcoming horror comedy Renfield may focus on the famous vampire’s servant (played by Nicholas Hoult), it’s not surprising that Nicolas Cage’s Dracula was what had social media on fire after the release of Renfield’s trailer. Reviews are in for the film ahead of its April 14 release, and the critics seem to agree the audience is in for a bloody good time.

Along with The Weather Man co-stars Nicholas Cage and Nicholas Hoult reuniting, Renfield boasts an impressive cast, including Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Brandon Scott Jones and Adrian Martinez. The movie takes place in modern-day New Orleans, where Dracula’s familiar has decided to stand up to his toxic employer in hopes of escaping his life of servitude. Let’s see what the critics are saying, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Renfield. Mike Reyes rates the movie 3.5 stars out of 5, describing Hoult as “charmingly heroic,” while Cage is “gleefully evil.” Reyes continues: 

Nicolas Cage is a performer who, while never phoning it in, is always easy to spot when he’s having fun. Readers, if this project was a juice box, or a delicious victim at the blood bank, Cage has certainly left it drained dry based on the delight you can read on his face throughout every moment he’s on screen.

Linda Codega of Gizmodo says Renfield isn’t lacking for blood or camp, and there are way more martial arts sequences than one might expect from a vampire flick. It’s a creature feature where Nic Cage’s creature “is truly fucking featured.” The critic says: 

As Renfield and Dracula gather their allies, there are some of the most kick-ass ass kicking scenes I’ve seen in theaters in a long time. It’s taking blood splatter and painting it floor to ceiling. The film uses as many practical effects as it can, creating a campy, over-the-top, absolutely absurd film where you never know what body part will pop off next.

Liz Shannon Miller of Consequence agrees with the above review in the case of gore, calling the film “gloriously violent” and remarking that it carries a bold aesthetic “that loves color as much as it loves seeing a person’s insides on the outside.” More from the review: 

When your primary complaint about a movie is that it could have been longer, that’s a pretty good sign. Renfield knows exactly what it wants to achieve and does so effectively, anchored by its lead performances and some very enjoyable super-violent action sequences which earn its R rating honestly. (Just the opening sequence, which brilliantly invokes the 1931 Dracula with a meta twist, is worth the price of your ticket.)

Rachel Leishman of The Mary Sue rates Renfield 5 out of 5 Dracula blood bags, noting that while it’s centered around a familiar Universal monster, it also makes a statement on toxic relationships, with Nicholas Hoult bringing the heart to the movie. And, as the other critics have mentioned, this review warns viewers about just how bloody the movie is, saying: 

McKay mixes a bit of humor in with his graphic action sequences and it makes for a movie that will constantly have you laughing and cringing at the same time. It’s gory, twisted, and has a scene in which Renfield uses arms like nunchucks, so … maybe just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into with Renfield.

Sam Stone of CBR also warns that audiences will chuckle through their winces, saying this film is not for the faint of heart and is at its best when leaning into the goofiness of it all. The critic continues: 

Ultimately, Renfield is lightweight fun that cheerfully coats its laughs with enough blood and viscera to make Shaun of the Dead jealous. At 93 minutes, the movie wisely moves at a brisk pace to get to the next set piece as smoothly as possible, with screenwriter Ryan Ridley -- from a story written by producer Robert Kirkman -- peppering in enough Easter eggs that longtime vampire movie fans should keep an eye out for. Easy and breezy, Renfield succeeds as both horror and comedy, working best when it knows which tonal swim lane to focus on for a given scene.

It certainly sounds like Nicolas Cage is perfect for the role and is complemented by Nicholas Hoult’s performance. Could Renfield’s success lead to Cage’s version of Dracula getting a solo movie? If you’re up for this bloody horror comedy, you can catch Renfield in theaters starting Friday, April 14, and in the meantime, be sure to check out our 2023 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are hitting the big screen soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.