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Film / Renfield (2023)

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Stop serving. Start living.

I am enough, I deserve happiness, and I take full charge of my life.

Renfield is a 2023 action horror comedy film based upon the character from Bram Stoker's classic gothic horror novel Dracula. It is directed by Chris McKay, produced and based off an idea by Robert Kirkman, and stars Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Adrian Martinez, Ben Schwartz, and Nicolas Cage.

Set in modern day New Orleans, the film follows Renfield (Hoult), now disillusioned from decades of playing familiar to the narcissistic Count Dracula (Cage). But when a chance encounter with a feisty cop (Awkwafina) gives him a taste of life beyond servitude to history's most feared vampire, he sets out to find a way to end his co-dependent relationship with his master. The film will release on April 14, 2023.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2

Renfield Includes the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • This wouldn't be the first time Cage had played a Mean Boss vampire, having played Peter Loew — a crazed, abusive yuppie who thought he was turning into a vampire (maybe) — in Vampire's Kiss. Ironically, Peter Loew was himself a modernized example of The Renfield.
    • The trailer ends with the twist that Nicolas Cage is playing Dracula, which feels very similar to the (fictitious) trailer for Werewolf Women of the SS (featured in Grindhouse), where Nicolas Cage plays Fu Manchu.
  • Adaptational Badass: Renfield in the novel Dracula was an insane human who was kept incarcerated in an asylum most of the time. This version is shown in the trailers to be superhuman and capable of trouncing multiple opponents at the same time.
  • Adaptational Skill: The trailers depict Renfield as gaining certain superhuman abilities after ingesting insects such as Super Strength and Super Toughness. He was described as unnaturally strong in the novel due to his insanity but this seems to have been Exaggerated for the film.
  • Age Lift: The Renfield of the original story was 59 years old when he fell under Dracula's power. The trailer shows this Renfield to be much younger (Nicholas Hoult was 33 during filming).
  • Extreme Omnivore: Renfield is shown in the trailer to be eating bugs (as he did in the book) to gain a burst of strength and agility.
  • I Have Many Names: Invoked during the trailer when Dracula crashes Renfield's support group.
    Dracula: Some call me the Dark One, others the Lord of Death. To most,
  • Looks Like Cesare: Nicolas Cage's Dracula, as seen in the trailer, is the classic pale-with-sunken-eyes archetype.
  • Moody Trailer Cover Song: The red band trailer manages to do this with the already moody "Creep".
  • Must Be Invited: At the end of the trailer, Dracula arrives at the support group Renfield is attending. Renfield has a Big "NO!" as the group leader invites Dracula inside.
  • Mythology Gag: A possible one to the original Dracula novel - Renfield's love interest here is named Rebecca Quincy - likely a reference to Quincey Morris, an American cowboy and one of Lucy Wesentra's suitors from Dracula who helped defeat the Count.
  • Older Than They Look: Renfield has not aged since he became Dracula's servant in the early 1930s (in the TV spot and final trailer).
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Dracula gets one at the end of the trailer.
    Dracula: Now... let's eat!
  • The Renfield: The titular character. The trailer shows him doing the typical Renfield duties. Moving his master's body, procuring victims, receiving psychic messages… and being very weary of it all.
  • Shout-Out: As revealed in a TV spot, the circumstances of Renfield meeting Dracula and falling under his control are presented as an extended reference to how Dracula (1931) depicted these same events. Several key shots from the 1931 film are even recreated with Nicholas Hoult and Nicolas Cage in place of Dwight Frye and Bela Lugosi. Likewise they play music from Swan Lake which is a shout out to the fact the music was used for the opening credits in the 1931 movie.
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor: Played during the trailer.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: The trailer opens with Renfield walking in on a support group meeting in search of advice on how to leave his toxic relationship with Dracula. They actually do give him some good advice… until the trailer ends with Drac himself walking in.