When Nic Cage walks out from the foyer as full blown Dracula during Renfield’s luscious black-and-white re-creations of Tod Browning’s Dracula, you can see the actor is about to have the time of his life. Cage’s performance is the best part of the latest take on Bram Stoker’s bloodsucker: However, Renfield focuses on the titular familiar (Hoult) to mixed results. At its best, it’s a fun horror-comedy romp, with great practical effects work and clear affection for its villain. At its worst, it’s an overstuffed, poorly CGI’d take on another piece of familiar IP.
Despite its faults, the affection the movie has for its predecessor (most notably in its opening black-and-white sequences) is clear and contagious. There’s fun work being done by the support cast, clueless to the gravity of Renfield’s situation until it’s too late. Cage’s choices – the cadence of a word, a well-placed hand, a too-wide smile – are all delightfully unhinged. It’s a gift to see an actor as committed as Cage taking a big bite out of a role. If the movie doesn’t match up, at least Cage delivers, deliciously. It’s a meaty performance that’s worth sinking your teeth into.