, there was a lot I enjoyed. I loved the script's mix of understated humor with graphic, over the top gory physical humor, I absolutely loved that the movie gave Nicolas Cage free reign to camp it up to excellent heights as Count Dracula, and I greatly enjoyed Nicholas Hoult as the film's titular straight man, Dracula's long-suffering and immortal slave who has been doing the bidding of his master for centuries, and it's beginning to get old.
The first time we see Hoult, he's at a support meeting for people in abusive relationships. That itself is a funny idea, and the movie has a lot of fun with it, especially with Brandon Scott Jones as the group's sunny leader, who gets off some excellent one-liners. This is is a script that's full of good ideas, and it's smart enough to act on them and deliver some big laughs, such as when Renfield realizes he doesn't have to dress like a gothic slave anymore, and buys a new wardrobe of colorful sweaters at Macy's. Whenever the movie is focused on Hoult or Cage, the movie is frequently a riot. It's the outside subplots that seem underwritten and uninspired, and unfortunately the enormously talented and funny Awkwafina gets tethered to this, and doesn't get to stand out as much as I hoped she would.
Oh, she definitely gives the role her all, and she even has some great chemistry with Hoult. The problem lies not with her, but with how thin her plot seems. She plays a New Orleans cop who is haunted by the death of her cop father at the hands of a local criminal empire, and has been trying to bust its leader (Shohreh Aghdashloo, barely given a role to play here) ever since, only to find that most of the others on the force are corrupt. She has a run-in with Renfield, and he is immediately so smitten with her that he starts to feel that maybe he can change his life around, and not be under the thumb of the tyrannical vampire who is plotting to enslave all of humanity once he returns to full power. Her quest for justice and her relationship with her equally grieving sister (Camille Chen) just didn't hold my interest like the material involving Hoult and Cage.
Because of this, Renfield
ends up being a movie made up of shining highs and stretches of slightly less engaging lows. It's a movie that held my attention, but I couldn't help but realize how much more fun I was having with one plot over the other. The movie started to become something that I sat politely through, waiting for it to come to life again. At least I could tell when it was going to, and it never let me down. But the uneven nature of the script can't help but make the thing feel a bit stretched thin, even with a brief running time of just 93 minutes. You can tell that the fun twist on the gothic horror elements were what the writers were truly interested in. The material with the cops and the drug gang feels like filler to pad things out.
I do think the movie is worth watching at least once, because the stuff that does work can be hilarious. I had a good time watching most of the film, and I could never deprive anyone of having a good time. I just wish it wasn't so obvious watching the film which half of the plot got the most attention from the writers, and which felt like material to bridge the stuff that works together.