“Renfield” was directed by Chris McKay (“The LEGO Batman Movie,” “The Tomorrow War”) from a screenplay by Ryan Ridley (“Ghosted,” “Rick & Morty”), itself based on an idea credited to “The Walking Dead” and “Invincible” comic book creator Robert Kirkman. You can clearly see all three of these gents’ influences in the film’s trailers, which combine character-based humor and high-octane action (à la McKay’s past work) with an irreverent take on familiar genre tropes that bring to mind Ridley’s previous TV writing. There’s also the hyper-graphic violence that Kirkman loves, although that’s obviously only alluded to in these green-band previews.
This feels like a good place to clarify: I remain cautiously interested in “Renfield” in spite of Universal’s marketing, not because of it. Nicholas Hoult seems to give considerable thought to the projects he works on these days (especially when it comes to dark comedies — see also “The Favourite” and “The Menu”), and my hope is the film’s trailers are deliberately playing up the scenes where Renfield deploys his spider-fueled super-powers to make this seem like more of an action movie than it really is. And if it’s a terrible as some of my co-workers understandably fear it will be, well, there’s still “The Last Voyage of the Demeter.”
“Renfield” opens in theaters on April 14, 2023. Its official synopsis reads:
In this modern monster tale of Dracula’s loyal servant, Nicholas Hoult (“Mad Max: Fury Road,” “X-Men” franchise) stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to history’s most narcissistic boss, Dracula (Oscar® winner Nicolas Cage). Renfield is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, after centuries of servitude, Renfield is ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness. If only he can figure out how to end his codependency.