With John Wick: Chapter 4 opening this weekend, and Dungeons & Dragons and Tetris next weekend, we are rolling toward the absolute car crash that is the film release calendar for the rest of 2023. Things start picking up steam in April, and the film I am most excited about next month remains Renfield. The final trailer dropped yesterday, with a perfect use of Radiohead’s “Creep”, a great song for any movie starring Nicholas Hoult, one of cinema’s great sad-sack silly boys.
I am a little bit afraid this trailer is giving away all the good bits, but I’m still into Nicolas Cage chewing scenery as Dracula, and I am also here for whatever is going on with those werewolves. I really hope those are supposed to be actual werewolves, as played by actors in fur suits, and not just like, people in elaborate wolf masks. I will immediately and forever love the next movie that uses actors in fur suits to portray werewolves, instead of digital effects.
This trailer has a strong What We Do in the Shadows vibe, with Renfield as the put-upon, overworked familiar who cares for and resents his vampire master in equal measure. That makes sense, as comic book writer Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, originally pitched the idea as a Dracula story told from the point of view of Renfield, in the vein of What We Do in the Shadows. They didn’t go the mockumentary route for Renfield, but you can still feel the influence, for sure.
This trailer also reveals Ben Schwartz and Shohreh Aghdashloo as a mob enforcer and a mob boss, respectively. Maybe this movie will suck—no pun intended—but the casting is on point. In a movie about Dracula and Renfield going through a violent friend breakup, who else do you cast a mob boss and her enforcer? A less inspired choice would be someone physically believable as a mob enforcer, but the inspired choice is Ben Schwartz, especially when he’s working Jean-Ralphio vibes. Jean-Ralphio would be a GREAT mob enforcer, people would pay him protection money just to go away. I hope Renfield delivers on all this promise, I am starving for cinematic comedies. Cocaine Bear whetted my appetite, but I would love it if 2023 became the year the theatrical comedy make a comeback.