Renfield parents guide

Renfield Parent Guide

It's gruesomely violent but Nicolas Cage's brilliant performance lights up this darkly funny horror flick.

Overall D

Theaters: Renfield has been the servant to Dracula for over a century; bringing him innocent victims to feed on. But now Renfield longs for a normal life outside his servitude to the Prince of Darkness, if only he can figure out how to deal with his codependency.

Release date April 14, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is Renfield rated R? The MPAA rated Renfield R for bloody violence, some gore, language throughout and some drug use.

Run Time: 93 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Robert Montague Renfield (Nicolas Hoult) has a thankless job under a cruel and demanding employer – a job so unpleasant that he’s begun attending an anonymous group for people in dysfunctional and abusive relationships. What sets Renfield apart from the other attendees is that his employer doesn’t just seem monstrous: he is a monster. Renfield works for Dracula (Nicolas Cage).

For the past century, Renfield’s duties have included having the cape dry-cleaned, keeping the coffin clean, and finding victims for Dracula to suck down like a juice box on legs. The job does have some perks, namely a fraction of his demonic employer’s powers, but he has to eat live insects to activate those powers. Now Renfield is starting to realize that he wants more from his life than aiding and abetting murder for a deathless creature who consistently disrespects his needs.

Also having employer-related issues is Officer Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), who has been investigating suspicious gang-related homicides around town, some of which resemble a midnight snack more than a gangland hit. With Renfield’s help, she might be able to get to the bottom of the violence in the city, and he might be able to get rid of his boss once and for all…

There’s barely anything I need to tell you about this film. As soon as you hear that Dracula will be played by Nicolas Cage, you should already be buying a ticket. Nicolas Cage, as always, gives 110% to the performance, and his Dracula is exactly the scene-stealing narcissist the screenplay needs him to be. He really is a national treasure, and good or bad I will watch anything he’s in. What’s surprising is how well his co-stars stand up to his (literally) scene-chewing performance. Nicholas Hoult has a fatigued “here we go again” attitude about a lot of the mayhem which works wonderfully, and Awkwafina is just a delight. Snappy, irascible, and completely ready to be done with this nonsense.

Also in the film’s favor is that it actually manages to be funny, a rarer feat for comedies than you might hope. That’s not to say this is a suitable choice for comedy fans of all ages. The laughs come with a fairly gruesome price tag, including decapitations, disembowelment, stabbings, burnings, and plain old shootings. If you don’t think you can handle watching a man get punched so hard in the abdomen that his liquefied guts shoot out his mouth and rectum at equal speed, then I’d give this one a miss. But if you can cope with some cartoonishly over-the-top dismemberments and a fairly macabre sense of humor, then this darkly funny film is worth watching. And, surprisingly, not just because Nicolas Cage is in it.

Directed by Chris McKay. Starring Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release April 14, 2023. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Renfield rated R? Renfield is rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence, some gore, language throughout and some drug use.

Violence: People are frequently bitten, dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, shot, stabbed, burned, blown up, and otherwise gorily murdered. One individual is struck so hard in the abdomen that their guts shoot out both ends at high velocity, and this is helpfully illustrated with an x-ray overlay. People are shown eating live insects. A man explodes due to possession. There are jump scares and horror scenes including body horror.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are 72 sexual expletives, 32 scatological curses, and frequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking socially. People traffic cocaine, and one character inadvertently ingests some.

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Home Video

Related home video titles:

Nicholas Hoult had another turn in a ghoulish comedy in Warm Bodies. In a more normal context, he plays a linguist and writer traumatized by the First World War in Tolkien.

This is not Nicolas Cage’s first brush with vampirism, as he also starred in 1988’s Vampire’s Kiss. Other bloody comedies include Violent Night, Willy’s Wonderland, Seven Psychopaths, and Day Shift.