Release Date in Canada:
July 11, 2023.
Although the staggered streaming and home video release of Renfield is unusual, I’m just Vlad this movie is finally available in Canada. Now that is out of my system, I can take a bite at what makes this horror comedy the fun romp that it is. Although I knew this film would be over the top, what the featurettes offered in explaining the making of the film helped me appreciate it more. That’s because I’ve looked at other interpretations of this character in other media; although they took on a more serious tone in interpreting the adage, “The blood is the life!” this film goes down a different route.
From comic book to novella to this film, the gambit is well covered to explain why the title character loves eating bugs. It gives him power. In the opening narration, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has a mix of daddy issues and an identity problem. But there’s more! He can’t break free from the chains that the Lord of the Darkness has around him. It makes for a lightning in a bottle waiting to blow up, and when he gets mad, mortals better beware.
To say too much about the story would ruin the way this delightfully campy film handles psychoanalysing this character. It’s mostly told from his point of view, and all I’ll say is that he has the powers of a superhero after consuming bugs. When Rebecca (Awkwafina) investigates and gets in over her head in this mess, the chaos only gets prettier.
When he accidentally saves the day rather than do actual good, what he learns about himself is actually surprising. This film is just as much about standing up to bullies as it is about standing up for yourself. The Count in all his Nick Cage glory chews up the scenery. In the bonus features, we get to learn about how this actor immersed himself into the role.
The bonus material included in this home release is definitely worth the watch for not only fans of Dracula cinema but also for the deleted scenes. I’m not surprised a few things got nixed since it’d take away from the tone of the film, or simply was made too long. There’s the dance number which gets into Renfield’s mindset and also the big apartment battle, it’s a lot more amusing and gorier than what’s presented in the theatrical cut. I’d have to compare both side by side to identify what was taken out, but all in all, this later entry to the lore works. I certainly had a bloody good time since I had trepidations paying movie theatre prices for it.
Renfield Blu-ray Bonus Features
- Deleted and Extended Scenes: There’s about 20 minutes of additional material which looks at what didn’t make the cut, and offer some more gruesome insights to Renfield’s mindset. The best bit out of this section is the behind the scenes in the making of the dance number, which didn’t make the final cut.
- Alternate Takes
- Dracula UnCaged: Go inside the mind of a vampire as Dracula himself, Nicolas Cage, reveals the secrets behind turning a classic character into a memorable monster.
- Monsters & Men: Behind the Scenes of RENFIELD – An in-depth look at Renfield’s cast, sets, costumes and more as the actors and filmmakers reveal how they modernised a famous terror tale with trailblazing comedy and over-the-top action.
- Stages of Rejuvenation: See how special makeup effects bring the undead to life throughout the four stages of Dracula’s incredible transformation.
- Flesh & Blood: Exploding heads. Peeling faces. Severed limbs. They’re all part of the macabre movie magic that fuels Renfield with inventive action and hilarious horror.
- Fighting Dirty: Stunt coordinator Christopher Brewster leads a look at the training, choreography, and careful execution that goes into the film’s spectacular stunts and fight scenes.
- The Making of a Deleted Scene: Renfield’s Dance!: Nicholas Hoult and choreographer Kathryn Burns pull back the curtain on constructing an elaborate musical number for a fantasy dance sequence.
- Feature Commentary with Producer Samantha Nisenboim, Screenwriter Ryan Ridley, and Crew