(director: Chris McKay; screenwriters: Ryan Ridley/based on the idea by Robert Kirkman; cinematographer: Mitchell Amundsen; editors: Zene Baker, Ryan Folsey, Giancarlo Ganziano; music: Marco Beltrami; cast: Nicolas Cage (Dracula), Nicholas Hoult (Renfield), Awkwafina (Rebecca Quincy), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bella Francesca Lobo), Ben Schwartz (Teddy), Adrian Martinez (Chris), Brandon Scott Jones (Mark); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Chris McKay, Samantha Nisenboim, Bryan Furst, Sean Furst, Robert Kirkman, David Alpert; Universal Pictures; 2023)

“An ultra-violent and unimaginative Dracula splatter pic that sucks.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An ultra-violent and
unimaginative Dracula splatter pic that sucks. It’s directed without humor or purpose by Chris McKay (“The Lego Batman Movie”/”The Tomorrow War”). The pic is based on the idea by Robert Kirkman. Despite the flamboyant actor Nicolas Cage doing an over-the-top turn as Dracula, his vampire portrayal flames out despite all his contortions. Writer Ryan Ridley offers a weak script, there are not enough campy bits for a campy film and its trite dialogue is a bummer. Other than that, it might be good enough for Cage fans (perhaps pleased just to take in any Cage film where he acts crazy).

Through the ages Renfield (
Nicholas Hoult) has been the loyal servant and disciple of Dracula, much to his chagrin and is looking for ways to leave him. One of his tasks is to get the vampire new vics. You know, the demanding master can always use some blood treats.

The unholy pair are in New Orleans, where the underworld is run by the Lobos crime family, led by Bella Lobo (
Shohreh Aghdashloo) and her son Teddy (Ben Schwartz). The N.O. police detective, Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina), holds the Lobos to account for killing her father and getting away with it, and wants revenge. She begins a romance with Renfield (which never seems believable), hoping his master can do his thing on the Lobos.

Anyway, no matter how much I disliked Cage’s vampire performance, I loved his grotesque make-up.