A Bloody Look at Social Dynamics

17th Dallas International Film Festival

By Alyson Powers

Bloodsuckers. Are found in all walks of life, these vile creatures drain more than blood. They drain your sense of self. Narcissism has been tossed around for a while that we’ve all noticed to be sure.
Articles bust through the cracks full of information on narcissists, their categories, and their tactics. We hear the word and normally stamp our exes with it. But real-world statistics show narcissism is on the rise.

The cause of this is another film to be written. For now, Director, Chris McKay (The Lego Movie, The Tomorrow War) tackles the relationship between a narcissistic personality disorder and a codependent. The combination of these two personalities has proven in reality and in fiction to be the hottest and most flammable tale to tell.

A victim who NEEDS to be a victim, who desperately needs to please, and an empty soul who NEEDS to be superficially filled. A perfect cycle. Energy and force. Both are portrayed in this film to a highly engaged level by Nicolas Cage (Face/Off, The Rock) and his ever-present victim Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Mad Max: Fury Road)
Dracula requires Renfield to assist with his every need and essentially worship him. Keep in mind the hints that the “pure” is better to feed on than the rotten. But I digress, portrayed by…. two Nicholases!!? Though spelled differently they are perfect on-screen tandem.

Cage has now proven to push into a, or rather out of his, human self into caricature. He is Perfectly despicable and constantly gross as a modern-day Dracula that can’t quite fit in. Cage however is step in step with Logusi’s 1931 original portrayal of Dracula, till he meets the modern day of 2023. Hoult on the other hand has that adorable cult vulnerability that wins him sympathy every time.

Roaring gore bookmarks each chapter heading social dilemmas such as shaming, domination, gaslighting, and the ultimate abuse: weaponized silence. If you’ve heard these terms and don’t understand their meaning, or if you know the definition, but still can’t grasp their effect, watch this film to witness each action that is used to manipulate these victims.

 It sounds heavy the way I describe it, but it’s light as a feather. And extremely bloody. Awkwafina (Oceans 8, Crazy Rich Asians) as the rare white sheep cop with her no-nonsense attitude is, as usual, but completely hilarious.
Where did this girl come from? She’s everywhere lately it seems.
This film is a comedy with horrific overtones, fully engaging and an almanac to those life-sucking narcissists. Enjoy the film but watch your neck these bloodsuckers are everywhere!

15th Dallas International Film Festival