A monstrous Dracula screaming in the rain

The Last Voyage of the Demeter

November 27, 2023
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Dracula deserves new takes on his iconic story in the movie space, I’m just bummed this one only got it half right.

Adapting “The Captain’s Log” chapter of the literary classic that is Bram Stoker’s DraculaThe Last Voyage of the Demeter takes place in 1897 and is set almost entirely on the titular ship of the same name as it makes its long journey from Bulgaria to London. Following the Demeter’s Captain Elliot (Liam Cunningham) and his crew, a doctor named Clemens (Corey Hawkins), and a mysterious stowaway named Annie (Aisling Franciosi) after they unknowingly take on cargo containing something far more deadly and ancient than they can possibly comprehend, it isn’t long before a new kind of terror begins to stalk them from the bowels of their very own ship. With nowhere to find safety amongst the waves, Clemens and Captain Elliot must find a way to destroy the monster hunting them before they make port or risk it being set loose on the civilized world.

I knew I was gonna be on board with this one almost right off the bat, as its fresh “creature feature” take on Dracula and adaptation of what essentially amounts to a handful of journal entries caught my attention far more than a traditional Dracula film about some creepy old guy holed up in a castle on a hill would. Complete with a healthy dose of blood and gore, high-end production values, and an intriguing slow burn of a tale that’s handled far better than I expected (at least at first), The Last Voyage of the Demeter almost manages to capitalize on its unique story angle, as its premise fits right at home in the dank and claustrophobic quarters of the Demeter. Held together by some stellar direction and a cast that plays their parts well, this movie came close to being the Dracula film I’ve always wanted to see, but by the end of it, there simply weren’t enough elements that worked to call this one a true success.

Despite having a lot of the right ingredients needed to make something like this work, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, unfortunately, sinks more than it floats, mostly due to a handful of boring and overly drawn-out scenes plopped right in the middle and toward the end of the movie that doesn’t do the better parts of the film any favors. Often feeling unfocused and padded with the wrong parts of a story that also inexplicably drags at times, I honestly didn’t mind the initial slow burn of it all, but when it shifts focus from the terrifying creature plaguing the ship and its crew to the decidedly less interesting plots of Clemens, Anna, and a few other lesser characters, and I feel like trimming the runtime and subplots down a bit might have benefitted the final cut greatly.

Sure, there’s some great R-rated action featuring a monstrous version of Dracula ripping people to shreds, but it all means little in the face of characters I only half cared about and is a film made even more middling by its poor pacing and a script that isn’t as gripping as it should be considering its intriguing premise. That being said, I mostly appreciated what the filmmakers were trying to do here, it’s just unfortunate that The Last Voyage of the Demeter couldn’t bring it all together in a neat little blood-stained package.

Dracula deserves new takes on his iconic story in the movie space, I’m just bummed this one only got it half right. Adapting “The Captain’s Log” chapter of the literary classic that is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter takes place in 1897 and is set almost entirely on the titular ship of the same name as it makes its long journey from Bulgaria to London. Following the Demeter’s Captain Elliot (Liam Cunningham) and his crew, a doctor named Clemens (Corey Hawkins), and a mysterious stowaway named Annie (Aisling Franciosi) after they unknowingly take on cargo containing something far more deadly and ancient than they can possibly comprehend, it isn’t long before a new kind of terror begins to stalk them from the bowels of their very own ship. With nowhere to find safety amongst the waves, Clemens and Captain Elliot must find a way to destroy the monster hunting them before they make port or risk it being set loose on the civilized world. I knew I was gonna be on board with this one almost right off the bat, as its fresh “creature feature” take on Dracula and adaptation of what essentially amounts to a handful of journal entries caught my attention far more than a traditional Dracula film about some creepy old guy holed up in a castle on a hill would. Complete with a healthy dose of blood and gore, high-end production values, and an intriguing slow burn of a tale that’s handled far better than I expected (at least at first), The Last Voyage of the Demeter almost manages to capitalize on its unique story angle, as its premise fits right at home in the dank and claustrophobic quarters of the Demeter. Held together by some stellar direction and a cast that plays their parts well, this movie came close to being the Dracula film I’ve always wanted to see, but by the end of it, there simply weren’t enough elements that worked to call this one a true success. Despite having a lot of the right ingredients needed to make something like this work, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, unfortunately, sinks more than it floats, mostly due to a handful of boring and overly drawn-out scenes plopped right in the middle and toward the end of the movie that doesn’t do the better parts of the film any favors. Often feeling unfocused and padded with the wrong parts of a story that also inexplicably drags at times, I honestly didn’t mind the initial slow burn of it all, but when it shifts focus from the terrifying creature plaguing the ship and its crew to the decidedly less interesting plots of Clemens, Anna, and a few other lesser characters, and I feel like trimming the runtime and subplots down a bit might have benefitted the final cut greatly. Sure, there’s some great R-rated action featuring a monstrous version of Dracula ripping people to shreds, but it all means little in the face of characters I only half…

6.9

A Middling Voyage

The Verdict

6.9

7

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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