The Last Voyage of the Demeter review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout the years there have been a ton of takes on the iconic Bram Stoker character Dracula. It’s always fun to see what new ways people find to tell the story, but of course not all work. The latest, The Last Voyage of the Demeter is going in a different direction focusing on a single chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel as opposed to the usual tales. The film stars Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian from Troll Hunter director André Øvredal. Could this new take bring something new and terrifying to the Dracula legacy or will it fail to sink its teeth into the audience?
The Last Voyage of the Demeter follows the terrifying story of the merchant ship Demeter, which was chartered to carry private cargo—fifty unmarked wooden crates—from Carpathia to London. Strange events befall the doomed crew as they attempt to survive the ocean voyage, stalked each night by a merciless presence onboard the ship. When the Demeter finally arrives off the shores of England, it is a charred, derelict wreck. There is no trace of the crew.
The idea behind this film had me instantly interested and the look of Dracula in the trailer had me hoping for something unique and I was not disappointed. The film plays up as a period piece with the majority taking place on the ship during its voyage. It takes its time to build the suspense along with a slow build reveal of Dracula himself in a great way. The films grey tones and period style make it stand out as something more than it might have been otherwise. It is treated initially almost like an old school haunted house type tone that really helps it build well.
As it pushes along and the bodies begin to pile up we get more and more reveal of the titular character and I loved his look. Some might argue that they want the normal human appearance of the Prince of Darkness, but I love the visual nod to
both the bat and Nosferatu. It is just a cool look and offers up some great moments and brings it into a more creature feature style while still being a cool Dracula story.
There are some slower moments here and there, but for the most part it uses its time wisely building the tension and sparingly unleashing its fury. While there is plenty of blood and some great deaths I was hoping for a bit more gore, but it still works and a blast to watch. There are some elements that felt it fell into the typical Hollywood rule system near the end and felt a bit rushed to the finale, but it was also clear they wanted to make sure to showcase the option of a possible future.
Taking an idea that is just a small moment of a bigger story is a tricky thing to pull off, but here they have expanded the legacy in a fun violent way that delivers and even sets up more possible future stories. I really enjoyed this and hope it finds the audience it deserves so we can start getting more flicks like this again.
Decide for yourself and check out The Last Voyage of the Demeter in theaters now from Universal.