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The Last Voyage of the Demeter: More Boring Than Scary

The Last Voyage of the Demeter sounds horrifying and entertaining on paper, but unfortunately it falls flat after making several mistakes.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter movie review

Based on a single chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter details the events from the Captain’s Log of the journey that brought Dracula to London. What should have been a horrific tale of Dracula stalking his prey in the night, ends up a dull snoozefest that peaks far too soon due to multiple close up shots of the vampire’s face, causing him to lose any edge and suspense he might hold over the audience.

Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The Last Voyage of the Demeter would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in both unions.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter movie review

(from left) Wojchek (David Dastmalchian), Abrams (Chris Walley) and Clemens (Corey Hawkins) in The Last Voyage of the Demeter, directed by André Øvredal.

Let’s start with the positive aspects of The Last Voyage of the Demeter. It starts off intriguing. We all know that Dracula is in one of the mysterious boxes being loaded onto the ship, and we all know he is about to absolutely destroy and terrify those that are on board. The problem lies in that the film doesn’t lean into this suspense and intensity for very long — however it is there at the start, and that works. 

There are some stunning visuals, although grotesque at times. One close up shot of a throat dripping blood after Dracula has just feasted is gorgeous, in a gross way, and looks very real. Full body reveals, and even close up shots of his face look amazing, the problem lies in that we see them too much.

Story wise, things move quite slowly, but the last five minutes make for a great ending, that will have viewers questioning why that wasn’t the big reveal — it certainly would have kept things more entertaining along the way.

When it comes to the acting, there are some true standout that did their best with what they were given. Corey Hawkins as Clemens, a doctor who joins the Demeter crew, Liam Cunningham as the ship’s captain and David Dastmalchian as the Demeter’s first mate all deliver performances that will help the audience get through this struggle of a film. They tried, they really tried, and that is all we can ask for.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter movie review

Easily the biggest issue with The Last Voyage of the Demeter is that we see Dracula early on, and then continuously after that. He starts off seemingly weak and frail, which hurts the movie because now we aren’t all that scared of him, are we?

Of course he gets stronger and scarier as time goes on, but the way we keep seeing him, from far away but also close up, allows us to get over the shock of it all very quickly. By the time we get the full body shot, which should be terrifying, it is like ok, yeah, whatever, there he is again. Showing the monster too much, always takes away from the suspense of it all.

It also doesn’t help that the story itself moves quite slowly for the first hour and a half. It takes place on a ship, in the middle of the ocean, and mostly on dark, stormy, dreary nights. This can be tiring for anyone watching, and gets exhausting quickly. The final twenty to thirty minutes delivers some great action, but by then, most viewers will be too tired to care.

On top of all that, they kill off the characters you care about too quickly. Every time you get to know someone, they are gone. At least for the most part. This can be frustrating as a viewer because you don’t have that many people that you care to root for.  

The Last Voyage of the Demeter movie review

Overall Thoughts

Because of the nature of The Last Voyage of the Demeter, it perhaps would have worked better as a short film. Nearly two hours, to span a couple of weeks, most of which take place on dark and dreary nights, makes for a dull and tiring movie.

Revealing far too much of Dracula, starting too early on, was a big part of the downfall. Creature films always work best when they are not seen often, keeping the audience on their toes and things suspenseful. Getting a close up look at the vampire’s face, over and over, starts to take away the scariness of him. 

That said, the acting was great and there were some stunning visuals. Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian clearly put their all into these performances, but that couldn’t make The Last Voyage of the Demeter any less dull.

Unfortunately this one falls flat on many levels. But if you love Dracula and want to get a look at this part of his story, it is in theaters now. But if you are hoping to be scared and entertained, this might not be the one for you.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

NEXT: Meg 2: The Trench: Is It A Little Too Ridiculous?

The Last Voyage of the Demeter movie poster

About The Last Voyage of the Demeter

Based on a single chilling chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, The Last Voyage of the Demeter tells 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 Last Voyage of the Demeter comes to theaters August 11th.