Horror enthusiasts are no strangers to yelling at the screen, “Don’t go in the basement!” However, in “The Last Voyage of the Demeter,” I found myself urging the characters to do the opposite: “Just go below deck and kill him already!” This thrilling film is based on a chapter from Bram Stoker’s novel, “Dracula,” and follows the harrowing journey of a London-bound merchant ship that is plagued by a vampire stowaway.
During the day, the ship is safe, but as darkness falls, the vampire emerges from his makeshift cargo coffin to satisfy his thirst by biting the crew members. The predictable pattern of the vampire’s attacks raises an important question: why doesn’t the crew simply confront him during daylight hours? By doing so, they could have potentially saved the film’s heroic protagonist, Clemens, a great deal of trouble.
The movie begins as Clemens, a British doctor, pleads with Captain Eliot to join the crew of the Demeter. Despite being the only educated person on board, Clemens proves himself to be a skilled deckhand, earning the respect of both the hardened first mate, Wojchek, and the captain’s young grandson, Toby.
However, “The Last Voyage,” directed by André Ovredal, does not allocate much time for character development. Instead, it quickly plunges into a series of predictable and repetitive scenes as Dracula eliminates the crew members one by one. While the script attempts to include feminist themes – with the only female character capable of handling a rifle – and touches on issues of racism, these efforts to modernize the story are largely ineffective, much like the crew’s doomed fate that was predetermined over a century ago.
In conclusion, “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” is a thrilling horror film that draws inspiration from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” While it may lack character depth and innovative storytelling, the film succeeds in creating a suspenseful atmosphere and delivering the expected scares. Although viewers may find themselves frustrated by the crew’s lack of initiative in dealing with the vampire, they will nonetheless be captivated by the relentless terror that unfolds on the ill-fated ship. Rated R for its intense fight scenes and biting horror, this two-hour film is currently playing in theaters.