The Last Voyage of the Demeter is a 2023 American supernatural horror film directed by André Øvredal and written by Bragi F. Schut Jr. and Zak Olkewicz. It is an adaptation of “The Captain’s Log”, a chapter from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The film stars Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian. Its plot follows the doomed crew of the merchant ship Demeter led by Captain Elliot (Cunningham) who attempt to survive the treacherous ocean voyage from Transylvania to London while being stalked by a legendary vampire known as Dracula (Javier Botet). (Wikipedia)
S P O I L E R S
The Last Voyage of the Demeter is essentially a prequel to the classic Dracula story, and that is its main problem. How do you sustain engagement in a story where all the outcomes are pre-determined, more or less. For example, we know that Dracula will end up in London and thus, the quest of Captain Elliot and his crew to survive will inevitably end in failure. Which is not inevitably fatal to the success of this film but it does present a monumental challenge to the film-makers.
Thus, the key question is whether the doomed characters can be made interesting enough to gain the empathy of the audience. Now, it may be argued that the main character of the film is well, Dracula himself. After all, Dracula is the character that provides the narrative drive throughout the film, the actual protagonist. By the same token, the Black doctor Clemens, by saving the unwitting stowaway Anna, deprived Dracula of his food, and thus necessitated coming out of the dark belly of the ship, to hunt and feed.
In the final analysis, The Last Voyage of the Demeter is essential viewing for all horror buffs, the production values are high, and the creature design is excellent. Though one might quibble about the story engagement, we believe that the aforementioned attributes make this a recommended film!
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