Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)
August 11, 2023 2:35 PM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] 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.

Starring Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, David Dastmalchian, Chris Walley, Stefan Kapičić, and Javier Botet.

Directed by André Øvredal. Written by Bragi Schut, Zak Olkewicz, based on a chapter from Dracula by Bram Stoker.

43% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now playing in theaters. JustWatch.
posted by DirtyOldTown (13 comments total)
I wanted to love this, as the original screenplay is famously great (in development for decades), I love the premise, and I love the director and cast.

But this is at least 20 minutes too long, with most of that fat coming in the second quarter of the two hour running time. Literally, there is a half hour of the monster mysteriously killing people one per night, only a) it's not mysterious, we know the exact explanation b) it's very clear each time who will die and c) the kills aren't creative or memorable enough to provide any grim pleasure in seeing people picked off.

It regains some steam in the second half and even though that part could have 5-7 minutes trimmed as well, it's better there.

This ends up a 2.5 or 3 star out of five kind of deal for me.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:38 PM on August 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

I'm inferring from the trailer that the dog dies, yes?
posted by praemunire at 2:42 PM on August 11, 2023

The dog and the child, too. And the rats and the chickens and the...

It's Dracula man, the boat is all dead when it washes up.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:43 PM on August 11, 2023 [7 favorites]

That's what I figured. I thought the dog's presence in the trailer might actually be a form of PSA ("just so you know, it's not only humans and chickens and stuff who're there...") Just wanted to confirm.
posted by praemunire at 4:15 PM on August 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

I've been "re-reading" Dracula via Dracula Daily, which e-mails me portions of the novel according to the dates of the events of the story. The wreck of the Demeter was reported on August 8th. Now that the action has moved to England, things are going to get rough. Not a bad time to subscribe and follow the story (it wraps up the first week of November).
posted by SPrintF at 6:19 PM on August 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

I saw it this afternoon and, more than anything else, was baffled by why on the final day they deliberately planned to wait until night to scuttle the Demeter. By then they already knew Dracula was inactive during the day and likely needed to avoid sunlight (based on the bitten who spontaneously went up in flames).
posted by Pryde at 7:41 PM on August 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

So, it's a pretty standard horror movie setup but Dracula is the final girl?
posted by phooky at 12:20 AM on August 12, 2023 [1 favorite]

Spoilers on the fates of the doomed crew.
Dracula never once felt threatened or in danger from the humans. He was in a somewhat weakened state at the start, but even then was clearly more than a match for an ordinary person. As the movie says, slowly picking people off one by one was more a matter of food rationing for him, mixed with a bit of cruelty, of playing with his food.

The humans never took advantage of the daytime to actively try and locate and destroy him. Granted, it was clear none had knowledge of any traditional vampire lore, but it was evident early on that the killing was always happening at night. They also search his boxes of earth at night, and even find his empty sleeping container, but never return to it in the day. We don't really get to see how vulnerable he truly is or isn't during daytime hours.

A couple of reviewers apparently felt like the ending set up a sequel with Clemens surviving to begin hunting Dracula. He, along with Anna, go overboard and survive adrift at sea clinging to some wreckage until morning. Anna, infected, bursts into flame welcoming the morning sun (knowing that would happen).

We next see Clemens at a London pub at night asking after Carfax Abbey (having gone through documents shipped with the cargo), and also finally having realized that daytime is the best vampire hunting time, wisely saying he'll wait until morning to set out. Obviously if the movie is taken to be staying true to the novel, that seems doomed, and indeed we see that Dracula is also hunting him to tie up loose ends.

Dracula makes his presence known as a taunt (the rapping on the wooden floor to announce himself to Clemens actually being one of the creepier moments of the whole movie), and also that he could easily kill Clemens in the middle of the crowded pub, but then slips away. Clemens then follows him out into the night, apparently having learned nothing after all. So it really didn't feel like there was much hope for him in the end, which was a downer.

If not for that final scene, you could at least have been content in assuming Clemens would be okay, with Dracula becoming others' problem to solve (Van Helsing, the Harkers, and the rest).

posted by Pryde at 9:49 AM on August 12, 2023

What the hell is wrong with vampires? Just pay extra to ship along enough animals to drain during the trip. I'm sure the crew would appreciate the leftover meat and it doesn't draw any negative attention.
posted by mikelieman at 2:19 PM on August 12, 2023 [5 favorites]

Vampires are capitalists. They only notice when they're winning the game, not when it's killing everyone involved.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:39 PM on August 12, 2023 [3 favorites]

I wanted to understand more about how and why the Transylvanian locals made good their deal with Dracula to put him and all his dirt on the ship… in broad daylight. Sun-scorching opportunity missed!
posted by edithkeeler at 3:42 PM on August 16, 2023 [2 favorites]

The people in this movie really never made any effort to think through sunlight as a key advantage/weapon/strategy.

Not at all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:39 AM on August 17, 2023 [2 favorites]

Another person in the camp of "wanted to like this so bad, and felt let down by how dunderheaded everyone was."

I mean:

1. Local people deliver boxes and make a to-do about how they need to GTFO before sundown
2. Another local person, presented as a dog saltier than Lot's wife, sees the dragon crest on the boxes and screams and runs away
3. A woman, imprisoned in one of the boxes, says there's a monster on the ship feeding on them
4. Several people sees a monster that only comes out at night feeding on people, and people he feeds on explode in the sunlight
5. "We've found where he sleeps!"

I don't think the math is hard at this point. I'd've been chucking the boxes overboard at some point between Beardy Man #1 and Child Death.

Also also -- what good is a sophisticated set of latches that unlock the box from the outside for a creature that sleeps inside the box?
posted by Shepherd at 2:54 AM on September 25, 2023 [3 favorites]

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