It’s a new take on an iconic horror character, but does ‘Dracula: Last Voyage of the Demeter’ live up to expectations?
The answer to that question for the most part is no, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie – it just doesn’t feel like a great ‘Dracula’ movie.
Based on a single chilling chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, ‘Dracula: Last Voyage of the Demeter’ tells the story of the merchant ship Demeter, which was tasked with chartering some ominous coffin-sized ‘private cargo’ to London.
Doomed from the moment they set out on their journey, the crew face a series of strange events that can’t be explained while aboard, but the tension doesn’t truly get taken up a notch until a catatonic stowaway (played by Aisling Franciosi) is discovered on-board.
From there, it’s a fight for the characters to survive each night as they are stalked by a demonic looking ‘Dracula’.
The heart of the film is Clemens, a British doctor played by Corey Hawkins who, despite being an outsider to the rest of the crew, befriends young cabin boy Toby (Woody Norman) at the start of their voyage.
It’s Toby who takes centre-stage in probably one of the best and most stressful sequences in the movie. If only the rest of the film could deliver the same amount of intensity.
One of the things the movie does do really well is the appearance of Dracula himself. The first few times he appears on screen, it’s only through a quick shot to his claws or shadows on the wall. The suspense makes it all the more frightening when he does finally arrive in his full monstrous form, albeit a bit too early on in the movie.
Ultimately, this version of ‘Dracula’ is not just another attractive, more-man-than-monster vampire story: it’s a gothic horror film about a beast that enjoys hunting its prey for fun just as much as it loves draining them of blood.
Adding to the terror of course is that it takes place almost entirely on a boat in the middle of the ocean. There’s nowhere for the characters to flee to, no knowledge of what vampires are, how to kill them and no-one to contact for back-up.
But at the end of the day there are very few legendry characters who hold as much weight as Dracula when it comes to the horror genre, and it’s always going to be a struggle to live up to Bram Stoker’s legacy – something that’s evident in ‘Dracula: Last Voyage of the Demeter’.
Despite this, the jump-scares and ominous atmosphere still make for an enjoyable movie, just not a particularly memorable one.
See this movie at Hoyts Penrith.
Ellie Busby is a news reporter for Western Sydney Publishing Group. A graduate of the University of Hertfordshire and Western Sydney University, she is a journalism Major. Ellie has worked with Universal Media, The Cova Project and for a range of other projects.