Movie Review: The Last Voyage of the Demeter (Ovredal, 2023)

The Last Voyage of the Demeter
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Movie: The Last Voyage of the Demeter

Production Companies: Dreamworks Pictures, Reliance Entertainment, Storyworks Productions, Studio Babelsberg, Phoenix Pictures, Wise Owl Media

Andre Ovredal

Producers: Bradley J Fischer, Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messner

Scriptwriters: Bragi Schut Jr, Zak Olkewicz

Main Cast: Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, David Dalmalchian

Release Date: August 11th 2023

Running Time: 119 mins

Certificate: 15


Well, that sucked the life out of me…. Ignoring the terrible onslaught of vampire puns to come, The Last Voyage of the Demeter is just so lacklustre. Ironically for a film adapted from a chapter of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula, there’s very little for the audience to sink their teeth into. Unlike the copious amount of people Dracula sinks his teeth into… Anyway, with a possible European release date still rumoured, why not look at the latest attempt to adapt the classic count and his blood lusting ways? So without further ado, I’m going to dissect this blood curdling film.


The Last Voyage of the Demeter is a partial adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, specifically the Captain’s Log chapter which sees the titular character’s journey from Transylvania/Romania to London. It’s here we meet Clemens (Hawkins), a doctor who joins the crew of the Demeter, as they journey across to London. However, when a stowaway girl, Anna (Franciosi), is discovered all hell begins to break loose with livestock and the crew slowly being picked off. What starts as a simple journey to London soon turns into a battle for survival as Clemens and the remaining crew attempt to stop the murderous rampage of the infamous bloodsucking count. 


Pacing Issues in Last Voyage of the Demeter

As mentioned in the introduction, it’s rather ironic for a film about Dracula to have so little for the audience to sink their teeth into. The problem which causes this is how stop-start the film’s pace is. By the end, every scene devolves into a crew member gets attacked at night, dies on deck, crew discovers him in morning and repeat. So while the actual Dracula attack scenes at night are very well done (I’ll touch on that later), the actual lead up to those scenes drag on far too much. And yes I understand that there’s limited ability to do much given the chapter entirely revolves around the crew dying on the boat but still there’s very little done to keep the audience invested.

Also, it doesn’t help that so many of the crew’s deaths are telegraphed by their random exposition beforehand. Just take the Captain who mentions completely out of nowhere that he’s got a young daughter. This catches the audience off guard as it doesn’t generate sympathy: it generates eyerolls as you’ve lazily marked him for death by attempting to make the audience care about his paper thin backstory. It’s just so emotionally draining, ironically….

Dracula scenes in Last Voyage of the Demeter

Now while the majority of the film is either people being killed by Dracula or people talking about people being killed by Dracula, the actual killing scenes are easily the highlight. But then again that’s like saying the gold in the s**t is the highlight. Yeah you don’t say…. Just take the cinematography used. Especially during the scene where one of the victims attempts to scale the mast, the quick pan down to reveal Dracula is chasing him is a very neat touch as it mimics how you would keep checking over your shoulder for a pursuer.

Also, more great examples of the cinematography are how they fake out the audience. While I joke about most of the film being people looking for Dracula, the way the film keeps the audience on edge in the Dracula killing scenes is neat. By panning the camera quickly, again mimicking the audience and character, it keeps both guessing about where the attack is coming from as well as forcing the audience to pay attention. Shame it can’t do the latter more throughout the film. 

Visuals and Score in Last Voyage of the Demeter

I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise the colour palette which really compliments the cinematography nicely. As the dark blues and blacks really help build up the terror that Dracula instils in his victims. So there’s yet more irony as both the audience and the characters get a pretty scene to look at whilst Dracula brutally rips their throats out. On that subject, there’s a surprising amount of bloody scenes in the film which may sound weird but normally most films avoid showing the vampire killing people.

All of this combines for some very good scenes which are alas few and far between because the film uses the idea that sparingly using the monster is the best route. And yes that can work initially but when you’re forcing the audience to endure a constant cycle it can be difficult not to suck the life out of them. But at least the score is pretty great which is understandable given it’s Bear McCreary. Yep the same Bear McCreary who scored the two most recent God of War games. Anyway, the score manages to be haunting and eerie all while building the suspense of the killing scenes. So really he nailed it but it’s a shame the rest of the film fails to dig into the source material more.


To summarise The Last Voyage of the Demeter, this is a pretty boring and mediocre addition to the Dracula mythos. While the actual Dracula scenes are pretty decent, the rest of the film unintentionally sucks the life out of the audience so at least you know it’s a vampire film. Just like the Demeter, any hope of a sequel seems to have sailed its last voyage so at least there’s some positives to associate with this film. 

Overall Rating: 4.5/10 – Below Average

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Severe Violence and Gore, Severe Frightening and Intense Scenes, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking 

Recommendation: No