A Nightmarish Vision of Dracula: The Last Voyage of the Demeter

A Nightmarish Vision of Dracula: The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter (DreamWorks/Universal Pictures)

A doomed ship and a doomed crew: The Last Voyage of the Demeter. Rated R – Bloody Violence.

Bloody great film! I watched this film while recuperating from another back procedure in December. The movie stars Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworthy from Game of Thrones), and Corey Hawkins (Heath, from The Walking Dead.) This film is well acted by a superb cast, masterfully directed by André Øvredal, with an excellent script written by Bragi F. Schut Jr and Zak Olkewicz, and a nice soundtrack by Bear McCreary, who’s worked on a lot of theatrical films and television shows, including The Walking Dead.

The combination of CGI and practical special FX works quite well, too. And an incredibly skinny actor named Javier Botet is perfectly cast as Count Dracula, who is depicted here as an ancient, malnourished, emaciated inhuman creature; the more he feeds, the more he “evolves” and grows stronger.

Javier Botet as Dracula in The Last Voyage of the Demeter

In this incarnation, Dracula resembles an unholy cross between Max Shrek from the original, silent Nosferatu, and the devil-like bat creature Gary Oldman appeared as in one scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

This film is based on the Captain’s Log from Stoker’s novel, which has never been cinematically told in its entirety before. There’s a lot of character-oriented drama, which tells the full story of Dracula’s voyage to London, where those 50 crates filled with Transylvania soil are bound for Carfax Abby, and how the Demeter ran aground off the coast of Whitby, England during a storm: a derelict ship with all hands (supposedly, in this film) dead.

It’s one helluva of a nightmarish vision of what happened during that voyage, and how Dracula fed on the ship’s crew in order to survive. He kills some, plays with others, and keeps one or two alive as a source of constant nourishment. This is based on Chapter 7 – The Captain’s Log – in Stoker’s novel.

There’s a real sense of dread and doom in this film, and a particular sadness, too, involving the captain’s young grandson, plus a young girl Dracula brought aboard ship in one of those 50 crates of soil from his native Transylvania. Of course, you all know the story, so it should come as no spoiler that Dracule also hides in one of those crates.

Bloody is the right word for this new take on Bram Stoker’s immortal novel. No gentlemanly, romantic nips on the neck in this film. No, Dracula is a demonic and vicious animal, a savage predator, and the scenes showing how he feeds are more brutal and bestial than even the vampires in 30 Days of Night.

I liked this film a lot! It had all the drama, tension, emotion and terror that have made the best horror films so memorable. The film has a fitting ending, too, taking place in London where, as well know, Dracula finally reached.

If you missed it at the theater, it’s out on DVD and Blu-ray, and available on Amazon Prime. Probably Netflix, too.

If you like vampires and horror flicks, than this one may be the type of blood you crave.

Joe Bonadonna is the author of the heroic fantasies Mad Shadows—Book One: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser (winner of the 2017 Golden Book Readers’ Choice Award for Fantasy); Mad Shadows — Book Two: The Order of the Serpent; Mad Shadows—Book Three: The Heroes of Echo Gate; the space opera Three Against The Stars and its sequel, the sword and planet space adventure, The MechMen of Canis-9; and the sword & sorcery pirate novel, Waters of Darkness, in collaboration with David C. Smith. With co-writer Erika M Szabo, he penned Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin (winner of the 2017 Golden Books Judge’s Choice Award for Children’s Fantasy), and its sequel, The Power of the Sapphire Wand. His last article for Black Gate was a review of the 2015 film Victor Frankenstein.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Montgomery

Well, I am glad someone enjoyed it. I found it frankly underwhelming by itself.

Joseph P Bonadonna

Thank you, John N’Neil!

Andrew P Weston

Yes, I found it quite entertaining. Nice to see Dracula as an out and out predator for a change. (And hard to kill).

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x