Dracula’s Horror Cruise in “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” Lacks Bite

The famous vampire goes on a charming little cruise that includes all meals, albeit the meal as a whole might have benefited from additional content.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter, a film by André vredal, is driven by a frightening power. It isn’t the inherent dangers of being stranded on a boat in the vast wide sea with no way to find assistance. It doesn’t even come from the incredible physique of legendary monster actor Javier Botet, who plays Dracula. Despite all of its potential, something even more awful ends up becoming the experience’s defining characteristic: dullness. It is a banality that kills the terrifying cruelty lying beneath and abandons its people adrift with little signs of help.They give it their all, and Corey Hawkins in particular adds gravity to a long needed starring role. The movie embraces a decent level of gloom. However, the more it is exposed to light, the more it starts to burn and disintegrate in front of you. There are some exciting moments, but the movie wastes a lot of time drifting aimlessly towards its inevitable demise.

The first scene of the movie, which expands on a single chapter of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, shows a boat loading up with an unidentified cargo and asking for extra crew members for the approaching journey. The film frequently raises ominous flags, practically shouting that evil is about to be brought aboard the ship as side characters after side characters bluntly foretell not only the dangers that will consume the story once it sets out but also the frequently tedious repetition in how it explores this.The performers, who play their parts without ever overacting, feel dynamic in a way that the movie itself does not. This is what originally binds this beginning together. Despite having obvious qualities, the perceptive doctor Clemens (Hawkins) is first turned down. However, he finally demonstrates his composure under pressure when he prevents a little child from being crushed.His loyalty to Captain Eliot, played by a delightfully gruff Liam Cunningham of Game of Thrones, and his defence of Toby, played by Woody Norman of the adorable 2021 film C’mon C’mon, earns him passage. Although Eliot’s replacement Wojcheck, portrayed by the consistently charming David Dastmalchian of this year’s The Boogeyman and the upcoming Late Night with the Devil, initially disagreed, he ultimately couldn’t go against his Captain. After setting the scene well, the movie launches on a hesitant descent into a terror whose biggest revelation is how erratic and strangely slow it all is the further it goes on.

The best part of “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” is when Dracula starts to act a little weird.

The movie starts to establish some of its principles after introducing a few other individuals, the most of whom will go into the background until they are offered up to Dracula. Anyone who has even a passing knowledge with vampires will find many of them very conventional, and the movie depends on its surroundings to give a little twist on the concept. We are repeatedly reminded that all of the characters may communicate by hammering on the ship itself, and that the echo will be audible throughout all of its bones, in order to do so.The movie starts to find more fun to get its teeth into when Dracula starts using this information to toy with them and turns it into the deadliest game of knock-knock ever. Not only are the deaths, which are adequately gory even if they lack any sense of tension, but there is also a more lighthearted undertone there. Dracula is not a mindless monster, and it is spooky pleasure to watch him play with his meal.

We see a peek of what may have been a more frightening encounter as the vampire adopts a mocking tone just before ruthlessly slaughtering the crew members. Unfortunately, the movie isn’t all that legitimately spooky, and to give the impression that it is, it frequently resorts to some worn-out techniques. The form of “jump scare” that feels like it has mostly fallen out of use—and with good reason—occurs when a character grips another’s shoulder.The Last Voyage of the Demeter falls towards routine recycling and deflates its dread as a result, whereas other outstanding recent horror films push the visual grammar of how terror may take hold of us. Because it drastically restricts the violence, it is less violent than The Autopsy of Jane Doe but more violent than vredal’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. These can be exuberantly cruel and gooey, pushing the boundaries further than most commercial horror films would, but there is still a limit it won’t break over.

The writing is where this starts to go from being just disappointing to utterly annoying. It is a mistake to treat a character like the enigmatic Anna, played by Aisling Franciosi, who gave one of the greatest performances in recent memory in Jennifer Kent’s breathtaking 2018 film The Nightingale, as little more than a vehicle for exposition. She is a stowaway who, after being discovered by the crew, spends the majority of the movie asleep, which contributes to some of this, but even once she awakens, she isn’t given much to work with. Despite this, Franciosi’s performance on its own is enough to make us pay attention.More startling than many of the more elaborate moments distinguished by their gory spectacle is the first time she speaks and we can sense the terror in her eyes. Despite being unjustified due to how carelessly her character was written, some of her last sequences that are reminiscent of the television series Midnight Mass are elevated by how outstanding of a performer she is. She is handed a thankless role, but someway manages to go above it just enough to highlight how much more it could have been.One can only speculate as to what she may have done with a character that had several dimensions and how it might have given the movie more emotional depth. Instead, we repeatedly see scenes in which the protagonists attempt to make sense of what is occurring in front of them, which eventually becomes tedious rather than exciting.

The sails of “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” could have used more wind.

By the time we reach the conclusion, much of what came before the final showdown has already been undermined. Without giving away the plot, there is one crucial aspect that, had it been held back for a little longer in the movie, would have been much scarier. Rather, we are one step ahead of the protagonists and do not feel the same level of dread that they do when death descends upon them. The film’s description as a “Alien-style horror film” may be accurate in theory, but the execution falls well short of that.The experience simply lacks a core sense of power, which renders the closing hint at what appears to be a future sequel stupid rather than menacing. Despite all of Botet and company’s efforts, the film’s central theme is the death—not just of its characters but also of creation itself.

  • The dullness of The Last Voyage of the Demeter saps the vitality from its nightmare plot and leaves the actors stuck without guidance.
  • The movie occasionally succeeds in creating tension and thrills, but overall it is irregular and strangely slow.
  • Despite excellent performances, the screenplay falls short in terms of giving characters like Aisling Franciosi’s Anna the emotional depth they require.

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