The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

A handsomely mounted but ultimately tame and toothless take on the Dracula story



Germany, India
Fantasy, Horror
Adam Shaw, Aisling Franciosi, Chris Walley
119 min


Having Jon Jon Briones play a devoutly religious cook who does NOT want to stick around to fight the supernatural being is the strongest Filipino representation I've ever seen in a Hollywood film.

What it's about

While sailing to London, the crew of a merchant ship are stalked by a bloodthirsty creature that found its way on board.

The take

It's a pretty nifty idea to expand on just one section of Bram Stoker's Dracula that's essentially just a footnote but implies something much more violent and horrific. And to its credit, The Last Voyage of the Demeter takes this sliver of the source material very seriously—with strong, period-specific production design and a cast that brings humanity and morality to their otherwise two-dimensional characters. Unfortunately, the film just doesn't know what to do with itself. As a creature feature, the thrills are uninspired and difficult to see properly on screen; as a supposedly character-driven horror movie, it only ever gestures toward deeper ideas but fails to give the tragic nature of its story any weight. And Dracula himself has none of the terror or the sophistication that has made him such an enduring figure throughout all of fiction. He's just a thing with wings.

What stands out

Perhaps in other hands, this movie would have fared better and would have been able to become a worthwhile survival story in its own right. (Think Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but for gothic fiction.) Because the cast really does give this script their all, with confident turns from the likes of Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham, and the rest of the Demeter crew. But perhaps most impressive—and once again showing his range as a character actor—is David Dastmalchian, speaking in an accent that makes him sound unrecognizable from his previous work, but retaining that same desperation that marks his most memorable characters.


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