The Last Voyage Of The Demeter doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Does it want to be a slasher horror movie?
How about an Alien-type horror movie on an enclosed ship?
Or maybe it wants to be a ’70s-style Hammer horror flick?
What about a historical sort of drama with some action thrown in for good measure?
It really commits some cardinal sins of horror movies that almost sink the film. Chief among these cardinal sins is that they simply show the monster far too much. We all know what Dracula looks like, whether that’s the Bela Lugosi-Universal Monster-style version or the Nosferatu-style German Expressionist one. The character is the original horror villain. He’s timeless. However, The Last Voyage Of The Demeter shows the monster far too much. They show Dracula so much that someone is about to die by the time you get to the fourth time; it’s just not scary.
It’s a shame because the movie has an absolutely excellent premise. It does something that is really impressive in making and crafting mythology and lore around what amounts to a chapter of the original novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The writers had a task similar to those of Rogue One, in crafting a prequel to an incredibly famous story. We all know that Dracula went from Transylvania to London, but we don’t know the details of it, besides the Captain’s Log from the novel.
The Performances Pick Up The Last Voyage Of The Demeter
Now that all might sound like a horrible movie, but it’s not. For some, it might be a little slow-paced. Things don’t really go at a breakneck horror movie speed here. The performances in the film range from decent to smashing. In the case of the leads, Corey Hawkins absolutely carries the film. His turn as Doctor Clemens saves this film from a slow death. David Dastmalchian might get horror movie MVP for 2023 as well, his presence and performance as Wojchek, the first mate of the Demeter, goes a long way in the film. Liam Cunningham as Captain Elliot, might seem like the hero of this story, but he’s more of a side player.
Also, even if the audience sees Dracula far too often, Javier Botet is awesome as the villain. He’s got some truly creepy mannerisms and movements. As for the rest of the cast, some just don’t get enough from the script to stand out. Aisling Franciosi is an exposition machine, which really affects her performance. She has to tell the crew everything about what Dracula does and why he’s there. It gets exhausting after a while, and really makes you think that they could have just shown this, instead of having her tell the audience.
When The Last Voyage Of The Demeter is scary before you get used to the monster, it’s very scary. It does a great job in the early portions of the movie, building tension and switching it up with the audience. Those first few kills of members of the crew are terrifying. It’s aided by an excellent score by Bear McCreary. His score builds up the tension of each scene, and even when the film gets less scary as it goes on, the simple score helps it go along.
However, the good performances and excellent premise don’t carry The Last Voyage Of The Demeter past some baffling decisions. One such decision is trying to set up a sequel in the closing moments. It’s a moment that comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really fit with the tone of the rest of the film. I get wanting to see if there’s room for a sequel, but it feels more like an action movie ending than a horror movie.
This gets back to the point that The Last Voyage Of The Demeter doesn’t know what it wants to be. The pacing of the film lends itself to something other than a horror movie, clocking in at just under two hours long. If it was a slasher/monster film, you’d want to cut some out of it.
It ends up as just an okay movie that isn’t very scary, shows too much of its monster, and doesn’t do anything besides some of the performances excellently.
For more Reviews, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.