The Last Voyage of the Demeter, directed by André Øvredal.

Put horror in the confines of a sailing ship and the terror looks a bit more real. What also helps The Last Voyage of the Demeter is the special effects, costuming, sets and cinematography that are stellar and creepy. The tight shots of the blood feasting monster Dracula are filmed in darken parts of the ship, so you will have to let your imagination take over at times.

It’s the late 1800’s and as the story begins we see a wagon train delivering boxes to be loaded on the ship Demeter docked in Romania. The cargo is to be transported to England where those that have paid for the shipping have offered a bonus to the crew if delivered ahead of time. It takes weeks to travel by sailing ship and the Demeter has had its day with worn sails, so any disturbances can be deadly. So begins the trek across open waters.

THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER directed by André Øvredal.

As the Demeter sails on there are some disturbances in the lower galley and cargo area. When one of the crew finds the livestock slaughtered, most everyone on the ship becomes suspect. Director Andre Ovredal is no stranger to horror thrillers having success with the film Mortal, and here he is on the top of his game with excellent depiction to the monster Dracula, the filming of the rugged ship, and using variable lighting for the night scenes to make the movie work.

(from left) Clemens (Corey Hawkins) and Anna (Aisling Franciosi) in The Last Voyage of the Demeter, directed by André Øvredal.

That said, Ovredal had to make the movie completely different than any of the many films about Dracula over the years. While the tale is a good enlightening about using a ship, the low fear factor, predictability and lack of sudden shock were downers. What is starting to get unwise in movies today is the showing of a scene at the beginning of the story that will happen later on in the film. It’s to warm the audience up to characters or in this case the gravity of the evil that’s on board the ship. While it does work sometimes in motion pictures, in this production it gives away too much of the twist and surprise.

Leading the cast is Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, BlacKkKlansman) with an excellent performance as the doctor on board who has many face-offs with the Monster. As Clemens, his agility gets him out of harm’s way, but Dracula’s powers are very strong. He must find a way to defeat the monster, and save the crew. Hawkins does a convincing job and is the important thread that makes the film work.

Javier Botet as Nosferatu in The Last Voyage of the Demeter, directed by André Øvredal.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter has been rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence. It also has some undesirable language and brutality. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children to see the film as it does have some scenes that are inappropriate for youngsters

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franicosi, Liam Cunningham, Chris Walley, Nikolai Nikolaeff, Woody Norman, Javier Botet
Directed: Andre Ovredal
Written by: Bram Stoker
Genre: Horror, Thriller
MPAA Rating: Rated R for bloody violence
Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.
Opening Date: August 11, 2023
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Released in: Theaters

Writer, critic, film editor John Delia, Sr. has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 20 years and other publications for a total of 40 years. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com