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voyage of the demeter

★★★

starring: Aisling Franciosi, corey hawkins, liam cunningham, and David Dastmalchian

REVIEWER: lyall carter

Dracula's unholy presence dooms the crew of the merchant ship Demeter as it sails from Carpathia to London.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter was directed by André Øvredal (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) and is an adaptation of a chapter from Bram Stoker's novel “Dracula”, exploring the terrible ordeal the crew of the Demeter experienced on a doomed last voyage.

 

Captain Elliot (Liam Cunningham, Game Of Thrones) has accepted a well paying charter to carry a load from Transylvania, and tasks his first mate Wojchek (David Dastmalchian,  Dune; The Suicide Squad) with assembling a crew. Amongst the salty seafaring men chosen is the erudite and capable doctor Clemens (Corey Hawkins, In the Heights) and unbeknownst to the captain and crew, the stowaway Anna (Aisling Franciosi, The Nightingale). After Anna is revealed to the crew, well into their voyage, strange occurrences start to happen. An increasingly terrified crew blame her for bringing bad luck to the ship, due to the growing body of evidence that evil has taken a firm hold on the Demeter.

 

The Last Voyage of the Demeter builds its tense and stifling atmosphere well; with impressive set design giving life to the Demeter, especially in combination with the misty atmospherics that arise when Dracula is skulking around in the shadows. The idea of a crew of a grand old ship at the mercy of a hungry, toying Dracula is a great premise, and if done right it should follow in the footsteps of Alien. However, The Last Voyage of the Demeter squanders its advantage by not providing enough effective scares, revealing too much of its villain, and not giving its audience enough of a reason to feel for the larger crew of the Demeter.

 

Corey Hawkins does a great job in the lead, bringing the audience along into the notion that the crew could actually escape their tormentor, despite the realities of the mode of transport they all share. Aisling Franciosi, Dastmalchian and Liam Cunningham are also of great value, doing what they can with the script.

 

The pacing of Voyage starts briskly but unfortunately the middle sags somewhat, spoiling a strong start and its sense of focus. It also seems that Dracula’s creature design may be a bit hit-or-miss, depending on individual preference. 

 

The Last Voyage of the Demeter has a brilliant premise, that unfortunately isn’t fully realised. However, strong production design and compelling performances from Corey Hawkins and Aisling Franciosi help bring the ship into port.

★★★

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