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Perhaps It’s Best Not to Book Passage on the Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Last Voyage of the Demeter Movie PosterAlthough The Last Voyage of the Demeter has set sail, away from theatrical screenings, hopefully it’s eventual home video release will do better to help make Warner Bros. think this release isn’t doomed to failure. This expansion of the material presented in Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, is an effective horror film. Plus, not only does this take offer a lot more story than the eight pages featured in the book but also expands on it!

Here, horror fans are treated to a two hour film (which equates to approximately 120 leaflets). Also, instead of seeing a group of five navigate the stormy seas, the crew has become eight! Although one individual was unnamed, the others include first mate Wojcheck (David Dastmalchian, a character created for this movie), Olgaren (Stefan Kapicic), Abrams/Abramoff (Chris Walley) and Petrofsky (Nikolai Nikolaeff).

I’d have to rewatch this film again to double check who was second in command and served the food. In charge of this brigade is Captain Eliot (Liam Cunningham). In regards to who’s new are Doctor Clemens (Corey Hawkins) seeking passage to London, a stowaway going by the name of Anna (Aisling Franciosi), and the cabin boy Toby (Woody Norman) who also happens to be the captain’s grandson.

What’s presented is worthy to reboot Universal Studios’ Dark Universe in the Victorian age. I always felt the problem with the 2017 film, The Mummy, is that Tom Cruise wanted it to be “his” movie. As a result, his ego destroyed the studio’s plans to bring the classic universal monsters back to life. Thankfully, the world created by director André Øvredal (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) connects fans to what made the early films truly classic. From giving us Dracula as imagined from the German film Nosferatu to honouring the Hammer Films formula, I’m sure Universal Pictures has no qualms regarding where he’s getting inspiration from. Not only does this film create new characters to lead the charge, but also suggests there were other stories outside what’s known.

The sense of dread is foreshadowed when a few boatmen being recruited say they do not want a job on the Demeter. They knew that, after seeing the cargo, that it’s not a good day to be seeking out work. Although no one is meant to survive, just who lives is of no surprise. Unfortunately, box office dollars speak more than home video sales, but I’ll be looking forward to that release to learn more about what storytellers Bragi Schut Jr. and Zak Olkewicz were going for.

Øvredal certainly used everything in his playbook, and while half of it is effective, my only problem with the film was in developing the paranoia at a proper pace. He needs to be better at hiding who would survive. Afterwards, that person can form a bureau of paranormal investigation, and invite Doctor Jekyll and Frankenstein (well, a relative of) to become part of the club. As for Van Helsing, he can be turned director since he was successful at dealing with Dracula.

It’s tough to tease at the fact there’s evil on the ship, and nobody’s thought of checking the cargo. Had the crew truly decided to investigate than accept the strange happenings, they’d be able to figure out what they’re hauling is causing all this problem. Instead, they just hope they can make it to England. Just where the boat landed is at Whitby, and I’m honestly still puzzled at the fact this film and the novel never explained how they went extremely off course. They left Bulgaria, crossed Gibraltar, navigated north towards London, and passed the mouth of River Thames! If we were to follow the log book, the captain had a few days of clear sailing to chart the boat’s position! But alas that mystery will remain as such. Not even Stoker wanted to explain it and simply alluded to the fact Dracula planned on diverting the ship. Since it crashed away from a big city, he could feast without authorities taking notice.

Anyone who knows the book in and out will know how the course of events must go. What this film does is at least fill in a few blanks and set up a different direction for vampire hunter enthusiasts. While Dr. Van Helsing is often regarded as older, he’ll have to train someone to keep the crusade going, and this work helps set up the right motivations to introduce…..

4 Stars out of 5

The Last Voyage of the Demeter Trailer

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