''The Last Voyage of the Demeter' Review: Dracula Dud Sucks'
Hollywood continues to disappoint with its latest adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," as "The Last Voyage of the Demeter" falls flat.
Bram Stoker's iconic novel "Dracula" was written 126 years ago, and it seems that Hollywood just can't get it right when it comes to adapting this classic tale. In 2023 alone, we've already seen two disappointing attempts at bringing the story to life on the big screen. First, there was the lackluster "Renfield," which tried to inject humor into the narrative but failed to deliver any laughs. Nicolas Cage starred as the count, with Nicholas Hoult playing his mistreated assistant.
Now, we have "The Last Voyage of the Demeter," a new horror film that explores Dracula's not-so-pleasurable cruise to England. Unfortunately, this latest addition to the Dracula canon falls flat and fails to live up to its predecessors.
Directed by André Øvredal, the film is loosely based on the captain's log from Stoker's original novel. The story follows the ill-fated journey of the Demeter, a ship traveling from Bulgaria to Whitby. However, the execution is choppy, and it's clear that the filmmakers took significant liberties with the source material.
It's puzzling why so much time and effort went into a project that ultimately feels uninspired and unengaging. Watching Dracula systematically kill sailors aboard a medium-sized vessel becomes mind-numbingly boring. The lack of an engrossing plot is attempted to be compensated for with excessive gore, but the violence lacks creativity and fails to leave a lasting impact.
"The Last Voyage of the Demeter" also falls short in its attempts to be genuinely frightening. Jump-scares are thrown in haphazardly, but they do little to evoke genuine fear. The decision to transform Dracula into a Gollum-like creature with bat wings and gray skin also feels forced and lacks the thoughtfulness seen in the Netflix series "Midnight Mass."
Rather than being a menacing and captivating character, Dracula comes across as an ugly, soft-spoken, cannibal nudist. While it's understandable that the filmmakers wanted to avoid making him resemble Grandpa Munster, a more fully realized and compelling portrayal would have been more effective in instilling bone-chilling terror.
The cast, including Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian, does their best with the material they are given. However, the characters they portray are underdeveloped and lack depth. The script by Bragi Schut Jr. and Zak Olkewicz fails to give them meaningful motivations, resulting in a cast of cinematic stick figures.
One standout performance comes from Liam Cunningham, who brings a sense of moral authority to his role as Captain Elliot. Fans of his work on "Game of Thrones" will appreciate his presence, but even his talent cannot salvage the overall hollowness of the film.
The characters' blasé attitude towards their perilous situation is confounding and undermines any sense of tension or urgency. It's not until two-thirds into the movie, after several deaths have occurred, that someone finally decides to take action and confront the monster responsible.
To add insult to injury, the film opens with the Demeter already destroyed and washed ashore in England. This revelation offers some solace, as it means that "The Last Voyage of the Demeter" truly lives up to its title and marks the end of this lackluster cinematic journey.
In conclusion, Hollywood's attempts to bring Bram Stoker's "Dracula" to life have been consistently disappointing. "The Last Voyage of the Demeter" is just the latest in a string of failures. Despite the source material's timeless appeal and potential for genuine horror, this film falls short in terms of plot, characterization, and scares. It's time for filmmakers to revisit this classic tale with fresh eyes and a renewed commitment to capturing its essence.