Horror logo

The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)- A Film Review

A spine-chilling tale based on a singular chapter of Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula hits the big screen

By Taylor BitzPublished 12 days ago 6 min read
The theatrical poster for The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

WARNING: includes spoilers for The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

Cast: Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham, Aisling Franciosi, Woody Norman, Javier Botet and David Dastmalchian

Directed by: André Øvredal

Runtime: 119 minutes

Rating: R (for those 18 and over, extreme violence and multiple terrifying images)

Release date: August 10, 2023 (Australia)

Dreamworks made this movie? You mean the studio that made Rise of the Guardians... Prince of Egypt - friggin Puss in Boots? I couldn't believe it either when I saw the Dreamworks title sequence roll up on the big screen at last night's showing of The Last Voyage of the Demeter on opening night. All that aside, this movie was everything I'd hoped for and more. As I'm currently studying a gothic horror unit in my Bachelor of Arts degree, and a couple weeks ago we covered the 1897 vampire novel Dracula, by Bram Stoker. Brilliant novel. I've been sucked into vampire lore for a very long time, ever since I started watching The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff, The Originals at least two years ago. This is my first foray into actual vampire horror stories, as the horror genre is not generally my cup of tea. But I absolutely did not regret paying to go see this movie, especially late at night.

The synopsis: A cargo ship called the Demeter is chartered to transport several unknown crates marked with an ominous stamp from Romania (aka. Transylvania) to London. When the ship arrives in London, however, the ship is nearly derelict and devoid of all life. How? No one knows.

The film opens with the crew of the Demeter, including its captain, Captain Elliot (played by the brilliant Liam Cunningham of GoT fame), looking for crew to join them to transport said mysterious crates. They initially pass over considering our main character, a young doctor named Clemens (played by Corey Hawkins), but after Clemens saves the life of the captain's young grandson, Toby, after one of the mysterious crates falls, Elliot recruits him as part of the crew. The ship leaves, but not before an older sailor who was supposed to go on the Demeter eyes one of the crates, taking note of the ominous mark and crying out in shock and terror, exclaiming that the crew of the Demeter, including their new recruit Clemens, are all doomed. They ignore the ramblings and set out on their journey.

For at least the first two nights, all is well. Songs are played, stories are told, and the comraderie is strong. That is - until a mysterious woman (played by Aisling Francoisi) turns up, covered in dirt and barely breathing. Clemens puts his skills as a doctor to use and gives her multiple blood transfusions, as it becomes clear not too much later after they find her that she's lost a lot of blood. It seems as though the woman isn't harmful, and they treat her as a stowaway. At least an evening or two later, both Clemens and one of the crew members see a shadowy figure on deck, but are unable to ascertain what exactly it is. And then the blood and gore begins. In a single night, all the livestock on the Demeter are slain... including Toby's beloved dog, Huckleberry.

A note here: the suspense is done brilliantly. Multiple times I got a nasty jumpscare, and that's the best part about these kinds of movies. You can't get too comfortable while watching them. For the record, I do hate when dogs die in movies, though. It sucks because Huckleberry was so cute.

Anna, as the stowaway is known, finally wakes from her slumber, and reveals that the creature that they've been seeing lately is a monstrous figure that her people call Dracula. She additionally reveals that she was given to the monster as a slave, so that the monster could feed. Several hours later, the creature known as Dracula finally strikes, biting into one of the crew members (one of the crew that first saw him) and he begins the transition to a vampire. The transition is short-lived, however, when the crew members attacks the rest of the crew, but burns in the rising sun. Later, Toby is bitten, and his grandfather is forced to grieve helplessly as the boy dies, then comes alive again, and then burns in the next rising sun after Dracula's subsequent attack.

What happens next is a fight to the death between the remaining members of the crew and the monstrous entity, ending only when the ship runs aground on the shores of London, but not before Dracula claims the lives of the captain, his first mate and the last crew member. Clemens and Anna escape, but the latter is found to have a bite mark from Dracula. I won't spoil what happens to Anna, but I think you can guess based on what happened to the other two of Dracula's victims. Clemens swims to shore in the rising sun of the final part of the Demeter's fated journey.

The final scene is utterly chilling and takes place several days after the Demeter's demise. Clemens is sitting in a London bar, sketching Anna's face in his notebook, when he hears a familiar sound, one that echoed throughout the wooden halls of the Demeter as a way to signal to the crew. Looking towards a dark corner, Clemens' eyes meet an aristocrat sitting in a chair, laughing at him, who audiences will notice is indeed Dracula, who survived the fateful journey of the Demeter, even after having been crushed with the mast of the ship. Clemens follows Dracula away from the bar and down a dark alleyway, vowing to avenge his dead crewmates and kill Dracula by whatever means necessary.

Final notes:

This film is wonderful. Brilliantly executed, and the jumpscares and gory kills are well worth the watch if you're a horror fan. While it does lean into monster films such as Godzilla (2014), it does have that serial killer/stalker feel that you get while watching more generic horror movies such as the Scream franchise. The music adds well to the tension that you feel in certain scenes. It doesn't quite have the emotional gut punch when the characters die, though. I feel as though the film spent too much time leaning on the source material to actually make us attached to its characters.

In its defence, however, the chapter in Bram Stoker's Dracula known as "The Captain's Log" is a rather out of place chapter in and of itself. At least that was my experience while reading Dracula. The only time I actually genuinely felt sad was when the dog died, but never to the point of tears. All criticisms aside, it's a great movie, and well worth a watch when it comes to streaming services or DVD. I'm certainly looking forward to when it releases. It's also great for a fright night film to watch as Halloween draws ever nearer.

As always, please like my stories, comment, and follow me here on Vocal! Also, my new book, 2154: New World, is out on Amazon for Kindle and paperback! It begins shortly after where the first book left off. I'm currently working on the third book at the moment, titled 2158: A Galaxy Away. So far, it's been a rollercoaster at the moment. Link for purchase is below:


I'm currently working on more book ideas, so more to come on that front! Thank you so much!

supernaturalslashermovie reviewmonsterhalloweenfictionCONTENT WARNING

About the Creator

Taylor Bitz

Hi!! My name is Taylor.

I'm big on writing about fanfiction, movies, TV and of course my own original stories (mostly fantasy stories, featuring bad-ass female characters)

My Wattpad profile:


Reader insights

Good effort

You have potential. Keep practicing and don’t give up!

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Alex H Mittelman 12 days ago

    Great review!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.