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"Last Voyage of the Demeter": A Movie Review


LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER


Blurb:  The doomed crew of the merchant ship Demeter, led by Captain Elliot, sailing from Varna (Bulgaria) by the Black Sea to England, find that they are being stalked by a very dangerous cargo.


Starring: 

Liam Cunningham

Corey Hawkins

Javier Botet

Aisling Franciosi

David Dastmalchian

Woody Norman

Directed by:  

André Øvredal

Written by: 

Bragi F. Schut Jr. and Zak Olkewicz

Adapted from "The Captain's Log" chapter from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker


BEN'S REVIEW:  


Be forewarned before you read another word. There is no way I can possibly review this film without there being what would be considered a major spoiler, although I knew simply by watching the trailer what was going to happen by the film's ending. I read the book by Bram Stoker, Dracula, and the moment I saw the word Demeter on the side of the ship what this movie was about. Anyone who has seen any movie that comes close to properly adapting the book knows as well. Why it is in the very description of the film: Doomed.


"We're a doomed crew, Mr. Clemens. On the doom ship. We no longer plot our course. The devil below does. And we all know where he plans to deliver us. To hell, Mr. Clemens. Each of us, one by one."


Yes, anyone who has ever read the book or seen a film version that shows how Dracula gets to England knows that the Demeter runs aground, most of the crew missing, and the rest torn up. So how daring to tell that tale, which is derived from Chapter 7: LOG OF THE “DEMETER” Varna to Whitby.


You must be prepared for the fact that everybody dies. Right?


So even though I knew that all the characters, full-fledged, real characters, people that I came to really like, each and every one well-acted through a great cast, I was able to forget where the story was inevitably going. I knew how the film had to end, but I was still sucked in (you should excuse the expression) and really enjoyed this take on the famous Dracula story. And writers Bragi F. Schut Jr. and Zak Olkewicz, and director André Øvredal could teach Peter Jackson how to stretch out a small story and make it big without feeling "sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread," * which is how I feel about The Hobbit movies.


Liam Cunningham was wonderful as Captain Eliot, but then Mr. Cunningham is always good. I loved him in HBO's Game of Thrones. And Corey Hawkins even better as Mr. Clemens, or more accurately Dr. Clemens, one of the first black men to go to University of Cambridge, yet the color of his skin prevents him from being able to find a position anywhere. It is in the pursuit of finding a way back to England, that he chooses the wrong transportation.


Soon they find who they think is a stowaway, but instead was food that the creature below decks brought to help him hold out until he reached London. When the crew finds her, that takes away his sustenance.


But is that what makes him begin stalking the crew one by one? Or had he always intended to ration them out, one a night, until the Demeter docks?


This movie is beautifully shot, and the creature (Dracula?) is well done. My only confusion as to why the director chose to make our villain a bat-like creature instead of a man who could shape-shift into the fantastically well-done monster. How will Dracula pass as human? How will he acquire Carfax Abby? There is no mention of Jonathan Harker, and if he was the cause of Dracula's desire to leave Transylvania. But there is no stopping him from finding his Renfield to do his dirty-work, is there?


I loved how this movie was paced, I was never bored, the story was never rushed as the crew was picked off one by one, and even though most of the film was grey and dark and even sepia-blue toned, I thought it was gorgeous.


I am very biased when it comes to vampire movies and TV shows, very hard to please, as I am a huge vampire fan and I will be getting a copy of this movie for my collection. I have to believe that vampires are real while I am watching the movie. To maybe give you an idea, my favorite vampire movies or series would include: The Hunger, The Night Stalker, 30 Days of Night, Shadow of the Vampire, Blade (only the first one made me really believe vampires are real), Fright Night (the second version, sorry if you prefer the campy first one, remember, I said I need to believe and Colin Farrell scared the crap out of me), From Dusk Till Dawn, Only Lovers Left Alive (Wow!), Interview with the Vampire, Let the Right One In, Let Me In (the American version of Let the Right One In, a remake that is shockingly just as good as the foreign version), Near Dark, The Forsaken, Byzantium, and finally, of course, the 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi and the 1958 Dracula starring Christopher Lee (the final two a little corny here and there, by the stars were so good I just don't care). I am sure I've missed a few. Do you have favorites I've missed?


I could say more but this could already be considered one spoiler after another. Just go see this movie! It's free on Paramount+ right now! Enjoy!


SPOILERS!!!


For those of you who don't mind being spoiled.... Mr. Clemens survives and makes it to England. However, one night at a pub, he encounters Dracula, dressed as a human, and hiding his face under the shadows of a hat. He brushes our hero as he leaves, as if daring Clemens to come after him. And go after him he does, swearing to rid the world of the evil creature.


BEN'S RATING:  ☕☕☕☕☕☕ X X X


SYNOPSIS:

Warning: The following is a complete synopsis of the movie. It's nothing but spoilers. Read at your own risk!


On August 6, 1897, the merchant ship Demeter washes ashore in England. Among the wreckage found by the police is the log kept by her captain, Eliot.


One month earlier, the Demeter makes port in Varna, Bulgaria, to pick up cargo for transportation to London. The shipment, consisting of multiple large wooden crates, is transported by locals from Romania. However, the locals refuse to load the cargo onto the ship, insisting that they must leave the area before sundown. One of them hands the quartermaster, Wojchek, and another crewman, Olgaren, a large sum of money and wishes the Demeter a safe voyage before departing with the others.


Clemens, a doctor educated at the University of Cambridge, overhears that the ship is looking for crewmen. He attempts to convince the crew that his medical skills and knowledge of astronomy would make him a valuable asset to them. Wojchek rejects him and hires an older man instead, but while helping to load one of the crates, the new hire – frightened upon recognizing the dragon emblem on its shorter side – accidentally releases the tackle rope, causing the crate to fall. Clemens witnesses the accident and saves Eliot's grandson, Toby, from being crushed by the loose crate. The new hire declares the dragon emblem a bad omen and leaves; out of gratitude for Clemens' intervention, Eliot hires him as a replacement.


One of the crates falls and breaks open in the cargo hold. Clemens investigates and finds a woman buried in dirt inside. She is barely alive, and he performs blood transfusions on her to treat what he believes to be an infection. Later in the Aegean Sea, Clemens and Olgaren see a mysterious figure in the fog on deck.


The next night, all the animals aboard the ship are killed, including the ship's dog, Huckleberry. The crew, fearing a rabies outbreak, throws them all overboard. Anna, the secret stowaway, wakes up and warns them about a monster from Transylvania, a creature that feeds on the blood of humans. In her town they called it Dracula, to whom she was given as a slave of blood so that the monster would leave them alone. She claims that Dracula is already aboard the ship and looking to feed, revealing several bites on her body.


Dracula hunts the crew during the night, biting Olgaren and turning him into a vampiric thrall. Olgaren is temporarily restrained, tied to a table; he breaks free, and, seeing Toby in the hold, begins hunting the boy and traps him in the captain's quarters, along with Dracula. As the crew attempts to save him, Toby is bitten by Dracula. The next morning, the vampiric Olgaren, who had been tied to the mast by the crew, bursts into flames as the sun rises. Despite blood transfusions from his grandfather, Toby dies, and is wrapped in parts of the sailcloth for his sea-burial. During the funeral, the captain believes he sees Toby moving; he unwraps him, only for Toby to suddenly attack. The vampiric Toby catches fire in the sunlight (also severely burning his grandfather) before Clemens is able to throw him into the ocean.


The remaining crew want to destroy the ship and drown Dracula to prevent him from causing chaos once they reach London. Captain Eliot, Abrams, and Wojchek are killed by Dracula, and Anna is bitten during an attempt to save Clemens. Clemens rescues Anna by hitting Dracula with an axe, and Anna manages to crush Dracula with a part of the mast. Anna and Clemens jump ship, thinking the vampire is dead; before sinking, the ship ends up running aground on the British coast, enabling Dracula to push the mast off of his body, roaring in victory.


Anna and Clemens float away on debris, and she reveals to Clemens that she is becoming a vampire after Dracula's bite; Clemens' blood transfusions only delay the change. As the day dawns, and not wanting to become a monster, Anna willingly immolates herself in the sunrise as Clemens drifts ashore.


Arriving in London, Clemens goes to a local tavern where he draws Anna's portrait in his notebook. He hears the knocking signal from the Demeter's crew of "all clear", and then sees Dracula, dressed as an aristocrat, laughing at him; the vampire disappears. Leaving the pub, Clemens sees Dracula's shadow and follows him; he vows, for the memory and honour of his dead companions, that he will kill Dracula and send him back to Hell.**



* J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring



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4 comentários


Joe Fiesel
Joe Fiesel
21 de fev.

Yeah from what I saw this move told a prequel better then the hobbit which so did not need to be three movies

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I loved "Only Lovers Left Alive". Marj

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B.g. Thomas
B.g. Thomas
21 de fev.
Respondendo a

Isn't it fantastic??

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Will Jones
Will Jones
12 de fev.

I'm happy you finally got to see it! I loved it and think Tim did as well. The atmosphere was just right.

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