I am a big Dracula fan. When I heard about a movie being released about the small segment of the book crossing the water to England, I was so excited. There has been a little resurgence of Dracula content recently. Between the movies The Invitation and Renfield. The latter being the most mainstream one for having Nick Cage as Dracula, I mean, yeah obviously it would get more attention than The Invitation did. But anyways.. spoiler warning.
The Last Voyage Of The Demeter is not a fun movie. Which I was happy it didn’t turn out to be cheesy despite the newer trailers for it used the same format of Whale Wars from back-in-the-day. Like, song and everything. Which immediately made me think ‘oh no, this is going to suck’. The atmosphere was pretty decent, though it didn’t give the urgency of their situation much play besides mentioning Dracula was eating one crew mate per night. Also, Anna being stored in one of the crates made me think there were going to be other people stored away. Her village only packed HER as a snack? I don’t know. Felt strange and potentially a plot hole but I’m not sure. (Also, Anna could have turned out to be one of The Brides. That would have been cool. Even The Invitation knew The Brides are great characters.)
This movie breaks a few rules that are pretty risky for a smaller film. For example the dog Huck dies, as well as the live stock they had on board and showed the aftermath. In addition, the on screen death of a child. Technically twice. These scenes I’m sure are effective to some people not used to drama genre, but I felt it did little to shock the dull out of the narrative. Though the scene leading up to the child death was the most intense of the movie, and not because of Dracula! Dracula was honestly the least scary thing in this movie! His ability to turn the crew into murderous ghouls was something I wish they branched more into.
Obviously the main monster/villain is Dracula who appears to be slowly regaining power over the course of the voyage. I loved the monsters design, we love big bats here. However, I did not enjoy how Dracula was portrayed as a character. The audience knows that Dracula is cunning hence why he’s been alive for so long, but here he acts more like a primal force. Rats are mentioned briefly and mist during the climax of the movie made me think we’d be able to finally see his full potential. But he just kind of flies around and kills them all. He also began to speak? Like, pick a vision and stick to it. Is he more sentient or not.
Everybody acted their asses off for this movie. But there is only so much good acting will do to fix bad pacing against a monster the script isn’t sure on how to utilize. This movie is a rental.