Bram Stoker’s famed 1897 tome has another rendering on-screen that is more repetitive than thrillingly ghastly. From the studio that showcased Nicolas Cage recently as the notorious Conde Dracula in Renfield. As it takes a while for some of the characters to catch on to the dire happenings.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter comes from ‘The Captain’s Log’ chapter of Dracula as the author knew of Greek Mythology from the fertility goddess as its chief shabby shipping vessel setting.
A well-accoutered production really stands out early on and aboard what has an ‘evil one’ in its cargo besides Transylvania dirt as crates are loaded in. On a grim, gory trip from Romanian to the British shores.
Liam Cunningham offers a wound dignity to Capt. Eliot and David Dastmalchian is his song-time trusted, if bigoted first mate Wojcheck. An ostracized black-skinned Cambridge doctor Clemens (a committed Corey Hawkins of In The Heights becomes important to the storyline. Especially as it concerns as a very ill stowaway Anna (Aisling Franciosi) and Eliot’s grandson Toby (Woody Norman). As for the crew, Jon Jon Briones quite religious cook invites some audience appeal.
Opening up the source with additions like Clemens and Anna with a dark connection might allow for certain visual flourishes from nocturnal attacks after diurnal coffin rest. But, here’s little to surprise from those typical rear jump scares; how the filmmakers deal with Toby may be a bit harsh for unsuspecting folks. Establishing super speed and sunlight exposure disintegration does only so much from a creature inspired perhaps by Mothman, Gollum and the original Nosferatu with much prosthetics and visual effects to spruce it up.
As Demeter teases the possibility of further episodes it’s clear despite the calculate efforts of director Andre overdid and his craftspeople, besides notable urns by Hawkins and Francis that this “Voyage” too often becomes doomed from the onset lurking in the shadows.