The Last Voyage of the Demeter Parent Guide
Despite its brooding atmosphere, the movie never gets properly frightening, which is a bit of a downer for a horror flick.
Parent Movie Review
Feeling lucky, Clemens (Corey Hawkins) manages to grab the last available position on the cargo ship Demeter, bound for London. He expects a routine cruise, as does Captain Elliot (Liam Cunningham) and the rest of Demeter’s crew, all of whom eagerly anticipate the substantial bonus offered for delivering their cargo on time. But things soon go awry.
First, all animals aboard ship are brutally killed and torn apart – although each bears an identical bite on the neck. Next, Clemens finds a grievously ill young woman in a damaged container in the hold. Once she awakes, Anna (Aisling Franciosi) immediately warns the disbelieving sailors of a fearsome demon stalking the ship and devouring the crew, a warning which soon comes true. With the distance to London shortening by the day, Demeter might just be able to make it ashore on time – but who will still be alive to collect the bonus?
For those of you who have yet to read Dracula by Bram Stoker, I’m sure this sounds like a vaguely fun little monster movie – which, effectively, it is. It’s also an adaptation of a chapter of Dracula which described the bloodthirsty Count’s voyage from Transylvania to England through excerpts from the deceased Captain’s Log. They must rely on the Log because, by the time Demeter reaches English shores, she’s a derelict. The filmmakers, therefore, have a lot of license with the story: They just need to make sure no one is alive on the ship by the end of the movie.
Mission accomplished in that regard, but I have some other hangups with the movie. The set design and score are excellent, and I was really impressed by the cast – good performances all around, with special kudos to Liam Cunningham and Corey Hawkins. The issue is with the tone. The movie never really gets properly frightening, which is a tough hurdle for a horror movie, and the filmmakers didn’t really plan on including anything else to compensate. Structurally, the movie is basically Alien: The crew of a working ship suddenly confronted with a monster against which they have no defence, and which spends the entirety of the voyage snacking on anyone who happens by. The Last Voyage of the Demeter is at a disadvantage, though, in that no one wandering into a cinema in 1979 knew anything about the xenomorph. Just about everyone knows a good bit about Dracula, so having to sit around while the characters catch up just isn’t all that exciting.
Family audiences are more likely to have a problem with the bloody violence, but you can’t pretend to be surprised. It’s a vampire movie, people, there’s going to be some sauce. For a guy who’s been undead for a couple of centuries, Dracula has quite an appetite. Apart from the grisly mealtimes, though, the film doesn’t have much to be concerned about. There’s far less profanity than any other R-rated film I can recall seeing, and a surprising lack of alcohol on screen for a film set on a ship. There’s also no sexual content or nudity, which makes this a decent starting place for teens looking for a horror movie that isn’t for kids, but which also isn’t going to show them more human anatomy than sex ed class – looking at you, Friday the 13th.Directed by André Øvredal. Starring Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release August 11, 2023. Updated August 11, 2023
Watch the trailer for The Last Voyage of the Demeter
The Last Voyage of the Demeter
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Last Voyage of the Demeter rated R? The Last Voyage of the Demeter is rated R by the MPAA for bloody violence.
Violence: People are slashed and bitten on many occasions. An individual is non-fatally shot several times. Several characters, including a child, are immolated. Several animals are killed. People are also violently flung into hard objects, frequently resulting in injuries – in one case, an open fracture of the leg.
Sexual Content: There is a brief non-graphic reference to brothels and prostitution.
Profanity: There is a single sexual expletive and infrequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are infrequently seen drinking and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated August 11, 2023
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Obviously, fans of this movie should go read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A very different approach to vampirism can be found in Richard Matheon’s novella I Am Legend, which has very little in common with the film of the same name.
Related home video titles:
Other films about Count Dracula himself include, of course, Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula (1931), Renfield, The Invitation, Van Helsing, and Nosferatu. More tales of the bitey undead include Twilight, Day Shift, Night Teeth, Black as Night, Blood Red Sky, Daybreakers, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Vampires Vs. The Bronx, and Blade. This film is very structurally similar to Alien.