But is any of this scary? I’d argue “Alien” is one of the scariest movies ever made; a nightmare dripping in dread. “Demeter” can make no such claims. The design of Dracula here is effectively gnarly — kind of like Gollum meets the subterranean creatures from “The Descent” — and several of the stalk-and-kill sequences might give you the creeps. But “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” is so slight that it becomes difficult to get invested in the horror of it all. Despite the best efforts of the actors, it’s very hard to care about any of these characters. And when we don’t care about a character, it’s hard to make us interested in their potential demise. I’m not saying you’ll be actively rooting for these people to get Drac attacked, but you won’t care much about their fates either way.
And yet, “Demeter” is a mostly effective monster movie. Its simplicity will be a feature for some, not a bug. I’m a fan of all things Dracula, and went into “Demeter” hoping for a fresh take on the character and his machinations. But the film diminishes Dracula ever-so-slightly; turns him into a primal, creeping monster, not the cold, calculating mastermind as portrayed in so many books and movies.
It also doesn’t help that by adapting a specific chapter of a book, “Demeter” doesn’t have much of a conclusion. The filmmakers could’ve either jettisoned Stoker’s book and given the film a definitive finale, or they could journey wherever the source material took them. They chose the latter, and I can’t help but think that’s a mistake. This is not the end of Dracula, just the beginning. And unless we’re suddenly given a “Second to Last Voyage of the Demeter” sequel, the story ends here, on a weak note. But maybe that won’t matter to you. Maybe you just want to watch Dracula bite and slash his way through a cast of characters against the backdrop of stormy seas. If that’s what you’re looking for, “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” will give you plenty to sink your teeth into. I don’t know if I’d call this a memorable take on Dracula, but as a simple little monster movie with plenty of atmospherre, it does the trick.
/Film Rating: 6 out of 10