In the late 19th century, Bram Stoker wrote the fictional horror novel Dracula, which has led to many vampire films to this day. One of the most successful was Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992, which won three Oscars and inspired other filmmakers to make something similar. Dracula: Untold and Renfield were unsuccessful attempts to portray Dracula. These films did not find favour with audiences and the money raised from ticket sales did not meet the expectations of the filmmakers. Recently, however, the film ‘Demeter’s Last Journey’, which is similar in plot and sequence to chapter seven of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, has been released in cinemas. So let’s take a short trip to the sea and look at the key aspects of the film.
Let’s briefly discuss the plot of the film, which takes us to the Demeter and the strange things that happen there. Captain Eliot’s decision to carry 50 crates from the port of Varna to London proves fatal. After agreeing to an unusually high sum and ignoring the warning of one of the mercenaries who refuses to sail the ship because of the dragon emblem on the crates, the ship sets sail anyway on a deadly journey. Doctor Clement, a last-minute boarder, becomes a kind of leader when it comes to making decisions in the fight against the demonic creature named “Dracula” by a girl found in one of the boxes. She tells the story of Dracula’s history and his intentions. A creature that wakes up at night and sucks blood starts to attack all living organisms on board. Animals killed and crew members bitten become a daily reality that must be accepted. Neither guns nor knives can stop the monster, whose bite becomes a deadly thing and the victim’s body simply burns up when the sun goes down.
Finally, as the ship approaches the English coast, the crew makes a final assault and prepares an ambush for the monster. It is decided by consensus to sink the ship to prevent Dracula from reaching the shore. In the end, the rest of the crew put up a final fight, which ends with Clement being the only one to survive and the monster still alive. At the end of the film, intrigue and the possibility of another film in the future is left as Clement sets out to hunt down the monster, which is in London looking for new victims.
The idea for this film dates back decades, but the film itself only started production two years ago. With the agreement of Universal Pictures, the idea became a reality and the film was released in US cinemas on 11 August this year. The film itself is most notable for its suspenseful plot and its fantastic elements, which create intrigue right up to the end of the film, and the unpredictable nature of the events, which keeps the viewer’s eyes on the prize. The script and the course of events are developed in a steady progression that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. The soundtrack helps to create even more tension and a sense of foreboding. The visual elements themselves create an illusion of reality, and the fantastic elements through CGI effects are executed quite well. The film itself is not crammed with a lot of unnecessary fantastical elements, which is a big plus as it creates a greater sense of reality. The portrayal of Dracula was very impressive. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the vampire had human features, whereas in this film it was more like a demon. This representation of Dracula is partly even more impressive and even more frightening for the audience.
However, the most impressive thing is the dialogue between the characters, which is varied and evokes positive emotions. All this is created by a well-chosen cast, with actor Corey Hawkins as the main star. The actor who plays the ship’s doctor is probably best known to many people from The Walking Dead and the film Straight Outta Compton. In this film, the actor showed great acting skills, which were most evident in the dialogue. There are also other great and well-known actors in this film. Liam Cunningham, who is known from the series “Game of Thrones”, played the lead role of Captain Eliot. The second captain of the ship is played by David Dastmalchian, who is known for films such as Prisoners and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The cast did a really good job of embodying their characters.
It is sad that certain characters in the film have somewhat disappeared from the overall picture and have been relegated to the background. One can also note the end of the film and the last scene, which seems to hint at a possible sequel. This decision sometimes seems ridiculous, as it depends a lot on the success of the film and the money collected at the box office. If the budget is not raised and the reviews are not positive, the sequel usually does not materialise and the intrigue left at the end of the film is usually like an unfulfilled promise to the audience.
The film’s director, André Øvredal, has previously made a name for himself as a horror filmmaker to considerable acclaim and numerous awards. Films such as The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark have attracted a great deal of attention and have demonstrated the director’s distinctive style. Although this film can be seen in a positive light, there are still some negatives.
Looking at the essential aspects of the film, it can be said that this tautly plotted work is a good rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Vampire lovers should definitely feel and see a very different-looking bloodthirsty monster and fantastic elements that intersect with the horrific plot.