It’s disheartening that Universal Pictures — home of our beloved Classic Monsters — has released two box office bombs featuring Dracula within just four months of each other. While Renfield should move on to find the audience it deserves as a cult favorite, the same fate does not await The Last Voyage of the Demeter. No one asked for this adaptation of “The Captain’s Log,” chapter seven of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and absolutely no one will be asking for a follow up, in spite of the tacked on ending setting up the possibility of a sequel.
Captain’s Log – August 6th, 1897: a merchant ship by the name of the Demeter has washed ashore here in dreary old England. Upon inspection, the log of one Captain Elliot (Liam Cunningham) has been discovered. Contained within are entries of madness and despair. After setting sail, with hopes of gaining a bounty for a timely arrival, a young doctor by the name of Clemens (Corey Hawkins) leads the crew in an ill-fated battle against an evil incarnate. A sick stowaway named Anna (Aisling Franciosi) seems to hold the key to their survival against the one and only Dracula (Javier Botet).
Stylishly directed by André Øvredal, and gorgeously filmed by Roman Osin and Tom Stern, there’s only so much they can do with the plodding screenplay from Bragi F. Schut and Zak Olkewicz. What could have been a fun riff on Agatha Christie only winds up playing out exactly as you’d expect. While they think they’re making a twist with the ending, because it contradicts the opening, it just comes off as a sad attempt at franchise building. Considering no one showed up to see it opening weekend, they’re better off waiting for a streaming option. Should look fantastic in 4K on Peacock, which is probably where it would have been better off to begin with.