Languishing in development hell for over 20 years, The Last Voyage Of The Demeter is beaten only by The Meg for the length of the journey from first script to screen.
This is one of those movies we were reading about in the heyday of the internet movie community as we skipped from Corona Coming Attractions to Dark Horizons to Cinescape to Ain’t It Cool News to read the same rumors from studio insiders. This was way back, before the studios had the internet movie website landscape completely sewn up and in their pockets via access and “pwesents”.
Well, it is finally here. So how does The Last Voyage Of The Demeter fare with its curious summer release finally here? The news is decidedly mixed, with some clear, blue water opening up between members of the public and professional critics. The audience score is yet to appear on Rotten Tomatoes, but members of Joe Pubic who have seen it are positive.
“The last voyage boasts some of the highest production value you’ll see in a horror movie this year. The score is wonderful & eerier then ever. André Øvredal’s penchant for slow burn immersive horror is on full display here utilising gorgeous sets, some solid performances, brutally gory set pieces and great practical creature effects work.”
Tyler Skeens – Online
“Thank God, Dracula never becomes a ridiculous handsome ladies man with fashionable neck ruffles and great hair! In this movie he remains at all times an ugly devil creature. The setting of a nineteenth century sailing ship suits the theme as it is claustrophobic, dark and brutal, plus it solidly relates to Bram Stoker’s book.”
Andrew Petrou – Online
“The Last Voyage of the Demeter is a chilling masterpiece that sets a new standard for your run-of-the-mill monster or creature horror films. If you love horror, or creature features – or anything like classics such as Alien, Predator or The Thing – you should love this.
Zendoss – IMDb User Reviews
However, when you get to the professional critics, the wheels seem to fall off pretty quickly. Here is a selection:
“Dracula horror is lost at sea. There’s no real surprise to where we’re heading, given the source material, and so a great deal of the film is a rather meandering wait for the inevitable. It’s ultimately a doomed voyage: for the crew, for the audience, and for Universal’s monster movie strategy at large. Two stars.”
Benjamin Lee – The Guardian
“Horror heads are accustomed to screeching at the screen, ‘Don’t go in the basement!’ In The Last Voyage of the Demeter, I found myself inclined toward the reverse exclamation: ‘Just go below deck and kill him already!’ The regularity of Dracula’s circadian timetable raises the question: Why doesn’t the crew just attack around noon? It could have saved the movie’s beneficent hero, Clemens (Corey Hawkins), a boatload of trouble.”
Natalia Winkleman – New York Times
Dracula dud sucks – Anybody with a kindergarten diploma knows that the experience of watching Dracula gradually kill one sailor after another in exactly the same way aboard a medium-size vessel with only a few rooms would turn out to be mind-numbingly boring. And, oh, has it ever. Øvredal attempts to overcome the lack of an engrossing plot by upping the gore, which has worked wonders for the Evil Dead movies. But there’s no creativity or artfulness to this violence. The occasional bashed skull earns a ‘So what?'”
Johnny Oleksinski – New York Post
It is not all bad news from the professionals. One review points to a great atmosphere, loaded with fear, and praises the antagonist:
That fear is, of course, helped along by a very good vampire. Botet, under lots of heavy and very creepy makeup, is having a ball as Dracula, slinking around the ship like Ridley Scott’s Xenomorph, toying with his victims in one scene and going full-on animalistic in the next. He’s an immediately distinctive version of the monster who still retains a certain aesthetic that hearkens back to the days of F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu and even Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot.
Matthew Jackson – AV Club
This is a tricky one. Higher-budget, adult-themed horror should be supported, especially when it is tied to the classics of the genre. However, you can’t escape the feeling from reading these reviews that maybe this is one to stream at home on a certain October night. Here is the trailer again, to help you make up your own mind.
The Last Voyage Of The Demeter is out in theaters today… right now!
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