Using the chapter on Dracula concerning the voyage of the ship carrying the earthen boxes to London in Dracula, THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER is the story of the doomed ship and its crew as they travel from Romania to England and are slowly picked off by the vampire.
Refashioning the story into a more or less standalone tale, outside of Dracula and the ship the film doesn't mention any of the other characters, the film is it’s own little scare machine. The film covers the ship from the loading of the ship until the film crashes in England as told in the captain’s log, though it clearly covers things not covered in the log, particularly the end.
If the film has any problems it’s the connection to Dracula. Because we all know the book, we can suspect how it’s going to end (though the film changes enough that it should be called inspired by rather than based upon). Additionally the vampire isn't Dracula. The monster, while nominally the Count, is a giant bat like monster looking like a cross between Barlow in Salem’s Lot and the bat form of the count in Coppola’s version of the tale. He is a creature and not a human, as a result you have to wonder why he is going to England. The creature can kind of speak, he seems to mimic not converse. The film makes you wonder how he bought Carfax Abbey. He never changes form so how could he wear clothes?
But I am over thinking it.
Besides the film does some wonderful things. The early scenes, both in England and in Romania have a genuine sense of dread. They are the first time the Dracula tale really felt right that we were in these places in the late 19th century. The ship is largely claustrophobic, even if the cargo hold seems overly spacious at times. I love that the film introduces a new character, a young woman given to Dracula to be his food. It weirdly makes sense. It also provides a tragic arc that breaks your heart. Additionally many of the “action” sequences are tense because enough has been changed that we don’t know what is going to happen.
I really liked the film.
While I know the poor box office has doomed the chance of a sequel I am both saddened by that (I loved where the film might of sent the story next) and I’m happy (the amount of explanation required in a sequel would have made it unmanageable).
As it stands LAST VOYAGE Is a ripping good horror adventure and is recommended.