If box office numbers are any indication, the latest vampire tale based on the novel Dracula needs an infusion STAT.
The film, The Last Voyage of the Demeter brought in a mere $6.5 million in its box office debut. The film clearly has some catching up to do to surpass its $45 million production budget.
The film scored the respectable #5 spot on the weekend’s box office chart. And, to be fair, the film has some heavy competition including Barbie (#1), Oppenheimer (#2), and those pesky Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (#3). What has to hurt is the #4 spot taken by Meg 2.
In addition to fierce competition, and a rather large CG fish, the film may suffer from the familiarity of its plot.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter is an adaptation of “The Captain’s Log”, a chapter from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The film stars Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham, and David Dastmalchian. Directed by André Øvredal and written by Bragi F. Schut Jr. and Zak Olkewicz, the plot follows the doomed crew of the merchant ship Demeter led by Captain Elliot (Cunningham) who attempt to survive the treacherous ocean voyage from Transylvania to London while being stalked by a legendary vampire, known only as Dracula (Javier Botet).
Although the film’s focus in the telling of the voyage is somewhat original, any person familiar with Dracula knows that on the Demeter . . . well . . . everybody dies. And, that is definitely not original.
Because of the familiar plot, we anticipated nothing more than a period slasher film. But, Demeter is so much more worthy of audience consideration. The production quality is top-notch. The practical effects and VFX are seamless. The score is haunting and memorable. The screenwriting and acting are so well integrated that the viewer is pulled into the tension and suspense by characters that we care about and root for. There’s not one character that we want to see consumed by the vintage Nosferatu-style monster.
While the film is somewhat of an emotional journey and engrossing, it’s not perfectly connected to the source material, i.e. Dracula. The film is, nonetheless, a very well-crafted telling of the fate of the Demeter and her crew.