Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Chapter 7 of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897) is entitled “Cutting from ‘The Dailygraph’, 8 August (Pasted in Mina Murray's Journal)” and within that Chapter is the section “Log of the Demeter.” This section and parts before and after the section within Chapter 7 is what this film is precisely based on.
Explicit, gory violence
ORIGIN OF ETHNIC PEOPLE GROUPS—How could all ethnicities come from Noah, his three sons and their wives? Answer
Corey Hawkins … Clemens, a doctor who joins the Demeter
Aisling Franciosi … Anna, unwitting stowaway
Liam Cunningham … Captain Elliot, the captain of the Demeter
David Dastmalchian … Wojchek, the Demeter’s first mate
Chris Walley … Abrams
Jon Jon Briones … Joseph
Stefan Kapicic … Olgaren
Martin Furulund … Larsen
Nikolai Nikolaeff … Petrofsky
Woody Norman … Toby
Javier Botet … Dracula / Nosferatu
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|Director||André Øvredal (aka Andre Ovredal)|
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“Knock three times if there’s trouble”
August 8, 1897. Two British sailors discover something troubling on the shores, a shipwreck. “There are no survivors,” cries one sailor, “only this Captain’s log” he states. The other sailor looks at the book in dismay, reading the horrors that occurred on the ship formerly known as The Demeter.
We turn back the clock 4 weeks. The Demeter is carrying 50 boxes of cargo onboard. The Captain of the Demeter charges his First Mate to find three additional sailors in Romania to sail with them on a voyage to England. However, once on board, one of the boxes is revealed and a sailor says to the Captain, “I know the seal on that box. This trip is cursed. I’m not going.” So that leaves the Captain to find another crew member and wouldn’t you know it, by chance, a fellow doctor, Clemens, volunteers to join the crew.
The Demeter and its crew set sail. There’s a sense of unease among the crew, and rightfully so. Clemens and the young boy Toby notice one of the boxes, carrying a strange seal, is open. “Its full of dirt” claims Clemens.
While examining this one box Clemens hears a scream from another box. It’s a girl! The girl turns out to be a Romanian named Anna. She says she’s the victim of an evil so terrible that her people have a name for this creature, “Dracula”
“Knock three times if there’s trouble.”
Anna warns the crew that this creature, Dracula, sucks on the blood of humans. Sometimes after a person is bitten they turn into a vampire like Dracula. Other times, the victim just dies. Either way, Dracula must be fed. The crew is scared. Will they make it to England in 5 days time, or will they fall victim to the evil that is Dracula.
“Knock three times if there’s trouble.”
“The Last Voyage of the Demeter.” All I can say is “wow” and not in a good way. What I witnessed made my mouth absolutely drop. You expect there to be a large body count in a vampire flick. You can even expect the violence to make you a little uncomfortable. What you AREN’T prepared for is the level of carnage and the appalling, graphic nature of the violence that is on display here.
Most of the crew is seen being killed by Dracula in the most horrific and stomach-churning manner. We witness Dracula bite victims multiple times and after he’s bitten them he actually FEEDS on their flesh and the camera zooms in as he feeds. We hears the screams of the victims as they die slow, painful deaths. *MINOR SPOILERS* For instance, one of the victims is a young boy, Toby. When Dracula grabs him, the camera focuses intensely on Dracula grabbing the boy, biting his neck and watching the blood coming out of his neck. Even worse, we watch as Toby is transfigured into a vampire-like creature and when he comes into the light he begins to burn and blister and the crew ease his suffering by pushing him into the ocean.” *END MINOR SPOILERS*
No one needs to see evil glorified. No one needs to witness Christianity as weak and useless in a film; where one character, who is heralded as a devout Christian, goes around the ship claiming, “God has cursed us and this voyage. He is punishing us for all our wickedness and our sins.” He is then later seen abandoning ship and stealing a lifeboat, leaving the others to fight Dracula, by themselves. No one needs to witness Christianity and the power of Christ being mocked. Another character, who is shown as a Christian, loses faith and says “God has abandoned us and we are left to die.”
Alright, so if I had to find a silver lining with the film I could say the cinematography is about average. You also have some strong performances from most of the characters and the pacing of the film is about average as well. But it’s the STORY people go to see. It’s what’s in front of them that matters and what they’re being exposed to with the “Last Voyage of the Demeter” is nothing worth exposing the Holy Spirit to.
*Warning: Extremely graphic, violent content will be provided in the following sections. Reader discretion is strongly advised*
VIOLENCE: Extreme and, as I said earlier, incredibly stomach churning. We hear Dracula attacking a dog (off screen) and later witness the dog’s bloodied, mangled, lifeless body. Livestock are killed by Dracula, and we see their bloodied bodies as well. We witness Dracula slice someone’s neck, drink their blood and feed on their body. We witness Dracula feeding on a body offscreen (we just see the back of his neck). A woman shows bite marks and scratches on her back from Dracula. A man has his head smashed against a wall multiple times by Dracula (his head is bloodied but he isn’t killed immediately). In fact, this man transforms into a vampire and snatches a child but the child escapes and is chased. A vampire bangs his head violently against a door (his head is extremely bloody). Characters are attacked by “humans turned vampires.” As I mentioned before, the gut-wrenching scene is when a young boy is snatched by Dracula and bitten, watching him go out of consciousness slowly. A cook knocks out an individual then abandons ship. A captain gets burned by someone bursting into flames. A few characters who have become vampires burst into flames when the sun rises. A couple of these are prolonged moments and incredibly graphic. Dracula snatches a man while flying, throws him against the sail, killing him. A man falls from the crow’s nest and breaks his leg before being eaten by Dracula (we see the body). A character is strung out on the helm of the ship before being eaten. A man’s neck is cut. A girl bursts into flames.
VULGARITY: F***ing (1), Horse’s A** (1), Cr*p (1), Wh*re. Someone is called a dark savage.
SEXUAL CONTENT/DIALOGUE: A crew member talks about a brothel and has a discussion about the sexual activity that goes on. He then make a thrusting motion (this whole conversation occurs in front of a child. The child then replies “I know what a brothel is… it’s where women take off their knickers.”
NUDITY: A woman shows her bare shoulder and back while displaying some bite marks from Dracula.
OCCULT: Let’s be honest, this is a film about vampires. In fact, Dracula is considered demonic, barbaric and a monster in this film, not Adam Sandler’s Dracula from “Hotel Transylvania.” He is called the Devil at one point. There are discussions about the crew and the voyage being cursed.
ALCOHOL: Crew members are seen somewhat drunk on board on ship.
DRUGS: Someone is seen smoking cigarettes.
OTHER: A girl on the verge of death is saved and given blood transfusions. We witness individuals gambling at a port. Twice, crewmembers say having a woman on board is bad luck or a bad omen. Someone mentions being the first black doctor but not being considered or taken seriously because of his race.
There are many issues I could tackle, spiritually, with this film, as a few of the crew members discuss being cursed by God. One issue I took notice of is when the Captain states the following: “God has abandoned us and left us to die.”
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” —Psalm 139:7
God does not abandon us in our hour of need. Sometimes it may seem that in the midst of trial and tribulation that God is distant. It is quite the opposite. He is faithful, present and grieves when we suffer. He provides the ultimate comfort and peace when we suffer.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. —Psalm 134:8
So be confident in God’s love for us and trust that he will never leave us, forsake us and will always remain faithful, just as we are to remain faithful to Him.
At the viewing I attended, I saw three teens in the audience. Looking back, I’m asking myself, “What are we subjecting ourselves and our children to? Is that what entertainment has come to?”
To that point, I wish I myself could unsee the gratuitous violence I witnessed. Even two days later the violence, the gore and the deaths play on replay in my head.
There is no need to subject yourself, your family or the Holy Spirit to “The Last Voyage of the Demeter.” It is a vile, ungodly film that has no real redeeming qualities to it. Do not go on this voyage.
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