Behind MI7 or Barbenheimer, the summer blockbuster ends with a strange horrifying adaptation of a fragment of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
If the invention of cinema coincides with the creation of Dracula by Bram Stoker, the story of one quickly crossed paths with the other, and this unabated until today. This year between Renfield And this Last Voyage of Demeter, the traditional adaptation of the novel seems to have given way to specific and gendered focuses. In the latter, the frame tightens on the transport by boat of Count Dracula from Transylvania to England, in a register intended to be horrific. The vampire is then swapped for a monstrous figure emptied of its original substance, in a frankly hideous design, like Golum, which would have served as a model for a gargoyle.
Aboard the Demeter, the crew sails quietly, until the nights are punctuated little by little with events of progressive gravity: death of an animal, then of secondary characters, until the direct confrontation with Dracula. Properly mechanical, this Last trip suffers from the repetition of its same scenes and from a scenario that becomes predictable by dint of systematically reproducing the device where the vampire goes out at night to drink blood. Reducing the story to the sole setting of the boat behind closed doors therefore becomes a trap in which the film seems to sink. The cinema is far from having exhausted this modern myth, but here it only seems to use it as a pretext (commercial argument?) to make a horror film as uninspired in its direction as embodied by its cast…
Of André Øvredal. With Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham… Duration 1h59. Released August 23, 2023