After the flops that Universal has made in the past when it comes to their horror movies, as well as the great successes, you might not know how to feel when I tell you that their latest horror movie, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, finally has a trailer, but there’s no need to fear because it looks incredible. Has Universal finally got their “The Dark Universe” off the ground, or have they figured out that their horror movies are good enough to stand alone? I can’t generalise, but this one is set up that way.
To say that this movie has been in the pipeline for a while would be an understatement. This movie has been trying to make it off the ground for the last decade, seeing many starts and stops and many filmmakers and actors trying their best to bring it to life. Still, the Norwegian horror director André Øvredal finally has cracked the code and is making this movie set sail (forgive the pun, I couldn’t help myself).
The Last Voyage of the Demeter is based on a single chapter from Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, which just so happens to be one of the most harrowing and chilling chapters, when a merchant ship, the Demeter, was chartered to carry private cargo – fifty unmarked wooden crates – from Carpathia to London. If you have read the original novel as I have, you know exactly how this chapter ends, and I can’t wait to see how Universal is bringing it to life.
We rarely get an excellent single-location horror movie. Still, with all the nuance of the book and the well of untapped terror in this story, the trailer makes it clear that the setting of this forlorn sailing ship is all we need for this terrifying tale to unfurl. We see Aisling Fanciosi as “an unwitting stowaway” from Romania, Corey Hawkins taking on the role of the ship doctor Clemens, David Dastmalchian as the first mate to the captain, and Liam Cunningham as the captain of the Demeter. The credits also list Jon Jon Briones, Stefan Kapicic, Nikolai Nikolaeff, and one of the best horror actors of all time that we barely ever see the face of (seriously, look him up), Javier Botet.
Sailing into theatres on the 11th of August, 2023, The Last Voyage of the Demeter and its trailer promise to be impressive and maybe the horrifying break that Universal needs to start its Dark Universe properly.
Universal has a poor track record when it comes to horror movies and trying to bring movies about their classic Universal monsters to life. Unfortunately, the cinematic universe was doomed from the start, thanks to how it was executed (and I don’t mean killed). The Dark Universe was announced with 2017’s The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, a movie that wasn’t well-received.
Since then, Universal has fixed the situation while still bringing some of their beloved monsters to life, without attributing them to the failed Dark Universe, like with the blazing success of Leigh Whannel’s excellent The Invisible Man. So they may be restarting it, or they may stick to their standalone story. Either way, they are getting it right this time.