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SYFY WIRE The Last Voyage of the Demeter

The Ending of The Last Voyage of the Demeter Explained

Where does the latest Dracula tale leave the legendary bloodsucker?

By Matthew Jackson

The Last Voyage of the Demeter joins the ranks of dozens of Dracula adaptations this week, but unlike previous attempts to translate Bram Stoker's tale to the big screen, this film is taking on just a small part of the epic story. As you've probably heard by now, the film adapts "The Captain's Log" section of Stoker's novel, which describes the cursed voyage of the title ship as it heads to London to drop off Dracula at his new home. That means it's an intriguing expansion of a pre-existing story, but how does that work in terms of ending the story? Let's take a closer look, and unpack how The Last Voyage of the Demeter works in relation to the larger Dracula narrative.

What Happens at the End of The Last Voyage of the Demeter?

The film's place as a piece of a larger story is interesting, particularly when it comes to the ending, because we know a couple of things have to happen in order for Demeter to fit into the Dracula saga. We know that the ship has to arrive in England with Dracula (played by Javier Botet in this version) somehow still alive, and we know that the ship has to at least appear to have no survivors left onboard. These are the elements of Stoker's story that remain the most important, at least if you're planning to keep the Dracula plot intact on some level. 

And indeed, Demeter does work to maintain those big pieces of Dracula's story. We spend most of the film getting to know the crew, from the Captain (Liam Cunningham) to the ship's doctor Clemens (Corey Hawkins) to a stowaway named Anna (Aisling Franciosi) with a connection to Dracula's Transylvanian home. Along the way, Dracula himself picks off members of the crew one by one, leaving a few survivors to make a last stand that eventually costs the lives of everyone on board except Clemens and Anna, who float away from the ship as it takes on water, hoping that a trapped Dracula will go down with the vessel.

RELATED: Why The Last Voyage of the Demeter Will Make Dracula Scary Again

As the two survivors drift in open water, Anna reveals that she's slowly turning into a vampire, an inevitable byproduct of Dracula's persistent feeding on her after she was turned over to him as a blood slave back home. Clemens could stave off the effects with blood transfusions, but Anna doesn't want that. She'd rather be free of Dracula's curse, and thus faces the sunrise and bursts into flames, leaving Clemens alone. Meanwhile, Demeter manages to survive the water it's taken on and make landfall on the rocks of the English coast. Dracula, after spending a little while pinned against the ship's central mast, gets free before sunrise, leaving him with the chance to settle in London after all. 

In England, sometime after the ship's sinking, the story of the Demeter begins to gain a certain cultural currency as the creepy tale of a "ghost ship" that washed up with no survivors, and the lighthouse keepers who managed to salvage the ship in the first place have no doubt added to the legend through the discovery of the Captain's Log, which warns that a great evil was onboard. What no one seems to know, however, is that Clemens is not only still alive, but lurking in London with the location of Dracula's new home, Carfax Abbey, firmly in his mind. 

Dracula in The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

Clemens has spent the whole film talking about how he wants to understand the world. He wants things to make sense, as a man of science who believes in structures and systems and a natural order to things. Dracula goes against everything he knows about that natural order, and because of that he can't abide the creature surviving. So, with Carfax Abbey's location in hand, he sets out to wipe out Dracula, discovering in the film's final minutes that Dracula is not just already in London, but very aware that Clemens is looking for him.

RELATED: The Last Voyage of the Demeter is Basically Alien, Just Set in the 1800s on a Ship

So, is there enough here for a sequel? Since the sequel would basically just be the back half of Dracula, it's safe to say of course there is. What we don't really know is exactly how the narrative will twist from here. Clemens could link up with characters like Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker, and the rest of the vampire hunting gang from the novel, or he could end up succumbing to his own obsession with the vampire somewhere along the way. He is, as the ending reminds us, marked in some way by Dracula, though he's not necessarily going down the full vampiric route just yet. Does that mean his obsession will consume him the same way Dracula's thirst for blood has consumed him? 

We don't have the answers to these questions, and we don't know if a sequel might come along to answer them for us. What we do know, though, is that The Last Voyage of the Demeter sends us away with two key thoughts: Evil is very hard to vanquish, but so are the people determined to eradicate it at any cost.

The Last Voyage of the Demeter is in theaters now. Get tickets at Fandango.