The Last Voyage of the Demeter: Destroyed by Wokeism

Recently, while traveling by plane, I decided to pass the time by watching one of the movies offered. 

I settled on The Last Voyage of the Demeter, which is based on a chapter of Dracula (1897), by Bram Stoker.  Having read that novel a couple of decades ago and, moreover, having an interest in the actual character of Vlad III Dracula, I figured, why not?

Before long, I was reminded why I despise modern movies.  All the “woke” elements were there, undermining an otherwise potentially good film. 

Background: the movie is primarily set aboard the ship Demeter, which is traveling from Romania to England. Unbeknownst to its crew, Dracula has been brought aboard in a crate. Before long, he emerges and begins to terrorize and feed on the crew during the long passage. 

Considering the story’s historic setting (nineteenth century Europe) the crew consists entirely of burly white men -- with the exception of one Black man, a doctor and Cambridge graduate who cannot gain employment due to entrenched racism, and a captive woman that Dracula surreptitiously brought aboard to feed on. 

Care to guess who the heroes are?

Let’s begin with the Black man, Dr. Clemens. The main problem here is that I’m historically conscious, and, as such, cannot begin to believe that such a character could ever exist in nineteenth-century Europe, which was immensely homogenous (this being about a century before the Great Replacement began).  As such, every time I saw Clemens -- and every time he opened his mouth and made some wildly anachronistic but “progressive” remark -- I was reminded that I was not watching a movie dedicated to giving you a realistic feel, but pure propaganda.

To underscore my point, imagine the same thing in reverse: imagine you are watching a moving set in premodern Africa and, as you might expect, every actor is Black -- expect for the hero, who just so happens to be White.  As to how he got there, or what his origin story is -- don’t bother: he’s just there and to question that bizarre fact is racist.  Wouldn’t such a movie strike you as ridiculous?  So it’s the same for me when I see a character of one race implanted into the realm of characters of another race, and at a time when no heterogeneity had begun -- as when I see “Black Vikings.”

Such criticism is not motivated by racism -- I am of Egyptian heritage (both parents) -- but by a desperate need for realism.

But if Clemens gave the movie a totally unrealistic feel, it was the other, arguably real hero -- the only woman -- who really got those eyes rolling.  Anna is a young woman whom Dracula brings on board to feed on.  Once this Romanian peasant girl (who nonetheless speaks perfect English) escapes, she takes complete charge of the operation against the vampire. Whereas the rest of the crew -- all White men (minus Clemens) -- panic and cannot for the life of them figure out what to do against Dracula -- this calm and collective woman puts it all together.  Not only that -- she’s the one who carries the big gun and even manages to take a successful shot at Dracula (while the otherwise burly bearded men hide and scream hysterically). Even the captain, an  grim old man who seemed to epitomize wisdom and stoicism, quickly falls apart and descends into panic and hysteria -- that is, until cool-headed Anna orders him to get a grip of himself.

Best of all is the intersection between Black Clemens and woman Anna: they understand one another, and know how difficult it is for a Black man and a woman to make it in a world dominated by the White patriarchy.  When she is first discovered unconscious on the ship, the callous crew calls for throwing her over; only altruistic Clemens calls to save her life.  Nay more -- he happily gives her his own blood and food rations, while the rest of the crew balk.

Needless to say, the movie also managed to take the customary swipes against Christianity.  If Bram Stoker’s Dracula feared crosses -- and the Last Voyage of the Demeter is based on Stoker’s novel -- this Dracula merely smirks and smacks it away.  And the one avowedly Christian crew member, who always wears a cross, reads the Bible, and prays, is of course the only crew member to break faith and jump ship.

The movie ends with Clemens and Anna nearly defeating Dracula -- the useless “patriarchal” crew is all dead by now -- including by, in an act of self-sacrifice, sinking the Demeter.  Because her blood is still infected, rather than try to find a cure, the brave Anna stoically drifts away to her death (no hysteria as with the crew).  As for the ever-virtuous Clemens, despite all the suffering he’s gone through, he follows Dracula into England in an effort to destroy him and save those (otherwise racist and undeserving) Englishmen.

An otherwise potentially good film marred through and through.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West and Sword and Scimitar is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Image: Screen shot from shareable Universal Pictures trailer video, via YouTube

If you experience technical problems, please write to