Dagon (2001)

Movie Title: Dagon

Year Released: 2001

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 38min

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writer: Dennis Paoli (Based on the stories of H.P. Lovecraft)

Starring: Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Meroño, Macarena Gómez, Brendan Price, Birgit Bofarull, Uxía Blanco, Ferran Lahoz, Joan Minguell, Alfredo Villa, José Lifante, Javier Sandoval

Review: A boating accident sends Paul (Ezra Godden) and Bárbara (Raquel Meroño) ashore to a rundown Spanish fishing village. As the couple seek help they soon discover something fishy is going when the creepy residents appear to have aquatic abnormalities. Could this all be just a nightmare? Could it be a hallucination? Or is it the rise of Dagon, an ancient sea god turning the townspeople into monstrous half human/half sea-life offspring? Get ready to hold your breath as you swimming the mysterious, mirky, and morbid waters of... Dagon!

Writer Dennis Paoli and director Stuart Gordon have collaborated several time over the years; most notably with Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986) - both of which would make a great double feature. Now, with Dagon, the pair, once again adapting H.P. Lovecraft, create a movie that seems like one long, rain-drenched, tentacled waving, freaky-deaky, feverish nightmare - all in the best way possible. The only thing missing is the humor. This one plays it straight and could have used more humor, much like their previous work.

Again, with a small budget, Gordon uses really locations to give this fish tale a tangible reality. The streets of the town look like ancient ruins of the past and help create a feeling dread and claustrophobia that really get to you. And the constant raining and moody lighting certainly helps to creepy you out, too! Ezra Godden as Paul really carries the movie as a college kid that is trapped in place and situation that seems inescapable. If this movie was made a decade earlier his role would have certainly been placed my former Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986) star Jeffrey Combs.

The special makeup effects are rather unsettling. For a village of "fish people", Dagon spares no opportunity to shock the audience with scary faces, hands, bodies, fins, tentacles, and a whole lot more. The makeup holds up for the most part, still in that realm of plastic reality. The film does use a few CGI shots, but they definitely age the movie and take you out at times. And with most Stuart Gordon movies, the over-the-top gore and unexpected nudity are always there to please the genre audience.

So if you enjoy Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, H.P. Lovecraft, creepy fish people, and ancient sea-going monstrous creatures, then dive into the terrorizing waters of Dagon.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Paul's shirt in the film indicates he is an alumnus of Miskatonic University, an institution that features prominently in H.P. Lovecraft's stories and one of the settings in Re-Animator (1985), the first Lovecraft adaptation by director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna and writer Dennis Paoli.


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