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Dagon (2001)

Review

Author
Date
08-14-2002
Comments

Paul (Ezra Godden, "Band of Brothers") and his girlfriend Barbara (Raquel Merono), along with the captain and his wife are on a yacht celebrating their new company when things go awry. First off, Paul is having strange dreams. He dreams he is underwater when he meets a beautiful half woman half squid. And just after she shows her 3 or 4 rows of teeth and seemingly looks like she's going to attack, he is awakened by his girlfriend Barbara. Secondly, he has this strange feeling over him, and is concerned with their money and stocks. Barbara gets angry and throws his laptop into the ocean. Right about this time, a vicious storm comes from over a nearby village, and the yacht wrecks into a reef trapping the captain's wife by the leg. Paul and Barbara must get to this seemingly deserted village by their raft to try and get help before the ship sinks.

When Paul arrives back at the yacht, there is no trace of the captain and his wife. Even worse, when he gets back to the village, he is sent to the hotel to meet up with his wife, only he never finds her. What it all boils down to is when he gets a room in the hotel, everything starts to uncover. He finds out strange things about the villagers other than their looks. It turns out to be a chase for his life trying to find a way off of this fishing village known as Imboca. And his only help is a drunk yet more normal than the rest villager who claims to know all of the secrets - and who knows the worst is yet to come.

Dagon isn't nearly as bad as some reviewers had made it sound. Where all of the super negative reviews came from, who knows? It isn't the best of Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna films, but it can be very enjoyable for any fan of the dynamic duo. It seems to reveal elements from a handful of Lovecraft stories, not just "The Shadow over Innsmouth".

Dagon isn't really scary, but it has a nice creepy element, especially when you find out the motive of the village and the origin of their background. Creepy, per se, in the style of a 50's type horror film. After five minutes into the movie, the storm never stops. There is always the noise of thunder and raindrops, with the appearance of constant lightning and wetness. It goes rather perfectly with the basis of the story.

The film has some pretty good special FX from a guy I was not familiar with named David Marti. Even the use of CGI is pleasant and not overdone, making the underwater scenes look beautiful and fairly believable. There are a few annoyances with computerized FX taking place during the finale of the film, but nothing to consider it a complete turn off. The make-up FX are great though. The villagers look pretty interesting, and they all don't look the same as one would think (some various shapes and sizes going on here, such as one leg-less villager who moves around on a small floor dolly). A couple of nice notable gore scenes are "Villager being gutted with intestine leakage" and "Guy having his skull and back de-skinned while he's alive." No kidding here, the gore scenes are fairly small, but these sequences make up for it completely.

The best character is, in fact, Paul played by Ezra Godden. He comes off as like a "Herbert West if he was an indie punk rocker" type person. Very nerdy, black rim glasses and sporting a spiffy Miskatonic sweatshirt. Some of his actions are very believable, some aren't. Just coming from my point-of-view, I would've probably acted more drastically in some of the circumstances than he did. Dagon's overall acting is pretty decent, but let's not kid ourselves - they had no Oscar in mind, and there's nothing to worry about because it won't happen.

Dagon is a film that should be watched by all fans of Gordon and Yuzna, and it is a great adaptation from a Lovecraft story (perhaps one of the best). Sure, it has flaws, but I was expecting something as bad as Children of the Living Dead judging from the ratings it had recieved. It is Stuart Gordon's most entertaining film since Castle Freak, and before that being Re-Animator without a doubt. A lot of people will think it is bad, but I suggest giving it a chance. It was a pretty neat surprise, and ended up being more likable than I ever expected.

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