Film Review: Dagon (2001)

SYNOPSIS:

You think you have heard the worst vacation story, I think we have a new one for you. Imagine getting shipwrecked near a small Spanish speaking fishing village. And if that’s not enough the entire town is overrun with strange pale, almost fishlike people. Sound like your kind of get away; just wait until you meet the big guy who runs the whole party.

REVIEW:

Directed by: Stuart Gordon
Starring: Ezra Godden, Raquel Merono, Macarena Gomez, Francisco Rabal

“Every dream is a wish.”

Once again Stuart Gordon has returned, with yet another adaption of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. This time Stuart and Dennis Paoli (writer) decide to focus on the short story “A Shadow Over Innsmouth”, yes I know the movie is called Dagon just follow me will you (even From Beyond didn’t exactly follow that short story now did it?).

Dagon starts with a dream sequence in which a scuba diver discovers a strange structure under water. The structure almost looks like an eye, and it has some funny writing around it. As the diver examines this area (obviously he has not read much Lovecraft) he finds what at first appears to be a kind of hot mermaid, that is until she lunges at him intending to give him more than just a hickey.

Suddenly we realize that we had just witnessed a dream sequence. We are introduced to Paul; he played the scuba diver in the sequence I told you about in the last paragraph. Paul apparently is on vacation with his hot girl friend Barbara. Apparently the two of them are on vacation and they are aboard a boat, and apparently now they are very rich. Paul isn’t the kind of hero you would want to see in this kind of movie, even in the first few minutes you know that this guy is the last person you would ever want near you in a horror film situation, but continuing on. They talk for a while and just to prove you how much of an idiot Paul is, Barbara goes down on him and he complains that he “isn’t enjoying himself”, like I said the guy is kind of a douche.

This wonder couple aren’t the only ones on board though. We also have Howard; the I’m a cool old man look at me on my sail boat type. We also have his wife Vickie, who doesn’t seem to mind not having clothing on around strangers, and gets eye f*cked by Paul on several occasions. Vacation is going just as well as you could expect it to with this fun bunch of people when suddenly there seems to be the sound of music in the air.

This music that is in the air though, it isn’t good you see as our group of vacationers hears the music they also see a hell of a CGI storm coming on, really quick. They start preparing themselves for the storm and Vickie goes down to the resting area to freshen up, there is always a lazy one in every group. After a few minutes in the storm, literally, the sailboat hits a rock. In the process of hitting the rock it has also trapped Vickie down in the cabin below, literally she is stuck between a rock and a hard place and now the boat is taking on water by the gallon. The other three run down to help her, but they really can’t do anything at all. Howard agrees to stay with Vickie while Barbara and Paul take the lifeboat to the village to try to find some help.

It’s only a matter of minutes before things get much worse for our vacation goers. You see Vickie feels something moving in the water. Howard searches through the water that is stained black and red with blood and oil, I will take a moment here to state that I personally love Stuart Gordon’s use of color, not just in Dagon but all of his movies. As Howard searches through this thick mess the water suddenly splashes around, and well he grabs a gun and shoots it. While all of this is going on Barbara and Paul are in this inflatable life boat that is falling apart. First the thing starts taking on water, and luckily Barbara puts on the pants in the relationship otherwise it would be a short movie. We are given yet another example of how worthless Paul is when he is handed a paddle and he just kind of tries to fasten it to the sinking boat instead of using it.

Thanks to Barbara’s quick wit the two finally make it to the dock, but not before hearing Howards gun shot, Paul starts crying that he hopes it isn’t sharks for the record. The two of them look around the village, but there is no one around. There is still that music though, and it’s coming from the church. If you are reading this, I am sure you know that weird chanting coming from a church is hardly a sign of safety. Paul and Barbara apparently think otherwise and enter the church, the singing stops.

This isn’t a normal church that Paul and Barbara have wandered into; there are no crosses or images of Jesus. There is that strange symbol Paul saw in his dream though, that strange dream with that kind of hot mermaid. That is just the start of this vacation from Hell.

The very first time I saw Dagon, I will admit I wasn’t too impressed with the movie. The acting can be kind of hammy at times, but the use of CGI effects is really what turned me off. Do not get me wrong, there isn’t much use of CGI in the film, but the times that it is used it is quite known.

You know when you get Gordon and Paoli together that it will be a great journey, and they do not let down. There is the normal amount of weirdness (fish people, seriously they are weird), gore (a human skinning scene anyone, or how about a sacrifice to a fish god in which the woman has intercourse with the said deity) and sex appeal (even if she is half fish, she’s still half hot) that one would expect from a Gordon movie.

Dagon comes across with a low budget, but it has a big heart and kind of a big bite to go with it. Go ahead and watch it, and if you ever end up stranded in a foreign village pray to God that it isn’t by the ocean.

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