Tuesday, August 16, 2011
DAGON (H.P. LOVECRAFT'S DAGON) (2001)
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Ezra Godden - Paul Marsh
Francisco Rabal - Ezequiel
Raquel Merono - Barbara
Dagon tells the story of Paul Marsh, a young man who discovers that the truth will not set him free instead it condemns him to a waking nightmare of unrelenting horror of an old god and it's unholy offspring.
This is one of the last well known Lovecraft movies I'll be reviewing this month as the rest I decided will be more on the unknown or hard to find side. It's been a while since I saw this movie so it's really like I'll be watching it again for the first time. Anyway, on to the review.
I must say that if this movie does have one thing going for it, it would have to be the atmosphere that permeates the whole production. There is just a darkness that overwhelms everything and encapsulates the surroundings. Part of the reason for this is where the movie was filmed at, as it seems like the fishing village was transplanted from Lovecraft's stories and put on screen. Another thing that helps is that the movie doesn't focus on the more horror aspect, instead it decides to build up tension by having the movie play like a stalker film, just instead of one crazed lunatic, you have a village of crazed mutated lunatics. The interesting thing about the movie is that it keeps on building the tension from one scene to the next, which is a nice surprise considering that the movie was directed Stuart Gordon, who usually shows what is ahead in a movie to early. Let the hate mail start due to the last statement.
One thing I am going to admit straight out is that I hated Ezra Godden's acting through most of the movie. The reason for this, is that he seemed to have no personality for almost the entire run time of the movie. Yes, I know he's supposed to be playing a computer jock that got rich, which he even tries to bribe his way out of being hurt with that said money, even though when he was more worried about his money than his girlfriend's feelings at the beginning of the movie. Though as the movie wears on, his character does start to get more interesting though by that time it is too little too late. Another sore spot in the movie is Francisco Rabal's Ezequiel. Now Rabal does a fine job actually acting, it's just that his speech ruins everything the man portrays on screen. The only actor I enjoyed throughout the whole movie was Raquel Merono, even though she is only in the movie a quarter of the time. This is mostly due to toward the end of the movie, and the expressions her character has. You can actually tell that her character is insane after what she goes through in the pit which is something that is usually missing in most Mythos movies.
Now as this is a movie about mutated humans thanks to inbreeding, basically, I think it was a good choice for Gordon to try to keep most of the villagers under wraps as it adds a certain unnerving feeling to the whole movie. I say this due to that once some of the Dagonites are revealed, it just ruins some of movie as some of the effects are just cheesy looking and look sub-par. And I could swear I saw a seam on Macarena Gomez's Uxia' tentacle prop. Another draw back that ruined the end of the movie was the terrible CG work on Dagon itself once it pops out. Yet even with all the flaws on the movie, including uneven pacing in the middle, I think that Gordon did a relatively decent job of bringing one of his dream projects to life, as well as keeping it more on line with the feeling of the short stories it was based on. I will say this in closing though, I would really like to see Gordon try and redo this movie now as he would probably do a much better job than what he did back in 2001.
Ezequiel's slow, deep epidermis peel.
Yeah, but there's a catch. It has to live the rest of its life as some kind of half-ass fish of the sea.
The chant by the locals at the sacrificial ceremony near the end, "Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!" appears in many H. P. Lovecraft tales, shouted by followers of the Old Ones.
The majority of this film was shot with a hand-held camera.
Even though the movie is named Dagon, it is more based on the story The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Below is the corresponding name changes in the movie and what characters they were based on in the original story:
Paul Marsh - Robert Olmstead
Ezequiel - Zadok Allen
Captain Orpheus Cambarro - Obed Marsh
Javier Cambarro - Barnabas Marsh