1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evil from the sea.
Director Stuart Gordon (H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator, HPL's From Beyond, Dolls, etc.) finally had the chance to helm his dream project. A feature film adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's short story The Shadow Over Innsmouth, although the production used the title Dagon. Paul and his girlfriend Barbara are celebrating the success of their company with their key investors by...
Published on April 12 2004 by Chadwick H. Saxelid
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad, but could have been better
there's a lot to like about this movie, not least of all the unabashed use of CGI and rubber tentacle appendages. all things considered, the special effects were pretty good, and the set itself looked great. the creepy-assed town was perfect, the monsters were loathesomely believable, and the acting is not half as bad as the sanctimonious amazon.com reviewers would have...
Published on Jun 30 2004 by Cherie Priest
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gordon can do better,
A group of people, including our hero Paul and his Spanish wife, run into trouble off the coast of Spain when a sudden storm devastates their vessel. Seeing a coastal fishing village within hailing distance, Paul and his wife decide to set out for help. There is some worry about how fast this weird storm came up, but help is absolutely necessary because one of the female passenger's legs is bleeding and caught in the crushed boat. Things get a lot weirder once Paul and his woman reach the village. Realizing they no longer need help with the boat because they saw it sink shortly after the left it, they have little choice but to examine the surroundings. The village is a dank, smelly place that initially looks abandoned. The discovery of an odd church and the creep manning the desk at the local inn raise more red flags, as does the filthy room Paul rents. Even worse, Paul gets the sinking feeling that a recurring dream he frequently has is starting to remind him of this odd little town. Suspicions turn to shrieking horror when our hero discovers that the town's population consists of weird human/fish hybrids, all of who want to kill the human intruders in unpleasant ways. Paul becomes separated from Barbara and ends up meeting a strange old geezer who tells him a weird tale.
According to this old tar, the village was once a prosperous fishing area until the sea became lifeless. As the people slowly died of poverty and starvation, a lifeline appeared in the form of Dagon. An ancient sea god with a bad attitude, this deity promises salvation and wealth if the citizens worship him and his minions. The result is the shambling sea beasties presently tracking Paul. Paul's mission, if he chooses to accept it (and he does), is to find his woman and get the heck out of Dodge. All types of obstacles appear in his way, not the least of which is a pale faced little girl Paul runs across from time to time. This girl also appeared in our hero's dreams sporting a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Predicatably, the sea creatures capture Paul and threaten to do him in if he doesn't play along. They also detain the old tar as well, a fact that achieves stomach churning dimensions when several of the fish men promptly peel his face and scalp from his head. Paul comes within inches of destruction himself before he discovers the reason why he ended up in the village and what the creatures expect from him. It should go without saying that Paul's destiny isn't a pretty picture, involving as it does the corporeal form of Dagon, Paul's dream girl, and his hapless girlfriend. The end.
"Dagon" went straight to video for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the movie isn't all that engaging. The script has so many holes that you could sail a battleship through it. I am still scratching my head over Paul's sudden reversal at the end, and that is only one of the problems in this swiss cheese movie. As for the acting, don't go there. It's awkward and not in a good way. One problem here rests with the choice of Ezra Godden to play the Paul role. This guy looks so much like Gordon regular Jeffrey Combs that I thought Godden was that actor's brother or son. Why not just get Combs to play the part? One of the great elements of Gordon's prior efforts is Jeffrey Combs, as many others would surely agree. Perhaps Jeff was busy with another role, but I sorely miss him here. Finally, the CGI effects used in "Dagon" are ineffective and cheesy, especially when the time to reveal tentacles and the like rolls around. Gordon's film would have, could have, and should have been better with a few minor changes to script, cast, and effects.
What does work with "Dagon" is the sense of doom hanging over the film like a veil. The village, with its windswept and rain driven streets, does a lot to promote a sense of eeriness. That horrific scalping looked great too, an effect that would probably make a few viewers unused to these types of films lose their lunch. The girl who plays the creature in Paul's dream is truly frightening looking and is a good addition to the film. Overall, "Dagon" is an average horror thriller too often marred with mediocrities--like the acting, plodding pace, and weak script--to merit an enthusiastic review. It's worth watching once before moving on to greener fields.
4.0 out of 5 stars A few flaws (some spoilers), but otherwise very good!!!,
Here are the flaws- and this is where there are some spoilers, so the uninitiated beware:
1) in the scene where Paul is besieged by a literal horde of the fish-people in his hotel room, his actions seem clever at first, but the end result leaves you wondering "Hey, why in the hell didnt he just bust through the secondary door to begin with?"
2) When the 'High Priestess" is revealed for the first time from the waist down, her "appendages" could gave been more realistic- I say this becuase , by and large, the fish people prostethics created for this film are very, very convincing, and in this scene the f/x people dropped the ball.
3) The sole surviving human in ImBoca ( Francisco Rabal ) is so difficult to comprehend through his thick accent that you wish the flashback sequence- which does a damned fine job of explaining the events leading to Imbopca's current state of affairs without the aide of narration- had been left in just that condition: Lacking narration.
Beyond those qualms which- believe me- do not really detract from the cumulative effect of the film, this is a creepy, exciting, well acted and well directed adaptation of a Lovecraft tale from the people who brought us "Re-animator." I highly recommend this to horror fans and to fans of good, freaky cinema. One other note, Lovecraft fans should get a real kick out of one of the film's better in-jokes. Check out Paul's sweater early on in the film.
1.0 out of 5 stars No, just no.,
PS: Only people with great empathy would consider those nightmares, as a normally detached person would be the one killing IP,LSM. (Irritatingly pale, likewise scrawny man)
4.0 out of 5 stars A mysterious and horror movie ! Watch It !,
The actors are very good.The story is mysterious and the direction is not bad at all.If you liked the old ROMERO and FULCI movies, this stuff is 100% for you. As a matter of fact, i didn't watch and enjoy this kind of movie for a very longtime and Dagon is an enjoyable moment.Thanks to the Fantastic Factory ! Good Job !
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece,
5.0 out of 5 stars Come for the sand & sunny beaches---stay for the Gills!,
Simple: Gordon packed up his team and headed off to Spain, where they could make the most of their shoestring budget and capitalize on some genuinely eerie locations. The result is one of the most faithful, ghoulish, hysterical, and genuinely unsettling adaptations of the Master's timeless and merciless mythos, and Gordon delivers the goods, making the most of his haunting Spanish locations, solid actors, and plenty of red sauce, tentacles, Elder Gods, and ghastly-gory goop.
Dot-com gazillionaire-to-be Paul (played to the bespectacled Lovecraftian hero-hilt by Ezra Godden), his pretty Spanish fiancee Barbara (played with conviction by Raquel Merono), his financier Howard (Brendan Price, for about 25 seconds), and Howard's snippy wife Vicki (Birgit Bofurull, who does snippy just as well as she does slack-jawed terror---nice job!) are all on a sailboat off the coast of Southern spain, celebrating riches to come, when a nasty squall rolls in. Faster than you can shout "Gilligan!" the tiny boat is lost, wrecked on the Old Devil Reef, with Howard's snippy wife not so snippy anymore as her ravaged, trapped leg bleeds into the water. What, pray tell, might her blood attract?
Howard stays on the doomed boat with his wife while Paul and Barbara set off in a raft to get help in the eerily deserted fishing village they spied before the storm hit. They make landfall, meet the village---Imboca ("Innsmouth" in Spanish, get it?)---priest, split up, and the fun begins!
Gordon goes heavy on the atmosphere in "Dagon", to telling effect: this is a movie dedicated to that white, deformed face at the window, to shadowy and batrachian figures shuffling along rain-swept cobbled streets, to inexplicable thudding sounds coming from the room above you in the foul-smelling hotel room at 3 in the morning, to the dank, the wet, the forsaken, the inbred, the bizarre. Barbara's trip to the Hotel Del Mar through the shadow-haunted streets of Imboca gave me the crawls.
Gordon is masterful at taking Lovecraft's raw horror and ratcheting it up a knotch. The scene where a perfectly normal little boy wails over his fallen, leech-mouthed "Papa" gave me the chills; Lovecraft would doubtless shiver and approve.
The acting here is uniformly solid. Some might be put off by Ezra Godden's bespectacled nebbish hero, but true Lovecraft enthusiasts will be delighted with the most iconic Lovecraft protagonist since the Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West in "Re-Animator". Godden blends a fine arsenal of nervous tics and glasses-adjusting nerdiness with panicked courage under fire, and the result is hysterical and totally believable, making "Dagon"'s final revelation even more unnerving.
The fine Spanish veteran actor Francisco Rabal is also great; his soupy accent is a little tough to understand, but make the effort and you'll be rewarded with a superior performance. Rabal's nose is also something of a special effect in itself, nearly as terrifying as anything Imboca has to offer. Macarena Gomez is creepily gorgeous as Uxia, and the dream sequences in which she figures as a mermaid gave me nightmares for a week. Ferran Lahoz (Priest) and Jose Lifante (Hotel Del Mar Desk Clerk) gave me the crawls, and brought a huge dose of creepiness to the movie with their tiny and terrifying parts.
The real standout here aside from the deliciously Lovecraftian atmosphere is the special effects work; Gordon got the most from his limited budget, and it's all up on the screen. The Ultimate Horror of Imboca is never revealed outright until the end, merely hinted at, and the effects underscore that strategy: the effects are repellent and nasty, but subtle. Take a look at Lahoz's hand or Lifante's head and you'll see what I mean.
There are a few missteps, chiefly some bad CGI that hurt the dramatic effect of one superbly creepy scene (you'll know it when you see it), but not enough to diminish "Dagon's" relentless atmosphere of tentacled ghoulishness. On a technical note, the Lion's Gate release of the film is note-perfect: the colors are beautiful, the transfer is crisp and flawless, and the Dolby sound is a little *too* good (I nearly jumped out of my skin when a froggish hoot erupted from the darkness over my left shoulder).
Dark, richly atmospheric, and genuinely unsettling, "Dagon" is one of the most faithful Lovecraft adaptations ever set to celluloid and a deleriously unnerving little horror film.
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have stayed at the bottom of the ocean,
By A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovecraft's DAGON Revisited,
DAGON is a successful horror film, not because of the special effects, which, by the way, are upsettingly frightful, but because of the interaction between actor and setting. Much of the outdoor filming takes place in a dreary evening downpour which accentuates a middle ground between the two humans who are land bound and the fish-people who are water-linked. The followers of Dagon lumber slowly around or simply slither in and out of each scene. Paul tries mightily to dart around these fish-folk out of water, and he does elude them long enough for him to discover a shocking truth that took both him and the viewer totally by surprise. One of the supporting actors was Francisco Rabal, who plays the last human resident of the town. His character is old and grizzled, but despite his drunken demeanor and thick accent emerges as a man of immense dignity who remembers what his town was like before the acolytes of Dagon took over. By the closing credits, I found myself more concerned with his fate than with Paul's and Barbara's. The chilling horror of Lovecraft's Chluthu monster is in DAGON transformed in a series of of visceral images that cause the viewer to ponder the impossibility of what he just has seen and to conclude that only the best of the horror genre can force him to think that maybe the impossible is possible after all.
5.0 out of 5 stars Cthulhu Fhtagn IA IA !!!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadow Over Innsmouth,
By A Customer
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Dagon by Stuart Gordon (DVD - 2003)
CDN$ 14.95 CDN$ 9.98