Sunday, March 1, 2015

Dagon


  I saw this a couple weeks ago, being a big fan of Stuart Gordon's H.P. Lovecraft movies, I figured it was about time I sat down to watch Dagon. Unfortunately Jeffrey Combs wasn't in this one, as he was in more than a few of Gordon's other Lovecraft adaptations, but Gordon cast some guy who's got the Jeff Combs look and mannerisms down. Next best thing and all that. Anyways, the movie wastes no time landing our protagonists in the creepy fishing village of Innsmouth. Oops, sorry, in this movie the village is called "Inboca". Cause it's set near Spain and "boca" is Spanish for "mouth". Oh. The movie is hampered by some stiff acting, and some really dated early 90's CGI, but you shouldn't hold that stuff against it. Dagon is still a damn fine horror movie.

  With their boat wrecked in the midst of a terrible storm, Paul and his girlfriend make it to the shore of Inboca and seek out help. What they find instead is unspeakably terrifying. Fortunately for anyone after a few good scares, that's not just a tagline. The townspeople are all members of a murderous cult, worshiping an ancient entity, one of the 'deep ones' known only as "Dagon". The movie follows Paul around as he's separated from his girlfriend and chased through the dark rainy town by the townspeople, who he slowly starts to realize are all slowly mutating into fish-like creatures. It's weird on top of strange, and deep fried in terror.

  As a movie, Dagon is often uneven in most regards. Sometimes the dialog is natural and flows, and sometimes it's stilted and forced. Same can be said for the momentum, the acting, and the effects. However, make no mistake, when the movie is good- it's really friggin good. Ezra Godden, the Jeffrey Combs lookalike, does a great job as the lead. His arc has him facing some downright disturbing shit, and he soldiers through it, not like an action hero, but like a man profoundly scared out of his skull. He plays his role with gusto only faltering where the script does. Everyone else is spot-on for the most part. The acting itself was good enough where I never really noticed it one way or the other unless I really thought about it. Everyone played their part, and well.

  There's lots of special effects in Dagon. Some of these effects are computer generated and those effects are kinda shitty, unfortunately. Things don't feel as real as they need to in order to have the impact should have. Impact and effect are the bread and butter of a movie like this. On the other hand, there's loads of practical effects too. Those are absolutely great. In a town full of mutant fish-men you can bet there's some disturbingly good practical effects to be seen. There are some scenes that drag on too long, and others that feel out of place, but whenever the movie has a big effects moment, everything clicks for the most part.

  The strange visuals and downright creepy atmosphere of the movie is enough to recommend it in my point. Even as the movie gets deeply mean-spirited, something keeps you glued to this movie. An uneven blend of greatness and mediocrity, Dagon is cheesy, unsettling, horrific, and ultimately a job well done. I had to step back and look past it's shortcomings. There's a great movie under all this. It's there. You just gotta pay attention. It's low budget and has too much filler, but it's also a delightfully strange and haunting tale that deserves a look-see. Is this the foremost ideal Lovecraft movie? No, for that, I direct you here. Nevertheless, while Dagon is knee-deep in blood and guts, it doesn't forget it's roots and never sacrifices it's atmosphere for anything. It sticks to the cold and rainy darkness that seems to envelop this movie completely.

  Not enough horror movies are even capable of generating a atmosphere this rich and creepy. Props to the makers of Dagon. It may never get mainstream appreciation, but for Lovecraft fans, and horror fans, all you have to do is look around, scratch the surface of what the internet has to offer us, and you'll find excellent word of mouth about this movie. To which I am gladly contributing. Not every movie is perfect, and neither is Dagon, but it's a valliant effort held back only by lack of resources and money. One thing they never seemed short on was passion. This project seems like it was backed by people with big respect for the source material and who really wanted to make a good movie. Not enough movies nowadays have a crew like that behind it. In this day and age, we need more movies like Dagon. Thus, if you're a horror fan, you should see it. No doubt about it.

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