Dagon (2001)

dagon poster 2001 movie lovecraft
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Lovecraftian style horror

Never feels like it makes it over the hump

Movie Info

Movie Name: Dagon

Studio:  Castelao Producciones

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  October 12, 2001 (Sitges Film Festival)/October 31, 2001 (Spain)/July 23, 2002 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

dagon seaside town

What a nice little fishing town…nothing bad can happen there!

Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden) is haunted by dreams of underwater nightmares.  When Paul, his girlfriend Barbara (Raquel Meroño), and their friends Vicki (Birgit Bofarull) and Howard (Brendan Price) find their ship crashed against rocks by a freak storm, Paul and Barbara head for held in a nearby coastal fishing village called Inboca.  Something is wrong in the town.  Everyone seems to be missing and the main church has an eerie altar that doesn’t look like a normal church.  The people of the village worship the god Dagon…and Paul is walking right into his nightmare.

Directed by Stuart Gordon, Dagon is a supernatural horror film.  The movie adapts the 1931 H.P. Lovecraft novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth but takes its title from the 1919 short story “Dagon”.  The film received mixed to positive reviews.

dagon cult

Why can’t everyone just be a horrible fish person?

It seems like in his own way, you’ll always know what you’re going to get from H.P. Lovecraft stories.  There is often a monster, but it is the lurking terror behind the monster that is often the real danger.  This is the case of Dagon.  While I like aspects of the film, it wasn’t my favorite Lovecraft adaptation nor my favorite Gordon movie.

The story has the right set-up.  I love stories where the characters become trapped in an isolated area where the whole town is in on the scenario.  It creates a “trust no one” aspect that even means being seen by a little kid could cost you your life.  Like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the characters aren’t safe anywhere.  That is scary…but the set-up of the conclusion of the story with the sacrifice to the old god and revelations about the Paul character just didn’t feel satisfying.

The acting is pretty below average.  Ezra Godden as the lead is over-the-top as he runs for his life (which granted is terrifying, but it feels more camp than the story needs).  Raquel Meroño isn’t a great female lead and her character largely becomes absent for most of the film further eliminating interest in her.  I like the creepy priest Ferran Lahoz and the old drunk played by Francisco Rabal serves his purpose, but Macarena Gómez also feels like another unnecessary character.

dagon macarena gomez ezra godden

Ready to learn your convoluted back story?

The reason Macarena Gómez does feel a bit unnecessary is the undercurrent evil of Dagon.  The movie feels like it needs a real villain to hate.  The octopus “dad” battled by Paul is more compelling and scary than either Dagon or Uxia…Dagon itself is a typical Lovecraftian monster and not even a very good one.

Dagon might work for some hardcore Lovecraft fans and fans of Stuart Gordon should gobble up the film since it was his last feature length film adaptation of Lovecraft’s stories (though he did adapt “Dreams in the Witch-House for Masters of Horror).  For me, Dagon just undershot the target.  It had all the right pieces, but they never came together in satisfying or horrific complete movie.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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