Directed by Stuart Gordon, 2001
The only similarity between Stuart Gordon’s Dagon and H.P. Lovecraft’s short story it’s based on happens to be that they both involve fish people. Stuart Gordon’s involves a small boat (or is it a yacht? I’m not rich enough to know the difference) full of 4 people crashing off the shore of an island full of fish people who worship the Oceanic God Dagon. Lovecraft’s is about a single suicidal man who wants to end his life because he can’t shake the image of a giant fish-man he witnessed climbing out of a bottomless carion pit in the middle of the ocean. Oh, and Lovecraft’s is phenomenally well written, while Gordon’s is pretty slapdash.
I’ll cut through the fat: Dagon is boring. You’d think a movie whose running time is comprised almost entirely of a non-stop cat and mouse game between Ezra Godden and a town full of fish people would be pretty cool, but you’d be surprised.
That isn’t to say Gordon’s is without merit altogether.
The special effects, which were done by Spanish based effects company DDT (who are best known for their work on Hellboy), are pretty impressive, especially considering the budget. Some of the town’s people are pretty imaginative and the practical effects are a kick.
I don’t think Ezra Godden, who for the majority of the movie is the only human on screen, is a bad actor at heart, but I just couldn’t get into him in here He’s just too meek. But at least all of the extras do a fantastic job as the bumbling fish people who want nothing but to sacrifice the shipwrecked mortals to their fish God.
I’ve had the movie recommended to me as one of the better independent horror flicks of the last few years by several people, all who had nothing bad to say about it. I wanted to like Dagon, I really did, but I just couldn’t get into it.
Worth a watch for some cool make-up effects and a few sporadic moments that are genuinely interesting, but otherwise…