DAGON – The Dungeon Review!

dagon 2There are many horror films based on, and inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft. I don’t think it is unfair to say MOST of these borrowed ideas translate to a whole lot of crap. Right off the bat, I always have an issue with “based on” and “inspired” by. What this usually means is they take huge liberties with the material. I have only one Lovecraft book, which is a collection of short stories. It includes the two stories used here; “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “Dagon”. Unfortunately, it has been quite a while since I’ve read any Lovecraft. If my memory serves me correctly I would say that this film is a relatively faithful adaptation of the short stories. Even on its own it is an extremely entertaining little yarn.

Paul and his girlfriend Barbara have had a recent winfall and find themselves with more money than they could have ever imagined. Everything is perfect with the exception of a reoccuring nightmare that has Paul quite addled. In it, he swims through a tunnel on the sea floor when he comes upon a beautiful mermaid with a whole lot of teeth. While boating with another couple off of the coast of Spain, a freak storm throws their vessel into a heap of rocks. The female half of their travelling companions is badly injured and Paul and Barbara are forced to go to shore to get help. It is obvious immediately that something is not quite right about the small coastal village. When the couple are forced to separate, things go from bad to decidedly worse. As Imboca’s secrets are revealed so too is Paul’s connection to it all.

Lovecraft stories are packed full of fantastic creatures and not-of-this-world imagery and it would take truck loads of money to really do them proper justice. Gordon makes the best of a limited budget and pulls off a really great looking film with some extraordinarily creative creatures. Since the creatures are part of the secret I don’t want to give away their appearance. But I really dug how they were all in different stages of metamorphosis. It was a very nice way to mix things up. The town is spectacular. I truly can’t imagine a more perfect town for this story. The pre-action dialogue is short and sweet and it takes no time at all for things to get rolling. The atmosphere he manages to build is quite impressive. I was captivated from the on set and the film kept me solidly entertained right through to the finale. There is a body count, but it doesn’t rely on violence and gore. This is NOT a film you watch for the gore. Although, there is one wonderfully nasty scene that is sure to leave an impression! A wonderfully eerie atmosphere, some thrills, chills and a little dark humour make this well worth the price of admission. This fractured fairytale-fantasy-horror hybrid is absolutely, positively worth seeking out. I highly recommend Dagon!

Tomorrow’s review will be Takashi Miike’s ‘GOZU’.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Stuart Gordon

Starring: Ezra Godden, Francisco Rabal, Raquel Meroño, Macarena Gómez, Brendan Price, Birgit Bofarull, Uxía Blanco, Ferran Lahoz, Joan Minguell and Alfredo Villa
dagon

7 Responses to “DAGON – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. Best Lovecraft movie ever, followed by Bleeders AKA Hemoglobin AKA The Descendant (based off of “The Lurking Fear) & The Haunted Palace (based off of “The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward.”)

    http://cynsanity-horror.blogspot.com/2009/05/bleeders-aka-hemoglobin-1997.html

    http://www.weirdwildrealm.com/f-hemoglobin.html

  2. totally agree with this review. I’m constantly recommending this one. It’s definitely got the Lovecraft vibe down. I love the tone this movie has. Some of the acting is a little on the bad side, but it’s still really good and has a great and shocking moment of violence. I also think that Yuzna’s Bride of Re-animator is severely underrated

    • goregirl Says:

      Lovecraft film adaptations have been pretty patchy, but I still like a bunch of them; this one included. The original Re-Animator is still my favourite but I love Bride of Re-Animator too! oh…and FROM BEYOND! Re-watched that one during an 80s feature and it kicked some serious ass!

      • Yes! Love Re and Bride of, didn’t like Beyond Reanimator, but I did love From Beyond

        • goregirl Says:

          Beyond was very disappointing, but a rat does fight a penis and that does count for something.

          • Yeah, that is quite true. That was probably the best part of it haha. I know there was a House of Reanimator in the works for a long time, not sure if it’s still happening or not though. I just really hope we don’t get a remake

      • also- though it is not an adaptation, I think In the Mouth of Madness is probably one of the best at capturing the tone of Lovecraft. A seriously underrated movie and probably Carpenter’s last good movie

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