Based on a short story by HP Lovecraft the undisputed master of macabre Paul and his girlfriend Barbara are celebrating the success of their new company on a yacht off the coast of Spain. When a sudden storm smashes their... more » boat on a reef Barbara and Paul swim to the nearest town for help. The decrepit fishing village of Imboca at first seems to be deserted but unblinking eyes peer out from boarded-up houses. The strange inhabitants offer little help to the stranded couple. By nightfall Barbara is missing and Paul finds himself pursued by the entire town but a town of what?System Requirements: Running Time 98 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: HORROR Rating: R UPC: 658149800229 Manufacturer No: ST8002D« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 3/24/2011...
Stuart Gordon's 4th adaptation of an HP Lovecraft story (in this case The Shadow Over Innsmouth) has some minor problems, but is very effective. This movie deals with a cursed town where the citizens slowly transform into aquatic beings. Decent gore, creepy atmosphere and some disturbing visuals make this a must see film for true fans of the horror genre.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Pamela G. (pamgram1) from CHAFFEE, MO Reviewed on 6/22/2010...
I can't believe that I waited for this movie on my wish list. Really Bad acting!!! Make-up on creatures so fake looking. All I kept saying was stupid, moron and you will too when you watch the supposed hero throughout the movie. This goes on my worst list. All I can say it's not worth your time even to watch. Just because HP Lovecraft's name is on it that is why it's on the wish list. and shouldn't be.
3 of 5 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lovecraft On the Screen
John C. Hocking | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 08/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off, at least some of the hype was true: this is the most overtly Lovecraftian film ever made. It nails HPL's obsessions one after another. You got your fear and loathing of the sea and ocean life, foreigners and religion, miscegenation and sexuality, alien cultures and all things organic, including (ulp) ourselves. It even does a decent job of conveying some of the weird awe Lovecraft could conjure up when dealing with cosmically alien plot elements.
The leading man will likely be seen as a liability by many of the film's viewers, but that is because he is the most Lovecraftian protagonist ever put on screen; he's weak, pale, neurotic and almost completely overwhelmed. The acting is uniformly solid. If you've seen the director's RE-ANIMATOR you have some idea of what Stuart Gordon can do, but where the earlier film is played like some outrageous cartoon, DAGON is played almost completely straight.
I feel the need to mention a couple of caveats. This is a B-movie. Was a time (not long ago) that I wouldn't feel the need to say anything about this, but here in the age of the blockbuster genre film with "seamless special effects" I guess some might feel cheated by anything less than an Industrial Light & Magic fireworks show. This isn't it. The film has atmosphere and suspense to burn, and the make up is excellent, but the CGI effects look just like CGI effects.
Also, although there really isn't that much violence in the film, when it does occur it is pretty hard to take. There is one scene that is as grisly as anything I've seen in a movie, bad enough that I imagine it might make a good number of viewers actually turn it off. Too bad, really. The scene runs the risk of eclipsing the rest of the film and being the only thing people remember about it.
Although much has been made of how the story is not a direct adaptation of any of HPL's works, this is simply not true. DAGON is 'Shadow Over Innsmouth'. Expanded, relocated and updated, but it's 'Innsmouth' in every important detail and plot point. Of course it's more lurid and in-your-face than HPL's stories ever were and makes absolutely explicit what he would merely suggest. But if you can accept that I think you'll find this a pretty gripping film.
I say Check It Out. It's not perfect, but it's an honest attempt to bring HPL's vision to life on screen."
Best Weird Horror film since Suspiria
TastyBabySyndrome | 07/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DAGONThick, gray sheets of rain and images half-seen behind battered village shutters and doors, and behind: beauty and horror, alien and old and hysterical.Dagon is one of my favorite horror films, and I saw it first yesterday. Now in limited release and headed for DVD, the movie is a remarkably creative piece that accomplishes two seemingly at-odds mean cinematic feats: it successfully adapts HP Lovecraft, one of the last century's most unfilmable writers, and it does it with humor that enhances from the horror rather than detracts from it.It's hard to put good humor in horror-I was always one of the critics who was a little turned off by hamminess of films like Stuart Gordon's Re-animator or the out-and-out camp of farce like Toxic Avenger. But now Gordon himself has come back to his beloved HP Lovecraft with a much more mature style of cinematic humor reminiscent of the sad comedy of Evil Dead II. Example: there's a moment when our hero, Paul (Ezra Godden) tries to steal a car to get away from some strange creatures chasing him. After he manages to sneak into the car, he rips out the wires below the ignition to hotwire the car. This is the first movie I've ever seen that ends this sequence the way it logically should if Paul is anything like me.The movie opens with a boating accident, as two couples sailing on a boat off Spain hit a sudden storm and wreck on some high rocks. With one of the party injured, the young couple Paul and Barbara take a raft in the storm to the decrepit fishing village they see nearby.Stuart handles these early moments brilliantly-it's rare to see so clearly that moment when the characters cross a threshold into another world, as the atmosphere suddenly turns foggy and strange and the pair begin to search the deserted village for help. They find a strange, delapidated church, and a priest whose distant eyes would tell you or I not to trust him at all. Gordon plays the shouldn't these guys get the Hell out of this town motif well by keeping us aware that the heroes are trying to help their injured friends. By the time that duty is less compelling, it's too late.Dagon unfolds the details of its horror at a steady pace, in layers that make you cringe and laugh as the strange, aquatic creatures who inhabit the village appear. The monsters in Dagon are the villagers, who wear human clothing and more and haunt the village in some strange imitation of human life. The best humor of the story comes when we see these creatures trying desperately to act like people. Who are they? People, or their desdendants, whose souls and bodies are in the thrall of something very old.The village itself is a movie world created from whole cloth, flooded with rain and ominous, and just dripping with literacy of films that have gone before. Watch how Gordon passes along the other-worldly lessons of Argento's Suspiria with the corridors of the hotel Paul stays in, or even calls back to City of the Dead with its use of one of horror cinema's most sublime creepy triggers: barely seen figures in the distance, just in frame. Movies like City of the Dead and Let's Scare Jessica to Death, in fact, seem to have informed Gordon's work here: Dagon rests squarely in the camp of stories about protagonists who fall into other-worlds-right-around-the-corner. But it stays fresh not by keeping tongue in cheek, but by daring to find the hero's situation as funny as it is. Gordon has moved past camp and irony and into black comedy.Dagon is such an inventive, joyously creative horror film that critics are having a hard time figuring out what to make of it. Most of them have focused on assets and called them liabilities, unwilling to succumb to the film's spell. They don't like accents-much of the explanatory dialogue belongs to the person least equipped to deliver it, Spanish actor Francisco Rabal, whose accent is so thick you can only catch every third word. Personally, I think Gordon did this on purpose: we have to strain to understand the old man, which heightens our sense of panic. Nothing in the movie works the way other horror movies would have them, and that seems to disturb critics. Genre is supposed to be predictable while we leave creativity to art films.How inventive? So inventive that you'll probably be catching it on DVD instead of in a theater.But the touches add up: I love that Paul is a hero who behaves more or less like a normal guy-his fighting is clumsy, his panic realistic, and his tenacity inspiring. He sometimes does stupid things that come across as very, very believably stupid. Playing a key role in the film is Macarena Gomez, whose face alone is a special effect-with a fragile, sharp, wide jaw and huge, liquid eyes, Gomez appears barely mortal, as if she's sidestepped into our dimension. She's a magnificent discovery and the part she plays would crush beneath anyone else.Dagon closes in on you and gets stranger and stranger, and ends in a place as different from the tranquil sailing vessel and the drizzling village as any place can be: an entry to the realm of HP Lovecraft's Deep Ones. Stuart Gordon's work has matured and given us a classic horror film that fans of the genre simply cannot ignore."
Fishing with Dagon, the Bait Real Pros Use
TastyBabySyndrome | "Daddy Dagon's Daycare" - Proud Sponsor of the Lit | 07/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What do you get when you mesh unblinking eyes, priests with webbed fingers and innkeepers with gilled throats, fishermen with a strange affinity for covering their faces, plenty of gold from the depths of the sea to go with the atypical "bounty from the deep," a few faces getting peeled off to teach someone a lesson, a bit of octopi legging to replace those pesky bipedal ones, and one ancient tentacled God? No, it isn't your local barnyard sock-hop taking place at some yokel fairground, its Stuart Gordon's latest creation, the Lovecraft inspired Dagon!
Unlike many of Gordon's earlier, more goofy approaches to the horrific, this Shadows Over Innsmouth/Dagon recount wore a dark overcoat that shrouded almost all of the production. The tale begins with Paul (Ezra Godden) and his girlfriend Barbara, accompanied by two friends, as they toast the success of their new company off the coast of Spain. Paul finds himself plagued by dreams of the foulest sort, ones dealing with an underwater monument bearing a strange insignia and a half-fish/half-humanoid woman, the type that end with him awakening (once again) in a pool of sweat and screams. Soon after our introduction, a storm, if you can call the suddenly conceived, quickly overwhelming beast darkening the sky and tossing their boat around like a bath toy "a storm," impales their boat upon a black reef that any Lovecraft fan will well appreciate. This, in turn, injures one of the boat's occupants and forces them to seek help in a decrepit fishing town called Imboca. As they approach the town in their cheaply construed rubber lifeboat their woes begin, with the sound of gunfire coming from the ship and something brushing against their raft and knocking a hole in it. Is this sign of something to come? Well, in a world where the beasts run rampant in the water, you bet it is. The two quickly find themselves in a town that first seems deserted, a place where the churches read "Esoterica Orde De Dagon" and the occupants, once they are finally found, seem to grow odder and odder by the minute. All these things come together and finally lead them toward secrets that no Bostonian before them ever really wanted to learn, the truth behind the worshippers of Dagon.
Touting nice effects in the monster category, some decent acting (Godden reminding me a lot of Jeffrey Combs, a great thing in my book), pieces of comedy to go with the more horrific, Deep One inspired portions of the movie, and some nice looking DVD quality, this is something to pick up and watch a few time. I highly recommend it for those who've always wanted augmentation by making deals with the oddities of underwater worship or for those simply wanting to stroll the beaches of human suffering as casual passerbys. It'll give you more reasons than the mere shark to stay away from the ocean."
We shall dive down through the Black Abyss....
Schtinky | California | 01/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Starting out on a sailing yacht with another couple, on a beautiful day, skinny and whiney Paul (Ezra Godden) and his sexy girlfriend Barbara (Raquel Merono) are relaxing belowdecks while the boat is anchored off a quaint Spanish Village.
Foul weather blows in *very* suddenly in a gorgeously filmed scene, huge dark clouds rising up over the little seaside town. The sailboat is pushed into the rocks where Vicki is pinned belowdecks.
Paul and Barbara must take the dingy to shore to seek help. The town filmed here is very cool; narrow, climbing streets and alleys between tall villas and not a soul to be seen anywhere. Until they find the church, but this is no ordinary church. The symbols inside are unrecognizable, and the priest behaves quite strangely. Fortunately, Barbara speaks Spanish and convinces the priest to help. Paul goes back to sailboat where there is no sign of their friends, and Barbara goes to local hotel to wait, where she is promptly abducted by the hotel clerk and the priest.Paul checks into the filthy hotel, and things start to get weird when the townsfolk come out to play; and here is where the fun begins. Eerily determined, they stagger and creep through the streets in search of Paul. Paul runs into an old man named Eziquiel (Francisco Rabal), who tells him a strange tale of the beginnings of the odd little church, and of course Paul believes he is mad. With Eziquiel's help, Paul searches for Barbara, running into all kinds of trouble. I don't want to give away any of the juicier, more tingly parts of the movie, but suffice to say that my hunger for monsters, grotesqueries, blood, creepiness, and action was sated. One fine face peeling scene is quite noteworthy and worth the movie in and of itself.He finds the beautiful woman that he had been seeing in his dreams, Uxia; who embraces him and teaches him the mysteries of Cthullu, whether he wants to hear them or not.Most of this movie was filmed around Barcelona, Spain, and has some very beautiful scenery shots, along with gorgeous old castle-type buildings and villas...plus some creepy filthy places that remind me of my first apartment.This is truly a great horror flick, with wonderful monsters and lots of blood, a creepy atmosphere and an ending you won't want to miss. I recommend viewing this tasty, blood coated treat as I did, with your cuddly stuffed Cthullu and Shoggoth, along with Harm the Bunny, at your side. Enjoy!"
More Lovecraft goodness
Tony R. Tucker | Crewe, VA United States | 09/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoy Lovecraft's stories, and the Cthulhu mythos tales especially. One of his creepier tales is "A Shadow Over Innsmouth". It's the story of a town whose people are hybrids of human and an ancient sea dwelling race called the Deep Ones. An outsider comes to the town and is pursued by the shambling, gurgling villagers as he discovers their dark secrets.The film "Dagon" is based on the Lovecraft story. To cut down on costs, the production is filmed in Spain rather than New England (the location of the Lovecraft stories). This actually works well. The coastal town has a damp, run down feel and the locals speaking another language further alienates the main characters. A boating accident causes a young couple to have to paddle to a fishing town inhabited by strange, malformed people. As in the Lovecraft story, they soon find trouble. It all culminates with a sinister ceremony to Dagon, one of those dark gods of the sea. It is all well done and pretty effective.The actors are all pretty much unknowns. The standout is the woman who plays the priestess. She is both creepy and beautiful at the same time. She dominates every scene she is in.My only complaint is the use of some poor CGI effects. They did so well with so little through the rest of the film, it's a shame they resort to budget CGI that snaps you out of the mood when it appears. Better effects are shown in video game cutscenes.Overall, this is solid saturday night beer and pretzel viewing. Not fit for the kiddies. There are a couple of pretty gruesome effects. Now if they would just make a movie based on The Call of Cthulhu..."