Dagon tells the story of a young couple that takes refuge in a quaint fishing town after their boat wrecks at sea. The pair quickly learns all is not as it seems in the village. The natives once made a pact with a malevolent sea god for good fortune but everything comes at a cost and it’s time to pay the piper.
I really like Stuart Gordon. I am a huge fan of Re-Animator, Dolls, and many of his other cinematic offerings. But, somehow I have managed to miss out on Dagon until now. I had high hopes going in but was ultimately let down by this particular offering.
Some of the film’s problems can be attributed to Dennis Paoli’s screenplay. Our protagonist, Paul is impossible to warm up to. He comes across as very condescending in his exchanges with most of the other characters in the film. In checking into a hotel in a Spanish speaking country, he adds the letter ‘o’ to everything he says as if that will help the clerk understand what he’s saying. IE: “Room-o. Please-o”. This kind of behavior might be easier to get past if Paul was a supporting character who paid for his bad behavior by being killed off early in the film, but to have a lead that detestable is detrimental to audience buy in. By the time Paul actually gets around to attempting to do anything heroic, he’s established himself as a big enough prick that it’s difficult to really care.
Dagon is also hindered by poor performances across the board. Ezra Godden doesn’t have a lot to work with but his portrayal of Paul really doesn’t do the film any favors. Macarena Gómez is perhaps the worst of the bunch. Her turn as the High Priestess of Dagon is almost unbearable. She overacts at every opportunity and makes an already bizarre film that much stranger.
Sometimes a feature like this can be saved by first-rate effects work but this is not one of those times. The effects in Dagon are lackluster at best. The mix of primitive CGI and practical FX work just isn’t that noteworthy. A lot of the action occurs off camera or is implied. And a lot of what we do see is pretty amateur in nature.
Many of the scenes are very poorly lit. This may be to disguise the crude nature of the effects work but it makes a lot of the action difficult to see and gives the production the appearance of being made on a minuscule budget.
The picture and sound quality of the Blu-ray release are good. And the disc comes loaded up with a laundry list of special features, including: two separate audio commentary tracks, interviews with Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna, archival interviews, EPK footage, still and storyboard galleries, and more.
There’s a good chance that die-hard Lovecraft fans will find a lot to enjoy here. But, Dagon lacks the more widespread appeal of some of Stuart Gordon’s other noteworthy efforts. I guess that’s not surprising when stopping to consider that the film is about a fish cult. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of this special edition Blu-ray release, it is available via most major retailers now.
Director(s): Stuart Gordon
Writer(s): Dennis Paoli
Stars: Ezra Godden, Macarena Gómez, and Raquel Meroño
Release Date: July 24, 2018 (Blu-Ray)
Studio/ Production Co: LionsGate, Vestron
Language: English, Spanish