Friday, July 21, 2017

Dagon (2001)

Dagon (2001) dir. Stuart Gordon, Castelao Productions/Estudios Picasso/Fantastic Factory/Generalitat de Catalunya/ICF/Televiso de Catalunya/Televiso de Galicia/Via Digital/Xunta de Galicia

Now we're in the twenty-first century proper. Lovecraft's work was growing in popular culture terms, so when Stuart Gordon came back to the well, would it be on par with Re-Animator?

Paul Marsh (Ezra Godden), his girlfriend Barbara (Raquel Merono), along with pals Vicki (Birgit Bofarull) and Howard (Brenden Price) are yachting off the coast of Spain. Paul needs this vacation though, as he's been plagued by weird dreams, dreams of a strange figure under the water that seems to beckon to him. 

He tries to relax, but a sudden storm wrecks the boat, stranding them off shore. Barbara is trapped below deck thanks to the wreckage. Howard stays behind, leaving Vicki and Paul to paddle the raft to the town of Imboca, the only habited place for miles on the course. Once the two leave, strange figures approach the boat...

Searching the town, Paul and Vicki find no one until they enter a church (belonging to the Order of Dagon). The priest is an odd one, but he agrees to help the two. Calling two fishermen, Paul heads back to the boat while Vicki searches for a phone. Paul finds the boat, but no Barbara or Howard. Heading back to town, Paul heads to the single hotel, figuring that Vicki would head there if anywhere. 

He doesn't find her, but he does find a room. His sleep is disturbed by a gathering mob that barely looks human. Fleeing the hotel, Paul takes shelter in a nearby tannery, where he finds what's left of Howard. Setting the place ablaze he stumbles over the town drunk Ezequiel (Francisco Rabal), the closest thing to normal in the whole area. 

While they wait for the mob to disperse, Ezequiel shares some backstory; namely the whole place had been a simple fishing town for ages, but in the past few decades the town's fortunes dwindled to nothing. That was when Dagon arrived. The cult gave the people money, hope, and all it asked for in return was a few lives. The rest of the town found that more than fair.

Paul begs for help, and at length Ezequiel agrees. Going to the mayor's house, they end up alerting the people to their location when Paul tries to hot wire the town's only car. Rushing into the house, Paul finds Uxia (Macarena Gomez), who seem helpful enough, but she seems awfully familiar. Almost like Paul has seen in her a dream...and when he sees her gills, Paul figures that his problems are just beginning...

Again, the story has more to do with "the Shadow over Innsmouth" than "Dagon" but it is a closer adaptation than previous films. Gordon wrings the atmosphere out of the setting. 

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