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Review Dagon (2001): A very deep one, get it?

genre: horror, mystery, fantasy

Dagon might not be a title that will ring a bell. At least not to the common horror fan. But what if I told you that it easily is one of the best horror films ever made. Is it perfect? Far from it. To be honest if you want to tear this film apart it has more than enough flaws to speak out against it. However it does contain elements that completely make you overlook all of these flaws.

First of all, Dagon is quite relentless when it comes to atmosphere and terror. It never wastes a second of film to give you the elements that make the stories of Lovecraft so great. I can't quite put my finger on it but director Stuart Gordon very masterfully combines body horror with the true and subtle kind of horror. Perhaps one could argue it could and should have been more subtle. On the other hand there is no point in being careful since the main characters are stuck and can't actually flee from the island they land on. It doesn't really matter that there are monsters at play. They aren't really the ones that are causing the terror. It's the invincible force at play directing evens from afar. And who is this invincible force? Dagon as mentioned in the title or Cthulhu the deep one? I will leave it up to you but I think it's quite obvious. Now undoubtedly this film might have started some wild discussions among Lovecraft ones whether Dagon and Cthulhu are the same. It doesn't help that this film combines two different Lovecraft tales (Dagon and The Shadow Over Innsmouth) which adds to the confusion. However it only adds to the terror since the seemingly unrelated story elements do intensify the events.

It's important to realize this is a Spanish film directed by an American director. This combo is golden. Especially since some of the actors do shine and amp up the eeriness to the maximum. Macarena Gómez (who you might know from Musarañas a.k.a. Shrew's Nest)  is a prime example of dangerous sexiness. Still, the real scene stealer is, Francisco Rabal, as Ezequiel who makes everything truly compelling by explaining what is going on and what is at stake. Like how easily an existing religion gets discarded by greed and vanity. Raquel Meroño as Bárbara plays a woman who is not only intelligent and crafty she also is not afraid to kick ass when it counts the most. 

If like me you weren't sure about this title then fear not. Dagon gives you the full lovecraftian horror experience and then some. A must watch!

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