Paul (Ezra Godden) and Bárbara (Raquel Meroño) are a high-flying couple holidaying in a yacht off the coast of Spain with friends. When their boat is caught in a storm and impaled on a rock, they are forced to head to a small town along the shore to find help. What the couple find there is a community populated by strange, pale-skinned people who shuffle around mumbling in their own language; pretty soon they are fighting for their lives as they learn that the townsfolk are slowly mutating into hideous water creatures, and that they are intended as the next sacrifice to the ancient fish-god Dagon.
This was a long cherished project for HP Lovecraft-nut Stuart Gordon. His adaptation of Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth (the title Dagon actually comes from different story) was originally intended to be his third film following Re-Animator and From Beyond, but budgetary constraints kept the project on ice. Fifteen years later, and with pal Brian Yuzna's Spanish-based production company Fantastic Factory stumping up the dough, Gordon finally realises his vision; sadly, and while not entirely without merit, it does prove somewhat flat and uninvolving.
The chief problem here is that once the situation has been explained to our hapless heroes — ie these people are half-fish and they want to kill you — there's nothing else for them to do but run around in the rain trying to avoid being caught. Ezra Godden proves an irritating leading man, providing Bruce Campbell-style quips where he should just be playing it shit-scared, while Raquel Meroño looks great but can't act for haddock. The big saving grace is Macarena Gomez, playing the tentacled fish queen Uxia, whose extraordinary saucer-eyed face makes her a dead-ringer for Barbara Steele.
The production design on the oppressive, water-logged town is good, and this being a Gordon/Lovecraft movie, there's some nasty gore and gratuitous nudity, as well as some ill-advised CGI. But despite a screenplay from Re-Animator scribe Dennis Paoli, there's little humour or particularly likable characters. Disappointing.
American director of horror and sci-fi, who made his debut in 1985 with Re-Animator, following 15 years working in theatre in Chicago. This HP Lovecraft adaptation was a spectacular mix of chills, black comedy and inventive splatter, but while it still remains his best film, the likes of From Beyond, Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, Space Truckers and Dagon do have their moments. He followed these with the David Mamet adaptation Edmond and true crime-inspired Stuck. Gordon also wrote the story for the box office smash Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.