Russell Marsh, a young, Seattle history professor is called on by his sister to their mother's funeral. Back in his hometown, he has to deal with his past and who he has become, facing his boyhood best friend Mike and his father, the charismatic leader of a New Age cult.
Slowly we, and Russ, are aware of odd things happening within this town. A man on his deathbed knew that Russ would return; his boat house is covered with detailed, yet insane writing; a dream of a stone cudgel results in Russ awakening to find it in his hand -- and soon the town drunk warns it is an instrument of sacrifice; a young liquor store clerk enlists him to help find her brother, whom she believes has been taken by an ancient cult.
In trying to make sense of what is happening, Russ rekindles his childhood romance with his friend Mike and accidentally engages the attentions of sexy seductress Susan (Tori Spelling) in order to get information on the artifact.
As his blinders are slowly stripped away, letting him see the true reality hidden from most, Russ discovers an ancient and sinister evil hidden in this town, and he discovers both his family's, and his own, role in an upcoming apocalypse. Soon he finds himself framed for a boy's murder and is arrested for on the eve of an important night. Soon Russ must decide in what he believes, destiny or his own mind.
While I enjoyed the movie, it is clear that I am one of the very few that did. It was nice seeing a horror movie that was done in a Lovecraftian style (note to horror fans -- look up what this means before you see it) and that used the main character's homosexuality as a pivotal plot point. However those that don't know Lovecraft will find the movie confusing and jarring (actually, everyone will find this). Those that know Lovecraft too well will feel that this was not done strictly in Lovecraft's style. So, the movie is aimed at those that know Lovecraft but don't know his style too intimately.
For most, the plot is confusing and lacks transitions between scenes. Flashbacks, dream sequences and foreshadowing also serve to make the movie more confusing. The first time I saw it I did not like it, only after I explained why this fit a Lovecraftian style did I start to enjoy it.
The main character is openly gay, and does have an important same-sex love interest. The movie does not actually involve Cthulhu, but does seem to involve Dagon, and seems to be based (very loosely) on Shadow over Innsmouth.
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