Tuesday, May 19, 2015

John Dies at the End (2012)

You’ve got to love a movie that gives you a spoiler right in the title of the film. But Don Coscarelli is one of those directors who enjoys going bold in his films. I heard quite a bit of good buzz about this odd film when it came out. It sounded like an amusing mix of comedy, dark fantasy and a dash of the uncanny. Plus it is from the director of Bubba Ho-tep, which is reason enough for me to check this one out.

Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) are in a bit of a bind. You see they’ve managed to get their hands on a bizarre drug known as soy sauce. Once you take it, the laws of space and time cease to be an issue. Instead you get to experience other dimensions, other times and all kinds of oddball people. Unfortunately, it also has the side effect of trashing reality – so, that could be a small problem.

At first the drug trip seems to be nothing more than surreal. But Dave begins to wonder if what he is seeing is actually occurring. Are aliens really spilling into our dimension Lovecraft style and slowly taking over the earth – or is Dave just really, really high? There isn’t much time to decide because now Dave has a detective hunting him a down, a reporter trying to get his story, and a Las Vegas magician who may actually be able to warp time and space himself. Before it is all over time will be traveled, universes pierced and yes, John Dies at the End. Keep an eye out for appearances by Doug Jones, Clancy Brown, Paul Gamatti and Glynn Turman in key roles.

Good Points:
  • A crazy plot that takes the viewer on a wild ride
  • Some fun and unique performances by the cast
  • Has a few, “Did I just see that?” moments

Bad Points:
  • This movie is strange
  • This movie is strange
  • Yes you read that twice, but did I really write it twice, or are you just high?

Oh boy! Here we have a movie that is not for everyone. It stays true to its style and that style is off center for sure. I enjoyed the twisted and twisting plot, some of the crazy visuals and even the main characters who aren’t quite likable, but in a way it suits the film. But if you are looking for something off the beaten path, with a dark sense of humor and a nonlinear storyline than you’ll have a blast with this movie.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 4
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. Appropriately, the author of the novel “John Dies at the End” doesn’t exist. More accurately, “David Wong” is a pseudonym, the same pseudonym under which Jason Pargin writes for “Cracked.com: “my family, friends, and coworkers didn’t know I had written it, since asking a loved one to read your unfinished manuscript is considered a form of assault in Illinois.”

    He had one of those print-on-demand houses run off a few thousand paperbacks and one of those fell into the hands of Don Coscarelli. The rest is celluloid. (Or – more likely nowadays – a digital video file.) It makes one look more kindly on those houses.

    Yes, this movie will be way too trippy for some, but if you just can go with it you’ll be OK. Also, if I ever get attacked by the meat in my freezer I’ll know what to do.

    1. Oh man, I didn't know the history of this novel. Pretty cool actually. And yes freezer meat is obviously very perilous. :)

  2. I haven't seen this one, but sounds fun enough. I should add it to the queue. I'd forgotten Coscarelli made this. I was a fan of Phantasm and The Beastmaster. His movies were always a bit weird and trippy. This one sounds like it has more of a comedy edge to it. I'll give it a try.

    1. I had a good time with it (obviously). And it took of refreshing and unexpected turns along the way, which is always a welcome thing.

  3. I enjoyed this film immensely. It has a playful vibe to it a la Raimi's EVIL DEAD movies of Stuart Gordon's RE-ANIMATOR. I'm curious to read the book its based on.

    1. Yes! Exactly. There was a very playful feeling to the whole movie. I think everyone involved had a blast making it.