A guy named David is telling a reporter guy named Arnie, the story about he and his friend and their involvement and misadventures involving a strange and other-worldly drug, funnily refferred to as “Soy Sauce”. This drug causes all sorts of crazy behaviour, surreal experiences and opens the portal to other worlds and dimensions. The portal, however, opens both ways; this allows those on the other side to enter our planet too.
This movie is strange, and very, very bizzare. John Dies At The End is a film adaptation of the book by the same name. I had not read the book prior to seeing this, but one thing that was unmistakable to me was that this was undoubtedly a film directed by Don Coscarelli, in both look and feel. Don does a lot with little, and its apparent the book have him a lot to work with in that vast creative imagination of his.
John Dies At The End, to me, felt a lot like watching a mix of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure mixed in with some weird Kubrick/Jodorowski surreal-ish stuff. I really enjoyed the scenes in the alternate worlds — probably more than any of the stuff that happens in the earth scenarios.
The special effects were a mixed bag, largely in part to a modest budget, I’m sure. Some of the practical stuff looked great but some of the effects looked ‘cheap’.
There are good performances to watch here in a film as wacky, and at times goofy, as this one. Paul Giamati being in this little film was cool to see, and the actor gives his Grade A performance in this, in my view. The two main friends also perform well and have a good chemistry together. But I couldn’t help thinking – Bill and Ted, the whole time.
John Dies At The End is NOT for everyone. Most people going into it expecting a straight forward story and mainstream Hollywood feel are in for a rude awakening. And either you will love it, or you will hate it. There really is very little middle ground to be had here. Personally, I kind of liked it, but would be lying if I said it didn’t let me down a little bit. Partly due to my huge expectations heading into it, probably. That’d sort of always been the case with Coscarelli films for me; I like certain aspects of them; the creativity and weirdness of the films, but its just never enough to turn me into a huge fanatic of his stuff. My favorite Coscarelli flick is still Bubba-Ho Tep to this day.
John Dies At The End is different. And in a world full of movies coming out that are basically all the same, this is a good thing. It probably warrants a rewatch some day. Check it out. All genre fans should.