John Dies At The End
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DVD | Blu-ray
Based on the novel by David Wong aka Jason Pargin
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Starring Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Fabianne Therese
Originally Released: January 23, 2012
If you’re about to watch John Dies At The End, you are about to fall into a glorious universe of ridiculousness and weirdness you’ve not yet experienced. This flick is part Twilight Zone, part X-Files, part horror, part comedy, and all brilliant – from balls to bones, and will be an immediate classic among geeks and horror fans alike.
David Wong, and his friend John Cheese, find themselves entering a completely new realm of reality and unreality when they come across a new drug they dub “The Soy Sauce.” The substance causes them to open up a whole range of perceptions, and provides them the ability to see and experience creatures and things that “normal” people just cannot perceive.
Wong initially believes that the effects of the drug are comparable to that of a bad trip, but he is soon convinced otherwise by a variety of encounters that pull him deeper into a situation he had never anticipated. While adjusting to their new perception of reality and unreality, the pair find themselves on an adventure to cease the destructive power of a (possibly) alien (or not) invading force decimating humans in a style similar to that of a demented and mutated variety of the Ebola virus.
The story begins set in a cheesy, yet stereotypical Chinese restaurant, where Wong meets with journalist Arnie Bloodstone (Paul Giamatti) in an attempt to get his encounters out in print. While the explanations zone in on the overarching plot above, the interaction also recounts a variety of other experiences involving David and John – highlighting that their undertakings go beyond that of the supernatural, but can also be intergalactic or interdimensional.
The performances in John Dies At The End are spectacular. Chase Williamson is stellar as David Wong, exuding the same reluctant charisma present in the original novelization. His interactions with Rob Mayes are fabulous onscreen, showing an impressive chemistry that will be remembered for years to come.
Paul Giamatti is also fantastic as always, with an exciting performance that ties the whole story together. And while the leads are outstanding, their supporting cast is also comparatively good, with Glynn Turman, Clancy Brown, and Fabianne Therese, among others, also putting in exciting roles.
The writing, as the reputation of the film suggests, is rock solid from start to finish; just like the book (though certain deviations are taken that open up some possibilities for future chapters). The movie progresses in an (almost) nonlinear fashion, and introduces a wide range of elements that initially seem to be entirely unrelated to the story. But everything fits into place and comes forward for a specific reason or payoff to happen later in the film, resulting in an exciting and exhilarating culmination, coupled with an excellent pace.
The direction and camera work are exceptional as well. Combined with the spectacular performances mentioned above, and an almost flawless plot, John Dies At The End becomes a compelling viewing experience. It demands your attention in a magnetic fashion, and you dare not turn your eyes away unless you miss something either significant or equally ridiculous and strange.
The effects are not too bad at all, although some of the CGI is a little below par in places. The addition of real effects (rubbery puppet-like spider things) in place of CGI make for a nice touch, providing some homage to the classic sci-fi horror flicks of years gone by. Despite my minor moans, the effects and make-up work nicely in the film in an overall scope and all add to the amazing viewing experience.
But don’t take my word for it. Just queue this one up and watch it for yourself. Prepare to enter a world where the concepts of Stephen King get amalgamated with Douglas Adams, thrown into a TARDIS, and then flung into the fleshiest sci-fi horror you could possibly imagine… and more!
What are you waiting for? Stop reading my ramblings – Go watch it now!
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5