John Dies at the End – 3 out of 5
I never read David Wong’s book this film is based on but when I saw the trailer I thought that the movie looked like a dark journey into insanity and I really wanted to see and experience it…but not read about it though. I’m an American and reading is for losers! (Just kidding, kids. Reading is FUNdamental!)
|I've been there, buddy.|
John Dies at the End, aside from having one of the best titles I’ve ever seen, tells the story of Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) who find themselves suddenly thrown into a battle for our dimension as a new, self-aware drug nicknamed soy sauce has hit the streets. The effects of the drug, as seen in John and Dave, are heightened awareness to the point of near pre-cognition and, in others,…death. After sampling soy sauce, the two buds find themselves caught up in a mission to stop evil creatures from getting into their dimension and destroying their world. The lesson here…don’t do drugs, kids, because you may have to battle some monsters later because of them.
|Jesus Chocolate-covered Christ! What the hell is that thing?|
Don't do drugs, kids. These type of things always end up showing up.
JDATE—wait, better not shorten the title to an acronym because it now looks like J-Date—John Dies at the End is one of those films that never really does anything wrong but doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot right either. The movie is straight-on, middle-of-the-road in its presentation. The film constantly jumps from good to bad from great to cheap. One second the movie will look like a great dark comedy with a decent budget released under the radar for the theaters and the next second it looks like an Asylum picture released to your nearest Redbox and Wal-mart 5 dollar bin.
|If there's a problem that can't be solved with a bat with nails in it then that|
problem is impossible to solve.
|Giamatti: Making movies better with his presence|
|That man's face was clearly carved from a piece of wood.|
Even the performances are constantly jumping the spectrum of good and cheap. Overall, there are some great performances from the likes of Mayes as John, as well as Paul Giamatti as Arnie Blondestone (which is totally a name that should belong to a wizard); the man Dave is telling his story to throughout the running length of the story, and a man too cool to exist; Clancy Brown, but the main character of Dave—played by Chase Williamson—is delivered in a very unbalanced way.
|But it was nice to see Doug Jones and all his skeleton-like features not|
being covered by make-up and prosthetics.
Right off the bat, Williamson really brings forth something great in the movie and I thought he was spectacular but as the film progresses, he jumps back and forth from really great acting to overacting to “why bother trying, I got my paycheck.” With each scene he’s in is a roll of the dice to see if he’ll be something to watch or something to forget.
|"You'll have to speak up, I'm speaking into a bratwurst."|
While this jumping back and forth of quality in the film can be distracting (even the editing went from really tight, dynamic stuff to questioning if the editor had a stroke while doing it as the computer simultaneously suffered a fatal attack from a virus while the film was rendering) it doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable and interesting in its dark, quirky way—it just keeps it from being something more than a film I will only watch once and, most likely, never watch again.
|Admit it, that skull helmet is the only reason you wanted to see this movie.|
John Dies at the End is entertaining—the story is so effed up and strange that even if you weren’t consume illicit materials the film can somehow cause a drug trip and even though it has its issues, it’s still entertaining to experience. Hell, it even makes me want to read Wong’s book—remember kids, reading is fun and helps stop you from being an imagination-less monster…also don’t do drugs.
|Unless Clancy Brown tells you to do drugs and then, by all means, you fucking|
do them!!! He's just that cool, people.