Friday, March 29, 2013

John Dies at the End

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or I have these drugs we can do.

    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
since 1997.
 The film’s special effects, at times, look pretty decent despite it was obvious the budget was small. I wasn’t expecting Avatar-like special effects (read that as, “I wasn’t expecting cartoon cat people that didn’t actually look that good to begin with") but what was given wasn’t that terrible…at times, I should say. The other times the special effects have the “fuck it” appearance and look like they were created with off-the-shelf green screen software someone bought used on Ebay. This overall composite of decent and mediocre special effects made the film look like, in my opinion, a live-action cartoon on Adult Swim filmed in front of a green screen like Saul of the Mole Men or Tim and Eric’s work.

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.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this movie. I would never say that it is a great film deserving a place alongside, say Gone with the Wind. But it was a fun film, and I enjoyed it very much. It too encouraged me to read the book, which made the movie look tame in compairason, all in all thoough an enjoyable story/movie that I would wathc again. The kind of film you have a bunch of buddies over for and drink beer and eat chinese food to.


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