Eye For Film >> Movies >> John Dies At The End (2012) Film Review
John Dies At The End
Reviewed by: Sophie Monks Kaufman
There are times in life when you just have to think ‘fuck it’. The perfect visual accompaniment to this thought is Don Coscarelli’s film adaptation of David Wong (the editor of Cracked)’s sci-fi horror comedy, John Dies At The End.
Is the title a spoiler or is it a red herring, planted by the Devil himself? There’s no way I’m telling you. To find out whether or not John dies at the end, you’re going to have to donate 100 minutes of your time to a gory buddy-movie that starts with an elaborate and rewarding joke about an axe’s identity and ends with you wondering what’s happened to your perception of reality.
To boil it down to a plot, which is to miss the point somewhat, John Dies At The End is about an undead-fighting duo – the ever baffled Dave (Chase Williamson) and his cocksure friend John (Rob Mayes). At a high-school party Dave meets Robert Marley who introduces him to ‘soy sauce’, a drug that enhances perception to the point of making the user psychic. This is very baffling for the already baffled Dave. Less troubling is the discovery of the lovely, one- handed Amy and her dog, Bark Lee. More troubling is the fact that evil has been unleashed, possibly in connection with soy sauce, and kids are dying and getting possessed all over the shop. Cue: bewildering and schlocky gore.
It may sound like a spurious stream-of-consciousness from someone who’s taken too many drugs in their life, but it’s not. Slick and hilarious editing crank the ridiculousness of already unreal situations off the scale. Dave and John are perfectly po-faced while occasionally, in a wry Buffy style, acknowledging that their universe is not normal. Paul Giamatti – yes, Paul Giamatti – is in the mix as journalist investigating what the hell is going on. The presence of the downbeat character actor merely adds to the surreality on show.
What is masterful and enjoyable about John Dies At The End is not that it merges horror, sci-fi and comedy with relaxed ease but that it does not – even for a second – take itself seriously. To be able to laugh, really laugh, with a film at the confounded, inexplicable and slightly, if you’re generous, philosophical nature of what’s playing out on screen is a rare and refreshing pleasure. See it but, for the love of soy sauce, don’t expect it to make sense.Reviewed on: 16 Oct 2012