21 Dec 2013

'John Dies at the End' Review

*Spoiler Alert* John dies at the End

Director: Don Coscarelli
Writer: Don Coscarelli, David Wong
Stars: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti
Running Time: 99 minutes
Sub-Genre: Comedy, Supernatural, Fantasy
Release: January 2013

It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.

Did you ever just say to yourself when the first Cabin in the Woods rip-off was going to spawn? Well I did, and I knew the day would come when a worn-down, weak version would come along and snatch up the ingeniousness of it and use it to its advantage. That film is John Dies at the End, and completely bonkers yet clunky mess that is the the result of blending The Cabin in the Woods, Inception and Men in Black all into one. Sure, this sounds promising, but too much material can cause a clutter which is the reason why a lot of films failed. John Died at the End is ambitious, but it is too unfocused and jammed for the narrative to unfold with success, therefore by the end up it has become a big yet inspired mess.

It's lathered in fresh source material and strong narrative display, which works strongly in the first act, but once the ball starts rolling, we find ourselves watching something that resembles the obscurity and pace of the typical Resident Evil spin-off game. Perhaps John Dies at the End should have been made into a console game, that fantasy style obviously belongs to the gamers, so it becomes clear that there is simply not enough time to cram all the material into the guts of an hour and a half. Coscarelli has done so as seen here with the film, but it doesn't work, therefore we get a rushed narrative structure that doesn't get the time to rise and take effect.

The first act is dominant and gleefully twisted, but once the second act hits the film takes a beating once it looses control of the action, characters and plot. Everything feels half-baked, including the CGI that is poorly constructed and displayed, there are a lot of worthy practical effects at work, but when CGI starts to dominate you can't help but feel as if you were better off watching something else. The acting is fine despite the slump central performance from Chase Williamson; for a vibrant film, the acting is very much grounded and worthless. It goes without saying that he was strong during the first act which seen a fantastic opening sequence that built up for something spectacular, but while the film progresses, his enthusiasm decreases. What can I say, he isn't exactly what I would call a "good" main character.

VERDICT: John Dies At The End is a wacky, tacky thrill ride that is bizarrely fun, yet far too ambitious for its own good. It manages to pull out a few tricks, not all of them are treats, and when you are thrown off by the poor final act, you wonder if this vibrant experience was worth it by the end up.


  1. Good review. I think I may have had to be completely and utterly stoned for this to fully work its magic on me.

    1. yeah there was too much to handle, I mean too much of out-of-the-ordinary. I defiantly agree, thanks Dan.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...