Sundance 2012 Review: JOHN DIES AT THE END

Contributor; Los Angeles
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Sundance 2012 Review: JOHN DIES AT THE END

John Dies at the End is not a movie for everyone. In my opinion, that's a good thing. A film showing at a festival like Sundance should not only be allowed to be different and hold a unique perspective - it should be encouraged. Directed by Don Coscarelli, who you may know as the director as Bubba Ho-Tep and the Phantasm series, John Dies at the End is somewhere between a schlocky, B Movie full of camp (in the best way possible!) and a buddy cop movie. This is all through the lens of some sort of Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo style reporting. It's over the top in every way. Big jokes, big gags, big set pieces, big monsters and bigger than life characters cram their way into every crevice of the 90 minute screen time as if the world was about to end and this was their last chance.

John and Dave are our protagonists. They aren't all that different from you and me except for one thing: they have come across a dark black liquid drug called Soy Sauce that gives them supernatural powers. They start seeing events before they happen which is exciting, but not nearly as exciting as all the monsters they are suddenly aware of living all around them. To go any further into the plot would be futile. This movie is more about the characters, the milieu and the unique tone of the film which alternates between comical and terrifying. No review could possibly express any of that. You're just going to have to see it to get it. 

I would however be remiss if I didn't mention the plot device that wraps around the main story line. Dave is being interviewed by Arnie played by Paul Giamatti. Like every movie he is in, Giamatti brings this film up a notch or two. His grounded performance as a detective who is just as skeptical of the ridiculous story as we, the viewers are, shows just how self-aware the movie is. By knowing that we are being taken on a ride by a cast and crew that knows exactly what is going on, it's so much easier to let go and simply enjoy the madness without questioning the sanity behind it. If you decide to take that ride, I can assure you, it's a fun one!

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Don CoscarelliDavid WongChase WilliamsonRob MayesPaul GiamattiClancy BrownComedyHorrorSci-Fi

More about John Dies At The End

skinnyboy23January 30, 2012 6:28 PM

Please PLEASE tell me that the Vegas scene is in the movie?! That is all I ask for, that part in the book had me literally laughing and giggling out loud!

SaltonerJanuary 31, 2012 11:24 AM

It's weird that no one is mentioning that Paul is a Producer on this as well. He found this script to be so good and trusts Don so much that he put is own money into this. That's a big deal.

Alex KoehneJanuary 31, 2012 1:57 PM

You're very right. I actually did a long interview with Don Coscarelli that covers all that and much more. I'm in the process of transcribing it and should have it up within the next day or so. I figured I'd leave all that info for the interview but I'm glad you pointed it out here because Giamatti is a big Coscarelli fan and was instrumental in getting John Dies at the End made. He was originally going to be in a Bubba Ho-Tep sequel but you'll have to wait for the interview to find out more on that!

SaltonerJanuary 31, 2012 4:49 PM

Post the link when it's finished. Can't wait to read it.

Alex KoehneFebruary 2, 2012 9:46 PM

All I'll say is that there is a lot of great material that didn't make it into this film... but that doesn't mean we won't see more in the future. Check out the interview with Don Coscarelli for more details on that. But not to worry, there is plenty to make you laugh and giggle out loud that made it into the movie.