John Dies at the End (2012) Poster

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8/10
I expected it to be weird...
sinsecticide27 May 2012
...and it was. I also expected it to be funny, and it was that too. I had not read the book previously and knew nearly nothing about the story, but if you've seen the trailer, that is pretty much adequate preparation for the strangeness you subject yourself to as you watch this movie.

Several scenes are just outright setups for jokes, and if this film was just set em up, knock em down - it would not be worth an 8. What makes this movie better than that is that it is, at it's core - psychotic in the best way possible. You never know if what you are seeing is real or not, and just when you think you couldn't see or handle anything weirder, something hilarious happens to shift gears.
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10/10
Pure Genius
KM_39119 February 2012
When I heard that the director of Bubba Ho-Tep had made a new movie, I had to see it. It was a midnight movie at the Sundance Film Festival, and it did not disappoint. Buckle your seat belt if you get the chance to see this one, because there are lots of twists, turns, and unexpected surprises. If you have a hard time with a story that goes to unexpected places and keeps you on your toes, you may not enjoy "John Dies," but if you appreciate absolutely unfettered creativity and a willingness to include everything but the kitchen sink, then you should run to see this movie. Here you've got mind-bending drugs, time travel, exploding monsters, an alternate universe, and laughs – lots of BIG, all-out laughs – and Paul Giammatti! Far too wacky and weird to ever be mainstream, it's the kind of movie that true film fanatics will always cherish.
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7/10
A cross between NAKED LUNCH and BILL AND TEDS EXCELLENT ADVENTURE.
Michael-Hallows-Eve5 January 2013
This film reminded me a lot of Naked Lunch crossed with Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure in some ways (if you've seen all three of these movies you'll know what I mean). You have a guy (Dave) and his friend (John) who end up stumbling across a drug that opens their minds (both figuratively and literally) to another world. There is some good humor here and some of the scenes make you laugh (the meat man being one). The story is obviously over the top, but that is what makes this film fun to watch. You have to go in to this movie with an open mind (being under the influence might help to) and don't take it too seriously, that being said I can see some people doing just that and they won't get it. It has elements of horror, good old fashioned special effects - some new also, some comedy, and the obligatory nude scene. As I said, some people won't like this movie, but I enjoyed it. Fun to watch, so for that and the reasons I gave earlier, I give this a 7 out of 10.
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10/10
Just went to the Boston Premier at the Brattle
justinmbrooks30 March 2012
this movie proves that there are still FILM MAKERS in genre pictures. In a world full of kissing vampires and "found Footage" crap, "John" bring to the screen what seems to have been lost since great films like Altered States, and Videodrome. it is unapologetic in its movement, and daring with its story. Quite frankly, i felt this movie was giving me a high five the entire time watching it, saying "hell yeah we're going to go to the loony bin together"! i don't think I've seen a film this daring in a long time! and a huge tip of the hat to Paul Giamatti for having such a faith in genre film, i love knowing that the people on the screen weren't just collecting a pay check, but truly wanted to be there. All in all, if you don't have the good sense to let a film take you in exciting new directions than "john" is not for you. If you want to see one of those sparkling little shooting star moments where Hollywood accidentally lets loose an innovative and God forbid ORIGINAL film, than you simply NEED to go see "John Dies", you'll be a better film fan for it!
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10/10
More fun than a box of elephants.
squelcho28 October 2012
I haven't read the book, but I've seen the film. It premiered in the UK a couple of weeks ago as part of the London Film Festival. As a fan of Coscarelli's previous works, I wasn't going to miss a late night screening of this one. I saw about a dozen new films at the festival, but only one came close to being as wonderfully insane as John Dies at the End. I'm not going to throw spoilers, but if you can, try to see this in a cinema with a big sound system. There's as many audio gags as sight gags going on all the way through, and micro hommages to a few dozen cult classics. A very knowing work of art.

As with Bubba Ho-Tep, this film takes a mindbendingly outlandish premise, which through the course of events, and some wonderfully obtuse lateral thinking, persuades the audience that it's perfectly likely to be true. The boisterous audience at the showing I attended was fired up for the absurdism by Don Coscarelli's brief (unannounced) intro from the stage, but there's so many gags in this film that he could easily have taken a back seat and shamelessly guffawed along with the paying punters. If you like old school comedy horror, with a decidedly surreal tinge, go see this film. It's refreshing, but sadly all too rare, to run across a film that doesn't take itself at all seriously, but takes the process of film-making very seriously indeed. Script, cast, design, direction, and production values are integrated seamlessly into a sublime delirium that is much more than the sum of its parts. I can't recommend it highly enough in these gloomy times.

In case you're wondering, Don Coscarelli in person is one very amusing guy, and mercifully lacking in Hollywooden airs and graces.
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10/10
Great casting but rushed plot
panargirou22 January 2013
Having read the novel, I had some prior expectations about the movie. I tried to judge the movie solely on itself, but it's hard to shake what I knew.

Have you ever seen something out of the corner of your eye late at night, but when you turn to look, nothing's there? What if something really was there, and you gained the ability to see those beings? That's what John Dies at the End is about - being able to see those creepy things in the night!

John Dies at the End is told mostly as a story as the main character, Dave, recounts his adventures to a journalist. Those scenes were fantastic. While the setting of the odd Chinese restaurant was a part of this, the character of Arnie was more responsible. Paul Giamatti plays Arnie Blondestone, and he's absolutely perfect for the role. He seems so unimposing and a bit bland while at the same time just a tad odd, which is perfect for the character.

On the subject of casting and acting, all the characters were cast well. Chase Williamson is great as Dave, Rob Mayes plays a good, aloof John (although he looks tougher than I expected), and Clancy Brown is great as Dr. Albert Marconi.

Many things have changed from the book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The story has been greatly condensed with some subplots ignored, some characters removed (or merged), and, unfortunately, some important details missing. While the initial setup and development is great in the first half of the movie even with the condensation, the latter half of the film suffers. There doesn't seem to be enough justification for the characters' actions. Things happen very suddenly at the end, and while some of the changes from the book are fun, it still feels incomplete.

Despite a rushed plot, John Dies at the End was still a terrific movie for people who like slightly cheesy sci-fi or horror films. While I complained about the rushed plot, it's probably not as noticeable to someone who hadn't read the book. John Dies at the End is probably best enjoyed late at night when you're liable to see things in the shadows!
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9/10
From book to screen
pingray15 April 2012
This film is amazing. This movie may only be getting negative reviews from people that didn't read the novel. It's a cult film, I don't expect it to rate well with people outside its genre. The book was EXPLETIVE amazing. I cast Paul Giamatti as Arnie for the visuals in my head as I was reading the novel, long before I heard talk about a movie. Even the guy playing Justin White looked the part. And, of course, Jimmy Wong for Fred Chu was dead on.

There are several differences from the book but that is expected. Writing for screen is different than writing for readers. I think it will be very entertaining for those that enjoyed Jason Pargin's (David Wong) novel.
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6/10
Frustratingly Fractured Plot but It's Got Some Laughs
brando64719 July 2013
I'm not even sure where to start with a movie like JOHN DIES AT THE END. It's one of those movies that just seems destined from the start to be a cult classic, but I'm not so sure. I love a good WTF movie that I can share with friends over a few beers, but a good WTF movie does more than baffle the audience with the bizarre. A good WTF film will have an awesome story (e.g. cyberpunk Nazis on the moon = IRON SKY) and an engaging hero/protagonist (e.g. Rutger Hauer in HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN). Keep in mind, my examples are just movies that I personally enjoy in the WTF genre but the same principles still stand. I can't really agree that JOHN DIES AT THE END has either (much less both) of these qualities. I am a huge fan of Cracked.com and I've been following the site since I first stumbled across it while searching for a time-waster while I worked tech support. Their content is most often hilarious and generally a bit informative too. I'm totally down with supporting their writers in whatever endeavors they pursue if it means more of their excellent product. JOHN DIES AT THE END (written by senior Cracked editor David Wong) is on my shortlist of novels I'm planning on buying from Amazon, but I was excited to find out that a movie would be released in the meantime and that it would be directed by Don Coscarelli. BUBBA HO-TEP is another great WTF film, so naturally I was expecting great things with the movie. The ultimate reality: it falls short of being the movie I wanted, but it has inspired me to move a little faster on picking up the novel.

To start, and you'll probably hear this from anyone who's seen the movie but not read the novel, JOHN DIES AT THE END doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It feels like there's a plot in there…somewhere. I just can't find it. I've uncovered bits of it and pieced it all together but there are still a lot of holes. I've pretty much given up on figuring out the plot in its entirety until I read the book. For now, I only know what I've seen in the movie. David Wong (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) are a couple of stoned losers who encounter a new drug known on the street as 'soy sauce.' Soy sauce has the ability to give its user supernatural abilities that…I don't quite understand. Communicating with the dead…and the future…and other dimensions, I think. And inexplicable knowledge. Anyway, David and John discover an evil plot involving body-snatching white bugs/fuzz and plans of an entity of pure evil from an alternate universe to dominate our world. See what I mean? I'm not even sure. And everything I've read tells me it's explained 100 times better in the novel, so I haven't given up hope. But, as a movie, it's lacking. Honestly, my interest waned around the time David was kidnapped by an annoying ghetto white kid (Jonny Weston) and the detective investigating the weird goings-on (Glynn Turman) went totally mental.

And that's the big problem here: weirdness without any sort of context becomes dull real fast. For the first 45 minutes of the movie or so, I was loving it. The meat monster, the ominous Jamaican, the messed-up/dark sense of humor to the whole thing…it was great. But once the "story" kicked into gear, I lost it. The best way to describe JOHN DIES AT THE END is this: it feels like a 100-minute trailer for a really awesome six-hour movie. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on here and the whole movie feels like it's on the verge of greatness but it never pays off. There's a lot of cool stuff that's introduced or mentioned and never fully explored. What was the deal with Roger North (Doug Jones)? And what about the alien slug with teeth that appeared three times in the movie? Was it a tool of good or evil? How exactly did Korrok's plan (Korrok being the ultimate evil entity from an alternate universe) involve the body-snatching bugs? If Dr. Marconi (Clancy Brown) was so awesome, why wasn't the movie about HIM saving the world? Seriously. Marconi was probably the coolest character in the whole movie and he's the most wasted. Brown gets higher billing than Paul Giamatti in the movie but he's only in it for about 5 minutes. What's the point of his character? He's stone-cold awesome in the few instances we see him in action, but we send David and John to help save the world? Where did the soy sauce come from? Is it a creation of Korrok? Did it have anything to do with the white bug swarms or not, because I'm getting mixed signals.

More questions than answers with the plot, but at least some of the humor works well. Chase Williamson is pretty decent as David Wong and Rob Hayes did a great job, but I think a lot of fans of Cracked might agree that this movie would've been exponentially funnier if Daniel O'Brien and Michael Swaim had been cast in the lead roles. People who aren't followers of Cracked won't know who those two are, but it couldn't have hurt the movie's success seeing as how the release was so low-key to begin with. JOHN DIES AT THE END is a mildly entertaining distraction that will frustrate anyone in the market for a solid story but there are some good laughs to be had. If anything, I can say it's got me that much more interested in reading the book.
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5/10
An ambitious mess
Fluke_Skywalker11 July 2013
'John Dies at the End' is like the Matrix. One cannot be told what it is. They must see it for themselves. Veering wildly between inspired and tedious, it ultimately comes off like a (very) strange mish-mash of better and more coherent films like 'Ghostbusters', 'Dude, where's my car?', 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adenture', 'Big Trouble in Little China' and the TV show 'Supernatural'.

Director Don Coscarelli ('Phantasm', 'The Beastmaster', 'Bubba Ho-Tep') is the king of quirky cult cinema, and he's certainly in his element here. But the increasingly odd plot mechanics at play in 'John' are beyond even his skill to corral into something approaching entertainment.

'John Dies at the End' is not a good film, but it's so *odd* that I feel I have to recommend it for the experience alone.
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5/10
It runs of out steam after a good start
zentist-563-9769862 January 2013
Like many independent movies, this one has a interesting idea at its base and some fairly decent acting but runs out of steam far too early. The end is almost Austin Powers like (i.e. silly). The technical quality fairly good but it is never able to get over the weak story line in the second part of the movie. I imagine Paul Giamatti's involvement was to lend a bit of credibility to the project. However, it is fairly clear that his scenes were shot in a single day (all are in the same Chinese restaurant), so the result is actually the reverse since the commercial motive of the casting is so evident. To sum up, they had me interested at the start and hopeful in the middle but bored and disappointed at the end.
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7/10
Fun and delightfully weird book adaptation from Don Coscarelli
jaguiar31327 December 2012
John Dies At The End is an adaptation of David Wong's book of the same name written and directed by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep). While not familiar with the book, the bizarre and surreal story does seem like a perfect fit for Coscarelli as his films have alway had a touch of both the surreal and a bit of offbeat whimsy. The film starts out with David Wong (Chase Williamson) telling his bizarre tale to a reporter, Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti). Wong starts to spin a tale involving himself and his friend, John (Rob Mayes) and their encounters with a powerful drug with a mind of it's own called "soy sauce". This bizarre narcotic not only gives the user (if they survive it) heightened psychic awareness but, opens doorways to alternate dimensions. But, once doors are opened they are opened both ways and can John and David stop the beings from the other side from entering our world and making it their own. John Dies is a very strange yet amusing head trip of a movie that won't appeal to everyone but, under Coscarelli's guidance, will entertain those who like a movie that isn't afraid to be weird and unconventional. Coscarelli moves things along briskly and we find out what's going on along with David and John as the story unfolds in flashback. The story focuses mostly on David as he's is trying to find out how his friend John's sudden bizarre behavior one night ties in with meeting a very strange Jamaican (Tai Bennett). As he tries to figure out the surreal occurrences now happening around him, he is drawn into a tale that is the stuff of hallucinogenic nightmares and it becomes a quest for he and John to save the world. Coscarelli wisely uses live effects for most of his surreal sequences and otherworldly creatures and what little digital effects there are, are used sparingly and are decent enough. The live action animatronic creatures and gore are very well done by Make-up FX master Robert Kurtzman and his team. Coscarelli is one of those filmmakers that is very adept at making good use of a small budget and probably would be lost on a Hollywood blockbuster and it is one of the things I like about him as a filmmaker. And here he achieves a lot of visual impact on his small budget. The director has also cast the film well,too. No great performances but, everyone is efficient and effective in their roles and approach the material with appropriate seriousness but, not without a few winks at the audience. Clancy Brown in particular seems to be having fun as a TV mystic but, keeps his performance grounded enough to not spill into camp. And there is a delightful cameo from Phantasm's Tall Man, Angus Scrimm as well, to please fans of that series. All in all, this isn't everyone's cup of tea but, if you like stuff offbeat and a bit out there, and I do, then this is a fun low budget fantasy that is refreshingly and unapologetically weird in a good way.
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Hope dies in the middle
sebpopcorn20 January 2013
This movie has one good idea; a drug that lets you see beyond reality. Sadly though, that's it. The rest of the movie is just a badly told mess with no real ideas and a somewhat irritating cheap look about it. I have to be honest I really couldn't be bothered to watch it to the end. It has none of the consistency or style of a movie like for example "from beyond" which tells a similar story but makes it watchable. There's a couple of mildly amusing bits, but they are right at the start and from there on the film goes nowhere.

It's a shame because it did initially look interesting. Although billed as a comedy there are very few attempts to make you laugh. Depressingly the first review on IMDb I saw for it predictably described it as genius.
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1/10
Guess I don't do enough drugs...
imapotato197522 July 2013
I really couldn't make it through this unfunny,non scary comedy horror film. One of two films I actually shut off in recent memory (other being the horrible Burt Wonderstone) Then again, doubt I am in the demographic and was not lighting a bong every 30 minutes. What I can say, is that the sloppy jump cuts, the inaccuracies of camera angles with character interaction and the HORRIBLE acting makes this one of the few 1's I have ever given out to a movie. You can show closeup of vomit...but can't have an actor show consistency in different shots.

The bad acting is apparent from having Paul Giamatti in the film. Giamatti is a good actor, yet he shines in this and using him as the measuring tool, one can see the two male leads as very community theater-ish.

If you like 'stoner films' I would assume you'll love this, if you are looking for something unique, this isn't it
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1/10
A sorry mess
oecobius3 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This flick starts out with an interesting premise about a mysterious drug that lends its users superpowers but seems to have a mind and will of its own. That plot is shafted about a third of the way into the film in favor of one gimmick after another, each more cliché and unfunny than the last.

Before the concept of the drug is even introduced, though, I was annoyed by the protagonists--two effete, whitebread nobodies trying too hard to be clever. I tried to ignore the obnoxious leads when the movie gave us a few intriguing and clever concepts, but it rapidly devolved into a dull, pandering non-story filled with incredibly lazy dick jokes. Overall, the movie feels like a modern follow-up to crap like "Dude, Where's My Car" and "Little Nicky".

The script forgets it has a plot and is a disjointed string of chapters connected only by the dislikable characters. If you just want to see some low-budget special effects and 2 or 3 heads exploding, this movie will make decent filler. If you want to be entertained or thrilled, skip it.

The film also introduces a chick who joins the two losers on their adventures, but her character is never developed, and she's just there for the pandering, rather sexist wish-fulfilment cliché of "boring pothead miraculously has a hot girlfriend." And speaking of clichés, all the minority characters die (even though the titular John survives).
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6/10
All of the "style" with none of the "substance"...
andrew-w-christman21 October 2012
Just caught an early screening of JDaTE at the Philly Film Festival... and I can't say I wasn't disappointed.

The book is one of my favorites, so needless to say I loved the source material and was especially amped for the film having just finished the John and Dave sequel, This Book is Full of Spider. I also really enjoyed Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep and thought he would be a great director for this franchise.

So where did it all go wrong? And what did it do well enough to still garner a 6 or 6.5 rating?

For starters, the acting was very good; especially for relying on two unknowns to carry the picture. Both Williamson and Mayes really nailed their roles down to the smallest idiosyncrasies of character. Paul Giamatti was his usual, solid self and everyone else either died quick enough or had their character lobotomized so much, that their performances didn't really matter.

The film also did a great job of harnessing the bodily humor and slacker hi-jinx that made JDaTE such a hilarious novel.

Which leads me to where they failed... one of the biggest shortcomings has to do with a deficiency of the novel, which is pacing. JDaTE is really a few stories woven together by a thin overarching plot. Coscarelli stayed almost 100% faithful to the source material, but just lifted different scenes from each segment of the story and patchwork it into one nearly nonsensical film (this is a very apparent problem, since once the movie deviates from the order of the book, things start to really go down the tube.)

Being a fan of the book, I have to wonder why Coscarelli didn't just stick to the first "story" that ends in Las Vegas. Instead we get elements of other parts, including a kind of cheesy and dumbed down version of Korrok.

Along the way basically all character development aside from Dave get shaved out of the story, the biggest being the awful portrayal of Amy... who was nothing more than eye candy in the film (a fresh feature of the novel was her joyfully written character, who was 1000x more attractive despite being described as looking plain.)

But plot and character wasn't the only things that Coscarelli short changed. For a horror comedy, there was little to no horror! One of the spectacular qualities of the novel was the ability to scare you one moment and have you laughing out loud the next. The adaptation was really a one trick pony, a comedy with monsters.

So I'm going to be one of those guys and recommend that you skip the movie and check out the book. If you've already read Wong's work (Jason Pargin) check it out and enjoy it for the fun cheese factor, but don't expect anywhere near the depth that the novel provides.
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6/10
Expected more
eric_ems16 January 2013
As a long time fan of JDaTE I had followed the making of the movie for some time and was really excited that it was not only finished, but could also be streamed before it's even in theaters. Having known the financial constraints they had to work with and expecting some changes in the adaptation process I was still very underwhelmed after watching.

As a stand-alone movie, it's worth a watch - the acting is good, the effects are decent, and it's fun. As a book adaptation it's really disappointing. When it boils down to it, this is pretty much just random parts of the book mashed together with a lot of details (including some pretty major ones) changed to make it (kind of) flow together. Rather than take the clearly-defined first part of the book and loosely adapt it, they took the whole book as only someone with extreme ADD could read it then mash it together as only the same person could watch it. There is so much amazing material that was wasted here while simultaneously ruining any chance of a sequel that isn't as hacked together as this that I want to kick a puppy and cry myself to sleep. I almost wish they'd changed even more stuff (Bark-Lee and Amy NotHerLastName were a good start) and just totally disassociated it with the book - they honestly wouldn't have had to go much further with it and I could still dream of a real JDaTE movie getting made.
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6/10
Mall of the Dead
ferguson-610 February 2013
Greetings again from the darkness. It's been more than a decade since writer/director Don Coscarelli added quirky humor to his toy box with the wonderful Bubba Ho-Tep. Previously Coscarelli was known for his classic horror franchise that started in 1979 with Phantasm (and three sequels). Coscarelli has a real knack for oddball humor and along with the source material from David Wong's book, he delivers a comical, cross-dimension, alien-fighting, time travel buddy film that draws recollections to Men in Black 3, Big Trouble in Little China, and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

Coscarelli has had his opportunities to join "big budget" Hollywood, but has always chosen to remain true to his roots in horror/fantasy for his loyal followers, resulting in many cult films and midnight movie favorites. In this newest story, Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) are slacker buddies who end up feeling the effects of a new street drug called soy sauce. The story is told in semi-flashback form as Dave meets with a reporter played by the great Paul Giamatti. As Dave tells the story, we get the visuals as if they were currently happening. This works because it's never really clear when we are in the present, past or future.

This is one big fun and entertaining ride if you let it be. Terrific characters are provided by Clancy Brown (Shawshank Redemption) as Marconi, some type of powerful mystic (or something else); Glynn Turman as a relentless, yet beaten down detective; Doug Jones (Pan's Labrynth) in yet another creepy role; and Fabianne Therese as Amy, whose missing limb plays a vital role.

Further analysis would prove meaningless as the sole purpose of this film is to entertain and engage. It's escapism at its finest and yet another creative gem from Don Cascarelli.
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10/10
Wow. Wow. Wow.
BandSAboutMovies29 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I have no idea how to even start discussing this movie, other than to tell you that it's all over the place narrative and insane concepts make it a film that seems created for a target audience of one - me.

Written and directed by Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli and based on the book by David Wong, this film feels nearly impenetrable and like the kind of movie that you need to be on soy sauce, the drug from the film, to comprehend.

Coscarelli found the story by accident. He says, "True story: I received an email from a robot on Amazon.com, and it told me if I liked the zombie book I just read, that I would like John Dies at the End. I read the little logline, and it was just amazingly strange. I thought, 'Well this might even make a good movie.' Plus, it had arguably the greatest title in motion picture history."

The film begins with David Wong pondering whether an axe he has used to kill a skinhead who keeps coming back from the dead is the same axe because it has a new head every time. Immediately, you know that this film has no interest in slowing down or worrying if you're not getting it.

David goes to meet Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti, Private Parts), a reporter who wants to know about the strange events that make up David and his friend John's lives. It turns out that awhile back, David saved his friend Amy's dog, Bark Lee, after he bit a Jamaican drug dealer.

Later, John is given the soy sauce drug by that very same drug dealer. Soy sauce opens the mind to things no one else can see, as well putting whoever uses it into alternate realities. That's proved right away when a past version of John begins calling Dave and guiding him. Then the syringe full of the drug bites Dave and sends him through a whole bunch of other timelines.

Soon, Detective Lawrence Appleton questions John and Dave, because everyone that was at the drug dealer's house has either disappeared or died violently. The reporter says that everything is a lie at this point, but Dave shows him a monster that convinces him to stay.

What follows is an adventure that includes celebrity exorcist Albert Marconi who gives the boys an LSD bomb to stop Korrok, an ancient biological superintelligence that has become a god inside another reality that prefers to communicate via cartoons, as well as a side journey to a future where John and Dave are the messiahs that will free Earth from a deadly plague. However, our heroes want nothing to do with any of this, preferring to play basketball.

And what happens with that newspaper interview? Does John die at the end? Can a dog save reality? I really don't want to spoil any of this for you.

I was completely entertained by this movie, but it's one of those ones that I have trouble telling others about. There are long stretches of talky dialogue that demand that you pay attention to the film. This isn't background noise, but something that demands to be experienced. For those looking for something original and willing to make the commitment, I can offer no higher recommendation.
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10/10
who is giving this movie a bad review?
juicymeatybeefy9 January 2013
i have not read this book, but after seeing the movie i want to. when i first saw it with little knowledge of what it was about i was taken back to that feeling of watching something you know is great like a favorite movie. And yes this has became one of my favorite movies of all time, definitely in the top 10, if not top 5. This movie plays in select theaters in February so I'm willing to say that this is the best movie of 2013...so far. but to be truly honest i think this is the best movie I've seen in years. There is no way that this movie isn't becoming an instant cult classic. Already i see reviews of people that didn't like or get the story, who thought it was too confusing, who thought the special effects looked cheap, who didn't like the drug references, who just plain didn't understand it. it was funny, action pact and purposely cheesy in all the right places. this is the kind of movie that has a strong opening, a few good twist in the middle and a surprise you don't see coming in the end. I'm already recommending it to my friends. and you should do the same. Screw all the HATERS. i don't care if you give this movie a bad review, just as long as you don't take the opportunity to watch this film from others. EVERYONE GO SEE THIS FILM!!!!!!!
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1/10
The movie died at the beginning
tristan-992-8824061 January 2013
I'm a fan of good horror and sci-fi, but this was bad. Really bad. It's like B grade 80's stuff with a ranting script. Itwas like watching a drug addict talk for an hour and a half. This movie was so disjointed - nothing ran smoothly or coherently. It's based on a book, so I have no idea why it wasn't planned out better. Also the CG was really bad - the overall movie felt like it was done on an extremely low budget.

I felt like I had to write a review on it, because the rating is way to high for what it really is. I'm sure the score has been manipulated - there is no way anyone would think this is higher than a four at best. Don't bother with it unless you're really bored.
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10/10
Good movie. Disappointed.
laballatician27 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Not a bad movie, but just not what the book deserved.

First I want to say that I have nothing but respect for the people involved. I think Don is an awesome director (LOVE Bubba Ho Tep and Phantasm is the stuff), but this book just needed a bigger budget and this movie didn't have it.

I'm just going to get into my problems with the movie:

Bark Lee? Why? Such a silly unnecessary change. Molly is now a boy dog named Bark Lee? I don't get it. Not a major change, but I just don't see the need.

No Las Vegas. Nobody shifting out of existence. In transferring a book to film, obviously things need to be cut. But this is a short movie, and I'm just overall disappointed that my favorite book didn't end up getting a big-budget, big-event kind of movie. If so, maybe we would have gotten Vegas and more.

Which is really one of my overall disappointments with the film. Again, not a disrespect to the people who made this film. The budget just didn't exist, and I'm glad we have a movie, but I'd hoped for a bigger deal. The special effects are impressive for the budget, but JDATE could have been so much more.

Amy is now Jennifer Lopez. And Amy is also pretty much a non-character. Her whole section from the book, which was my favorite and really creepy, is completely gone. No bags of goo. Amy in the movie makes zero impact.

No Dave in the shed! This one kind of really annoys me. This should have been in the movie. I'd love to hear an explanation as to why it's not. Actually, I bet the explanation would really annoy me. I think it's a bold place to go and someone didn't think audiences would "get" it. The running time could have certainly handled this aspect. Why do you bother with the whole ax analogy? Why is THAT in the movie but not the ACTUAL POINT behind it?

Like I said, the movie pretty much removes the entire middle section, which is a waste since that's some of the more interesting stuff and the characters suffer. We don't really get to know Dave or John or any of the characters. We like them, which is a relief. Chase Williamson is a fantastic Dave. I wish we could have seen a bit more of his story. The bullying story isn't here. We don't see much of him and Amy until all of a sudden she's his girlfriend.

So obviously I had my problems with the movie. I'm clearly a fan of the book and it tainted my view of the movie 100%. I think people will enjoy this movie if they haven't read the book. I think people will enjoy this movie if they have read the book. I totally own up to the fact that I had higher expectations for this movie. I would have loved for this movie to have had no limitations while being made, but that wasn't the case. And what we have is a fun movie, so don't let my ranting deter you. Check it out for yourself.
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10/10
496 Pages crammed into 1 hour and 48 minutes
darkmooninc29 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm biased. See, I come from both worlds. Writing books and shooting film. I know the ins and outs of both mediums. I also know the torrid love affair between them.

I'm also biased and unreliable because I love just about everything I ever see.

John Dies at the End was an amazing book. It changed my entire perspective on writing and narrative. It's been a while since I'd been impacted in this fashion. Memorably discovering Palahniuk, falling in love with House of Leaves, and recently the experience that was Cabin in the Woods. I could rant on about this book and it's superior sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders (Seriously Dude Don't Touch It).

A movie, however, is a different matter. We do have a master of low budget cult films, Don Coscarelli. I can't find official budget numbers but it's low. They did bring on some excellent actors for the roles. But there's only so much you can do.

You have 496 pages of novel being shoved into a film with a runtime of 1h48m. Imagine that. Imagine the first Fellowship of the Ring cut to an a hour and a half film. So you can see a reviewer's plight.

They kept to the source material as closely as possible. And you get the feeling that wherever they changed the story, obviously limited by budget restrictions, that each scene got the thumbs up from David Wong himself. So if you loved the book, it's not a bad movie. It's just a truncated version of the book.

If you have never read the book, you're being compromised. It's like you're watching the Cliff Notes. It is low budget, it is hard to keep up with if you easily get lost. And, in probably my favorite feature to see in any film like this; it never bothers to stop and consul the audience in it's absurdity. No monologue explanations, no insert character to help the audience adjust. Just a gaze into the strange world of these characters. In the book they have dozens of pages to go in depth and explain things. But with a short runtime they just go for it and hope for you to hold on.

I love this movie. It made me laugh every few minutes and reminded me of why I love early Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson. I showed it to several friends who've never experienced the source material, and they loved it. Though they may not count as they also loved stuff like Idle Hands and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. Your mileage may vary.

In the end, the film feels like a great extras edition to the book, like a bonus. Like Scot Pilgrim Versus the World and Watchmen, we're really stuck with the best version we could get to film. Unlike those two films, John Dies at the End suffers from a low budget and it shows in how truncated the story has become. We're lucky we got a film at all.

*** This section may contain spoilers ***

SPOILER: Does John actually die at the end?

John dies in the same way Schrödinger's cat dies.
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6/10
You could live without viewing this film
necromancer-cm1 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
John Dies At The End Upon seeing the face of Paul Giamatti depicted on the poster for this film, I decided: "Why not?" It's a film adaptation of David Wong's book and the trailer doesn't give too much away, while still grabbing your attention.

So, let's start with my pre-viewing thought: "I wonder how they are going to play with the fact that they tell us 'John' will die at the end, while still keeping the element of suspense the film seems to hint at having!" Those of you who have seen this will know, John does not die at the end. What a waste of a great title. This was the worst thing for me. But now that it's out of the way, I can focus on why this film wasn't all that bad.

Starting the low-budget (which is, unfortunately, frightfully apparent, but at least they try and work off it!) 'flick', we are met with a charming little riddle, although, I reckon, most got it in the first few seconds. This really did set the mood however, a dreary atmosphere of doubt and slight confusion is well-drawn from the books by the adaptation. Following this we saw the duo of practically non-existent actors - surprisingly well cast for the part - fighting supernatural apparitions and such like. The best spots of acting really came from both Clancy Brown (or Victor Kruger as many will know him) and Giamatti, with a surprisingly short but enjoyable cameo (we'll call it) from Kevin Michael Richardson as 'Korrok': the eye thingy; which is really all I can call it without giving anything away.

Now add a drug called 'Soy Sauce' (or 'The Sauce' as it is often referred to) and we have a half-decent film. The exclusion of CGI, for the most part, was welcome due to the film's real reversion to how things used to be done, showing that we can make them like we used to. There were some sections of the film which used CGI and, therefore, I can see why they chose to refrain from it's use; it's no 'Lord of the Rings'.

Attempting to mirror those fun qualities one can find in films like 'The Evil Dead' and 'Faust' (1926) we can see the angle with which the director, Don Coscarelli, attempted to tackle this film, but it really isn't one of his best.

I can't believe I'm saying this again, but, it just did not live up to the book, nor to other Coscarelli films such as 'Phantasm' and 'Bubba Ho-Tep'. Read the book first. Then, if you like, watch the film. It isn't bad but its not great either, nor is it 'one for the experience'. You could most certainly live without watching this film but it isn't one you will regret spending the time to watch.
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2/10
Waste of time
pedrotaquelim18 January 2013
1. first minutes of hope and then... very, very poor. Very, very poor jokes. No fun at all. 2. Waste of time. 3. I don't have a clue what Paul Giamatti is doing in this mess of a film... aaa... movie. Over and out. OK, because there's is nothing else to talk about this thing I must fill out the minimum 10 lines of text because internet movie data base says so. Must fill out the 10 lines of review text. Not worth my time. I'm almost giving up of writing this "review". Is it enough now? grrr, not yet. What else can I say? Paul Giamatti, what did they offer you in return? A place in paradise? 7 virgins? Are there 7 or 9 virgins in there? And are they waiting for you? Can you be totally sure of that? OK.
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1/10
Crap pothead movie
miltruiz5066 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I subscribed to Cracked.com and I know from that experience that David Wong is a crap writer. At least he has the decency to not write that many articles, so the site is fair as far as comedy. The main columnists seem to be leaving, and the site seems to have lost its way. I read like 3 pages of the book before deciding I didn't want to read anymore. I thought, OK, I'll watch the movie. Disaster. The special effects are very generic, and stupid. There are exactly two good actors in the whole movie: Paul Giamatti, who must be going "goddamnit, I can't even get arrested in this town anymore!" And Jimmy Wong, brother of his more famous brother Freddie, and he's a much better musician than he is an actor. He must think "maybe I can get arrested in this town now." Sorry, no. This is the kind of movie you can only enjoy while extremely high. Not my bag. One star. Would be zero stars if I could choose that.
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