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John Dies At The End (BLU RAY) [Blu-ray]
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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.
- 1080p AVC feature encode
- Feature length commentary with cast & crew
- Deleted Scenes
- Getting Sauced: The making of John Dies at the End
- Creature Corps: The effects of Soy Sauce
- Casting sessions
- Fangoria interview with Paul Giamatti
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It manages to tell a coherent story in itself, while going off on tangents as expected. There is some great low budget use of special effects that looks much better than of it had been attempted with CGI.
Certainly worth a watch, but definitely pick the book up after.
A couple of young fellas (John and David) take a new bizarre drug called Soy Sauce and are gifted/cursed with various strange powers. These include telepathy, time travel and resurrection of the dead. Handy stuff to have really as our heroes are thrown into a convoluted plot where they are tasked with saving the world from a possibly alien species from another dimension. I think. It's a difficult film to summarise as its so bloody bonkers.
The main characters drift through the film from one crazy scenario to the next encountering all manner of other bizarre characters. There are so many ideas being thrown in and various genres are covered. Some of it works and frankly some of it doesn't, some of it makes no sense at all. But for all that its still oddly compelling and entertaining, the sheer invention on display kept me hooked. There's plenty of humour and its certainly not boring, worth a look if you fancy something a bit different.
And that has nothing to do with the plot.
If that doesn't tip you off that "John Dies at the End" is kind of a weird movie, then don't worry -- there are a million other ways it will let you know. This is a mad hybrid of Lovecraftian horror/slacker comedy, operating entirely on its own insane internal logic -- where else can you find a sentient drug, a flying mustache, a skinhead zombie and a Ship of Theseus paradox involving an axe?
As the story opens, David Wong (Chase Williamson) is in a Chinese restaurant, chronicling his adventures with his friend John (Rob Mayes) to a rather skeptical journalist (Paul Giamatti). What are their adventures about? Well, these two ordinary slackers are actually low-level paranormal investigators, dealing with grotesque hellish abominations in their small Midwestern town.
One night, John calls Dave in a paranoid panic, apparently high on some kind of weird black liquid called "soy sauce." Soy sauce is a sentient drug that makes you see things as they truly are, bend time, phone people in he future, etc. When John apparently dies at the police station, Dave ends up being pursued by a suspicious cop with a can of gasoline (Glynn Turman) and a gangsta-wannabe who is possessed by a nameless evil.
Also, a dog is involved. And a doorway into another dimension. And a weird guy who sticks giant alien leeches on Dave. And a TV psychic called Marconi. And an immense technological horror that threatens all worlds. You know, the usual.
As you can tell, "John Dies At The End" is a little hard to summarize, especially since a summary doesn't really address the rich insanity of the world they live in -- I mean, Dave tells us early in the movie that he once saw a kidney "grow tentacles, tear itself out of a ragged hole in his back and go slapping across my kitchen floor." And no, that has nothing to do with the plot either.
Cult director Don Coscarelli plays the events of the movie as being like a slacker comedy, except that these perpetually stoned-looking young men are dealing with icky slimy sucker-faced supernatural horrors. The dialogue is overwhelmed with deadpan humor ("Is there any way that you can steal my body?") and absurdity. The weird just piles up as the movie goes on, and is rarely treated as being anything THAT unusual or shocking -- my sister says it's a world where Lovecraftian madness-from-truth is just the way things are.
Just a warning for fans of David Wong's original novel, though. Coscarelli has to cut out giant chunks of the novel's convoluted plot, which means that occasionally we bump into a subplot/theme that doesn't make much sense on its own (the axe opener).
And yeah, when you look at the movie overall, it's... incredibly weird and confusing. You might have to watch it a few times before your brain hits the right notes. Or, if the soy sauce turned into a fly and flew into your mouth, you might already understand it.
Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are a pretty fun pair of characters -- they're very matter-of-fact about all the weird stuff they do, both as the stone-faced Dave and the somewhat more manic John. And they're backed by equally off-kilter performances by Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Doug Jones, Fabianne Therese, Jimmy Wong and Tai Bennett (as a "magical Jamaican" on the sauce). Everybody's acting is weird and strangely dreamlike here, and it fits the story perfectly.
"John Dies At The End" (no, the title really isn't a spoiler) is a mad, icky, bizarre little story that takes some getting used to -- but is a fun little ride along the way. Give it a try, especially if you're on soy sauce.
The film is quirky and humorous, but not a side splitter. The dialouge is cute and clever for most of the film, but to the point of ad nauseam.
For those who like the "Scott Pilgrim..." quick style, check it out.
Parental Guide: F-bomb, no sex. Nudity.
John dies at the end started off as a webserial by David Wong (real name Jason Pargin) back in 2001 and grew and evolved since, to it is now current form of a novel, sequel and film.
When I saw the film, I had previously read the book, already I was at an advantage. I loved the book. I thought it was witty, camp and a load of fun. The themes seemed to be a mixture of Gen-X and Lovecraftian references thrown in. Not to mention that Molly, the dog, often steals the show.
Soy sauce is for John and David as Spice was to the world of Dune and the root of most of their problems. Soy sauce is what enlightens them and what ultimately curses them; mainly because it is pure evil.
This is a surreal adventure with time spent in other universe and dimensions. It is a thinking film, like so many of Terry Gilliam’s films. It takes time to process all the information and scenarios. You may have to watch it more than once to fully appreciate it.
Verdict: The book is still better than the film and I suggest you read the book first to really get what is lacking from the film. If you choose to just jump right into the film- Keep an open mind. There is a lot of Cthulu mythos and 80′s American horror film reference that the average viewer probably won’t get. It is still a very humourous film with plenty of gags and insane situations, so for that I give it 3 of 5 stars.
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I endorse what everyone says. I really enjoyed this.