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3.6 out of 5 stars
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3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 December 2013
Not exactly sure what John who dies at the End is, but I like it. With its invention and flagrant disregard for coherent narrative, John... is both an interesting 'what if' and a wholly effective horror comedy. Coscarelli's singular voice in horror is the only one who could bring this to life, whether it's the man made out of meat, the door that is 'impossible to open', or some of the more far out stuff of the third act. The film is full of little ideas and touches that reward as both an insane spectacle and as an element that will bring different views to light on multiple rewatches. Couldn't be less accessible if it tried, but anyone at home with Don Coscarelli's flair will settle down in no time. The biggest problem for me was that it simply wasn't enough, the unsuccessful TV pilot analogy feels apt. I want more. Here's hoping the the other book in the series (This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude Dont Touch It) gets adapted by Coscarelli too.
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on 24 April 2014
Good grief where do I start with this one. I think this might be what would happen if David Lynch made a Bill and Ted film.

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.
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on 16 April 2014
This overlooked horror parody has a bit of a pedigree to it. “Phantasm” famed cult horror film director Don Coscarelli not only directed this film but he wrote the screen play.

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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on 9 April 2015
I have to say that I am a big fan of the Phantasm series and especially Bubba Ho-Tep so I couldn't wait for this to come out.What a let down this turned out to be though,there's a smugness to this film that just doesn't gel.You feel as if this film was more fun to make than it was to watch.Why Clancy Brown is so underused is anyone's guess and its One of those films that assumes you've read the book and when it begins its as if You stepped into the movie halfway through,there's no character build up and the tiniest of stories.Roll On Bubba Nosferatu to get Coscarelli's career back on track.Nice to See Angus Scrimm in a Cameo though.
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on 12 May 2013
Ummm... What did I just watch?

When this was good, it was very good. But it wasn't... I got confused.

Ok, that bad points - the script is not in any way tight, and there were not only a number of scenes that were wholly redundant, but also there were several plot holes - "we can't cross to your dimension even though we have this Super Megamind... but these tiny insects can for no other reason than we say they can.... wait, why doesn't Super Megamind just absorb the insects?".

The good points, I liked the premise; "soy sauce" was really good, and the scene where the door handle turns into a penis was very funny. The whole setup with the phone was pure genius, and when Dave started talking into the hot dog I cracked up. If you can get past the stoner-esque set up and accept some general weirdness, then this is a pretty ok film.

One question thought; why is the film called "John Dies At The End"?
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The best way to describe this film is "Phantasm" on drugs. Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes) are friends who are attempting to save the universe, or at least our planet. They have been chosen to do so by the drug "Soy Sauce" which gives them remarkable insight that is more like a bad acid trip.

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.
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on 8 September 2014
Coscarelli films often have a subtext, but this one is just fun. It is definitely unconventional, but quirky and enjoyable. If you are uncomfortable with the kind of narrative structure and shifts you find in South Korean films (for example) and prefer simple conventional narratives, this may not be for you. But if you like wry and surreal humour and fantasy, this is well worth a watch.
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on 29 October 2015
The Australian classification reads "....Strong horror violence, themes, crude humour and course language." Censorship classifications are so misleading sometimes. Of course, there are elements of the former in the film, but it happens to be one of the most funny, satyrical, and genre bending movies I have seen in a long time. This film was so good I read everything the book's author, David Wong (..." I changed it to Wong because it's the most common name in the world, and it makes it easier for me to hide.") had published on Kindle. I REALLY hope that "This Book is Full of Spiders,,,Really...", and his latest, "Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits", also get made into films. This movie is full of satire, wit, double entendre, penis jokes (non gratuitous), and a healthily-sarcastic look at the whole horror genre. The movie, and the books are fresh, funny as could be, and well worth the reading, AND filming the two which have not made it to the cinema yet. As a bonus, the film was done completely digitally, so the better your screen is, the sweeter the photography is. It's obviously a low-budget movie, but it is done so well it just does not matter. I am no fan of zombie or horror movies in general, but this does not take them seriously either. Enjoy the laughs and the ride. I'm surprised this has taken so long to creep more into the public mindset. I certainly hope it continues to gain lots of attention, and garner the success it deserves. A five star black comedy. Do NOT hesitate to buy. As a postscript, the sound is stunning. They've achieved a lot with a small budget!
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on 29 October 2015
This film is like a comedy version of Existenz. It's impossible to describe the plot besides timeline-fusing madness. But as long as you grasp the thread of what's happening early on, and continue to pay attention, it is surprisingly possible to follow. As a mark of a good surreal film, it all just works - yes, it's insane, but it creates its own universe that you can gleefully be a part of for a while. The casting is great too - I never heard of the main two actors, but they both have an effortlessly likeable quality. Paul Giamatti provides solid support too. So basically, watch it when you know you'll be paying attention and feel like something that will work out the leetle grey cells a bit - and you will have a good time!
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‘John Dies at the End.’ Is that a ‘spoiler?’ I don’t know. I guess mentioning whether ‘John’ (who is one of the two leads, along with ‘Dave’) does or doesn’t pop his clogs in the final act would really be the spoiler. Anyway, I digress... with a title like that I knew I was in for a weird one. And boy was I right.

I don’t think I’ve been so confused by a film since Donnie Darko. That took me a few watches to truly ‘get’ and I think I may have to give John Dies at the End a couple more goes before I can actually say (with any certainty) exactly what I watched. It’s about a couple of guys – John and Dave – who take drugs which (sometimes) take them to another world and – always – give them mild superpowers. On top of that, that other dimension I mentioned, if filled with weirdos who want to take over our world. Guess John and Dave have their work cut out trying to save our world.

About halfway through the film I kind of gave up trying to understand it totally and just went along for the ride. It certainly has a ‘feel’ of its own and I found it fun to just bask in the overall weirdness of its ambience. If you’re into the odd (think Lynch/Cronenberg) then you should feel quite at home here. Although many people have said that it’s probably a film for those of you who enjoy ‘recreational drugs.’ In fact... I can just picture many students all over the world all gathering around in a smoky lounge to watch – and enjoy – this.

You may have already guessed by now, but it’s pretty weird. If you’re wondering whether you’ll like it, I should point out that there are flying moustaches who attack people in this film. Yes, it’s that bizarre. So, if you think you can sit through over an hour and a half of that, then you might like to give it a go. Even though I didn’t fully understand it, I definitely think I’ll watch it again.
I read another review that describes it at ‘Bill and Ted’ meets ‘Naked Lunch.’ I couldn’t think of a better way of describing it.
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