JOHN DIES AT THE END (BLU RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
Is it good movie?
Weird, weird, weird. If I was one of the folks approached to have my
comments for this flick reduced to a quote, I'd have to say that
"weird, weird, weird" would sum things up quite well. I was really
pumped for Don Coscarelli's latest, and after watching it twice, I can
say that I still don't totally know exactly how I feel about it because
it really screws with your mind and introduces a whole new world with
different mind-bending realities that the viewer must keep track of at
once. With that said, it's a hell of a ride that will pay off if you're
patient enough to put it all together, or if you just want to have a
ton of memorable moments to talk about with your friends.
Essentially, the film works like this- a couple of dropouts named Dave
and John are at a diner (conversing with none other than Paul Giamatti,
who plays Arnie) where we learn that they're essentially supernatural,
other-worldly superheroes who certainly don't look the part. The story
here is how they came to be who they are, and a whole lot more from
there. This flick weaves all kinds of plot twists that will surprise
and confuse you while mixing in buckets of gore, laughs and
existentialism at the same time- if the makes any sense.
Yeah, we know how things are going to end before they get there. We
know that John (Rob Mayes) is going to meet his grisly end, and he
spends most of the flick in big trouble while his buddy Dave (Chase
Williamson) has to bail him out. I can't accurately describe how things
tend to proceed, but this movie is just insane. If you're looking for
something creative, risky and unlike anything you've never seen before,
you can slap this one in. Whether you'll like it is one thing, whether
you understand it, another thing altogeher.
Theres a bit of everything here- bizarre psychadelic drugs (soy
sauce?), sausage phones, facial hair turning into insects,
animals running vehicles, meat monsters, penis bombs, slipping in and
out of time, some nudity and of course, jokes abound. The cool thing
about this story that is weaved is that the viewer isn't really told
what's real, and what isn't (though that will understandable frustrate
some viewers). If you're paying enough attention, you'll notice that
this is a well-crafted story too. Coscarelli adapts this book with
sharp wit, and his story is somewhat coherent if you're looking to
connect all the dots- they just might be pretty far apart. As a bit of
criticism, I must mention that this movie is heavy on story (though it
might not seem it during some scenes), and there are times when the
insanity slows down to feature a ton of talking. It's necessary, but in
comparison to some of the moments, the pace halts a bit.
It seems that as this movie goes along, it becomes apparent that
anything at all can happen at seemingly any time. To spoil things would
really take away from this one because this has to be watched from
start to finish knowing as little as possibly. However, if you like
rules, logic and linear stories, you need to apply elsewhere. Our cast
is excellent as well, with strong leads who break out of their
stereotypical smarmy-tv-show mold, and a great supporting cast that
includes the great Doug Jones and Clancy Brown in memorable roles I won't spoil here. As a
half-compliment, even the great Paul Giamatti fails to stand out
against this absurd story.
Ultimately, whether or not you enjoy John Dies at the End is up to you,
the viewer. I admit that it blew me away and I didn't know how to feel,
but this is a creative tornado of a movie that doesn't let up and can
ultimately leave you pretty satisfied if you give it some thought, and
perhaps a second or third (or fourth) watch. This is a movie that
you'll want to show your friends, and you haven't quite seen anything
Video / Audio
Video comes in 1.78:1 widescreen, and the quality
is practically flawless. Great colors, lots of minute details, just
generally pretty great.
Audio appears in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and is also
excellently balanced and well presented. Great surround work with
plenty of cool moments to enjoy.
First is a Commentary with Director
Don Coscarelli, Producer Brad Baruh, Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes.
It's a great track as it's always a joy to listen to Coscarelli, who
leads things charismatically and keeps the conversation flowing.
If you're interested in more insanity, there's 9 deleted scenes in about 10 minutes.
Don't expect any explanations though.
Getting Sauced: The Making of John
Dies at the End runs about 7 minutes long and doesn't add much,
though the story of how Coscarelli got to this project is a keeper.
Pretty standard stuff though.
Creature Corps: The Effects of Soy
Sauce is about 9 minutes long and deals with the effects, most
of which were (thankfully) practical. Good stuff.
Casting sessions features some
auditions from our main cast and runs about 7 minutes.
A Fangoria Interview with Paul Giamatti
runs about 10 minutes and is expectedly fantastic. Giamatti is a
passionate, intelligent and captivating individual. Just too short!
Finally, we get a trailer for
this flick, a plug for John Dies at the End author David Wong's next book, and some
Magnolia Home Entertainment trailers.
This is a movie that doesn't take itself seriously and weaves many
different tales. You could tell me you absolutely hated it, I'd
understand where you were coming from. Then again, you could tell me it
was your very favorite movie and I'd be right there with you. I can
tell you that this is a great blu-ray of a very original film. The rest
is up to you.