John Dies at the End (2012)

Just so you know … They’re sorry for everything that’s about to happen.

Based on Jason Pargin’s massively popular novel written under the alias name of David Wong, long-time cult-director Don Coscarelli, Phantasm (1999) and Bubba Ho-Tep (2000), brings this mind-bendingly outlandish premise to life in an onslaught of sci-fi, black comedy and action.

I've still got this BBQ under control!
I’ve still got this BBQ under control!

The film begins with David Wong (Chase Williamson), a twenty-something slacker who heads to a restaurant to tell his bizarre story to journalist Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti). The narrative follows the surprising tale where Dave, his best friend John (Rob Mayers) and a golden retriever named Bark Lee, become intertwined in an off-the-wall adventure involving demons, murderous insects, telekinesis and inter-dimensional travel, after injecting themselves with a strange black substance they nickname, ‘the soy sauce.’

John Dies at the End, is clearly not a film for everyone, but cult-junkies will find a lot to admire in this crazy little flick as it isn’t afraid of being insanely unique. Chase Williamson, Sparks (2013), and Rob Mayers, Enough Said (2013), retain a great dynamic together throughout the picture with their witty brotherly bond, carrying the narrative along its temporally off-the-rack motions. Clancy Brown, Starship Troopers (1997), adds a nice touch to proceedings as the unusual Dr. Albert Marconi, while executive producer Paul Giamatti, Sideways (2004), is a hoot as Arnie Blondestone, with his fine comical performance.

Popular Place, huh?
Popular Place, huh?

While the film generally tries to aim high with its concept, its obvious small budget lets it down on several occasions, particularly in its effects, as the computer generated imagery (CGI) is close to what one would expect to see while PC gaming in the early 2000s and some of the practical special effects appear to be cheaply constructed. The picture does however, feature a fantastic animated sequence depicting the massacre of hundreds of people by an array of space spiders, who cause enough bloody carnage to satisfy most horror nuts.

Although quite uneven as a whole, and too bonkers for some, John Dies at the End is destined to become a cult classic; eccentrically fun, most jokes in the film work and it’s clear that everyone on set is having a blast. I recommend you sit back, forgive the flick’s noticeable flaws and just enjoy the proceedings.

3 / 5 – Good

Reviewed by Mr. Movie

John Dies at the End is released through Madman Entertainment Australia