Sunday, January 29, 2012

John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End
Writer/Director: Don Coscarelli
Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti

This movie had one of the best opening sequences at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. It's a great microcosm for the entire film - encompassing paranormal weirdness, violence, offbeat humor, and sarcastic voiceovers - so if you dig that one sequence, you'll probably find a lot to like in the movie as a whole. The story is crazy - a kid and his friend stumble across an insane drug called "soy sauce" which gives them supernatural powers to fight ghost creatures and the undead - and if you're into watching movies that are off the wall and kind of "out there," this is definitely one for you. It's Ghostbusters meets Bill and Ted with shotguns and hot dog phones. (And did I mention that Paul Giamatti is in this, and as you may assume, he's awesome?) It's got a ton of humor throughout to offset the weirdness, but by the end, this movie takes things to a level you never imagine.

Ultimately, the ending is where the film fell apart for me. I was with it, craziness and all, for the first two thirds, but once other dimensions start coming into place and a Total Recall-esque creature becomes the central villain of the story, John Dies at the End lost me. I'm down for a little insanity here and there, but at some point I think there has to be a limit. This movie doesn't respect those limits, instead giving a big "eff you" to expectations and doing whatever the hell they want, regardless if the audience they've grabbed at this point is willing to come along with them. And that's why I respect this movie a lot more than I like it - it knows what it wants to be, and is uncompromising in getting there.

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