John Dies at the End (2012)

john dies at the end poster
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10


Nonsense storytelling that often tries too hard

Movie Info

Movie Name:  John Dies at the End

Studio:  M3 Alliance

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Comedy

Release Date(s):  January 23, 2012 (Sundance Film Festival)/January 25, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R


Please explain to me what is going on…seriously!

David Wong (Chase Williamson) has a story to tell and reporter Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) is willing to listen.  David’s story of a drug called Soy Sauce which opens up the mind to new worlds and abilities seems unlikely so David must prove it to him.  David begins a story of he and his friend John Cheese (Rob Mayes) encounter with the Soy Sauce at a party and how it leads them to a TV psychic named Albert Marconi (Clancy Brown), a talking dog, a girl named Amy Sullivan (Fabianne Therese) who is missing a hand, a confused police inspector named Appleton (Glynn Turman), a dimensional traveler named Roger North (Doug Jones), and a possible alien invader named Korrok.  With the safety of the world on their shoulders, John and David are tripping dimensions.


Smile Darn Ya Smile!

Directed by Don Coscarelli, John Dies at the End adapts the comedy horror novel written by Jason Pargin (as David Wong) which was published online beginning in 2001 and collected in 2007.  The film premiered at Sundance in 2012 and was released in 2013.

I have to say I had high hopes for John Dies at the End.  I like Coscarelli’s bizarre view of films with movies like Phantasm and Bubba Ho-Tep and from what I could understand about the plot, it sounded like perfect material for Coscarelli…unfortunately, I didn’t love the film.

The movie’s source material was web based and serial.  It feels like it in this film.  I loved the opening question (if all parts of a whole are eventually replaced over time, is the original item still the original item?), but then the movie keeps jumping.  I wish it had been just Wong telling his story to Blondestone…instead, we get more little vignettes and non-linear storytelling which bogs down the tale.


Wait…who am I again?

I’m all for weirdness, but the movie tries way too hard.  I didn’t get a good feeling for David or John.  The time aspect of the story and the idea of projected visions weren’t established well enough.  I loved some of the visuals that were a result of the “Soy Sauce”, but I wish it was also more coherent.  The adventure to the other dimension near the end of the film is very visual and quite interesting, but I didn’t understand what all was going on to fully take it in.

John Dies at the End was an interesting attempt and a different film due to its narrative structure.  I wish I had liked it more however and really did want to like it better.  Some of the humor and style of the film was really funny (I liked the Eyes Wide Shut joke), but it just didn’t overcome the portions of the film I didn’t like.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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