I think this is probably one of only a handful of films that I wanted to see just because of the title. I’ve never read the web serial or book and at the time I was anxiously awaiting it’s arrival in the theater I hadn’t even seen the trailer. But much like Lars in the Real Girl the title held such promise for me. Due to time, money, or a sudden wave of “what if this sucks, I didn’t see it in the theater and kind of forgot about it until I saw it available on DVD. “We have got to watch this,” I told my partner HB. “What’s it about?” he replied. “Um I’m not sure.” Luckily for me, HB is game for watching about any movie so I finally got to see what was behind the title. I’m still not 100% sure what it’s all about but I want to watch it again.
So there is the title character John (Rob Mayes) and his friend Dave (Chase Williamson) who is telling much of the story. There is also this weird crap called Soy Sauce. You do NOT want to sprinkle this stuff on your fried rice. It’s a street drug that claims to cause an altered state of consciousness. That’s if it doesn’t kill you. But with the side effects, who knows what’s better. John has some definite temporal side effects from it’s usage as Dave finds out when John calls him from his apartment while also still sitting in the car next to Dave. Then there is all that other dimensional stuff going on at the same time. Believe me, the plot doesn’t get any clearer and that’s perfectly fine.
John Dies at the End is an experience more than a plot driven device. Like another of my favorite movies Southland Tales, it’s better if you just sit back and watch and not try to figure out too much. It’s not as confusing as Southland Tales but I think you miss out by trying to figure out what’s going on. The movie’s style, particularly the humor reminds me a lot of Army of Darkness. So much so, I truly was expecting a Bruce Campbell cameo, but alas no.
If you like the quirky and downright odd I think you’ll like this film.
Here is the trailer if you actually want an idea of what you are about to get yourself into.