John Dies at the End (2012) *
D: Don Coscarelli
C: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Daniel Roebuck, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston, Jonny Weston, Jimmy Wong, Tai Bennett, Allison Weissman Allison Weissman, Ethan Erickson
Plot Synopsis: Two friends stumble upon an end of the world conspiracy after taking a drug known as Soy Sauce.
Review: While watching John Dies at the End, I sat there waiting for something, anything to happen. I made it through the first 36 minutes and nothing happened. Being the good critic that I am, I soldiered on. I made it to the 64 minute mark and, yet again, nothing happened. By the time the credits rolled, I realized that John Dies at the End had a premise (a loose one at that), but no real story in service of that premise.
There's some creative effects and an array of creatures & monsters, but what exactly they have to do with the film is beyond me?!? There's a lot of cool cats and edgy performances, but it doesn't add up to anything. In attempt to give the film some kind of depth, there's flashbacks within flashbacks, but that fails to provide any kind of structure to the film. And then there are scenes in which characters stop what they're doing so that they can have prolonged discussions or play slide shows in some kind of attempt to tie it all together or to give the film something resembling a story. It doesn't work.
The characters do a lot of crazy things throughout. In one scene, a character talks to his dead friend using a bratwurst as a phone. In another, two of the main characters are transported to alternative universe in which everyone walks around naked so that the main characters will feel at ease. It's crazy for the sake of crazy!
In attempt to cover up the inherent weakness of the material, there are some end of the world elements and a few scenes in which the characters talk about philosophy. I guess they were trying to make the film look intelligent, but you're not fooling me!
Paul Giamatti has a small co-starring role. I guess Paul was brought in to give the material some kind of credibility. While Paul has been in some good films, you also have to realize he was in Lady in the Water as well. Ultimately, Giamatti's role is just a throwaway.
John Dies at the End throws anything and everything out there in the name of entertainment hoping that somehow or another it'll all work out, but it doesn't. Ultimately, the foundation for a good movie is a good story, something John Dies at the End is sorely lacking. [R] 99 mins.
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