John Dies At The End (2012)
Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Written by: David Wong (Author) and Don Coscarelli (Screen Adaption)
Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti. Arnie Blondestone, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman
Release Date: 22 March 2013
‘John Dies At The End’, is a horror/comedy/fantasy film, which stretched my mind to lengths I never thought possible. Not only is this film extremely clever, its absolutely hilarious, and terrifying at the same time.
You’d be forgiven, for thinking that the title of the film, perhaps ruins the ending, and things don’t really end to well for John, but you’ll soon come to find out, that things are not quite as clear cut as they may seem.
There’s a drug called ‘Soy Sauce’. The sauce for short. The people that use it, or come into contact with it, develop the ability to travel through time and space, to different dimensions. When they come back, sometimes, they’re no longer human, and bring back with them, all manor of demonic creatures, and worst of all, an evil entity, that goes by the name of Kurok, intent on wiping out humanity. The fate of the world, is in the hands of John and Dave. Two college drop out, lay about’s, who’s day job revolves around being demon spiritualist/exorcists, kicking the ass out of anything evil coming over to their plane. The pair are about to embark on a make or break journey to face evil, and save the world.
From the director of the hilarious horror/comedy ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’, comes ‘John Dies At The End’.
The way the film begins, does not ease you in gently, and this is a good thing. The energy needs to be up to make something like this work, and it does, to great effect. This is one of those films that will immediately encapsulate you. It’s not a film to watch on a Friday night with a beer and a group of friends, who are going to talk through the integral parts of the formation of the plot, and then 10 minutes later, say this film is confusing, and they don’t know whats going on.
The first few lines of dialogue, are both confusing but utterly intriguing and leave you wanting to know more about what this guy is babbling on about. As the story is further introduced to you, in what I can only describe, as some of the most insane, and best delivered dialogue, my ears have had the privilege of hearing, you begin to understand more of how this man known as David Wong, has come to be who he is, and form an appreciation for what he does, what he has been through, and what he is going to go through.
Lets set the scene. David Wong, sits down for an interview with a journalist called Arnie. He wants to make public, the adventures that he and John have been through, Therefore, you can probably guess that the plot centres around a flash back, were David recounts his story, of a series of fascinating, and utterly terrifying events. It revolve’s around he and his friend John, how they came into contact with ‘The Soy Sauce’, and how their lives dramatically changed from that very moment.
The soy sauce, which is also referred to as ‘The Sauce’ is a horrible looking black goop in a syringe, its alive. It will literally grow spores, turn into a small fly and find its way into your body. If you come into contact with it, you’re whole world is going to change, and you’re life is never going to be the same again. The sauce isn’t evil, and doesn’t use a person as a host. It heightens every sense, and opens up many gateways. Your brain will work faster than any computer, you can communicate telepathically, you can pass between dimensional planes, and scariest of all, you can see the evil creatures that are hidden just out of sight, that are all around us. The kind that you only see in the corner of your eye, if you concentrate hard enough, and you’re unlucky enough to see it. The grease trap of the universe is in your line of sight, and you can fight or die, or, be consumed by evil, and used as a host to serve its will, and then die. Either way, you’re gonna need to get your pistol, and get ready.
In every good film, next to the lead characters, there’s always the person in the supporting role, that just ties it all together nicely. In this film, its the detective. His dialogue is brilliant. Like all the dialogue in the film. not only is it clever, but it has wit, and humour.
One seen in particular, at ‘Robert Marley’s’ trailer, the detective comes into his own, and the film goes up another level from this point.
The evil creatures Dave and John are fighting against, and the way the evil trying to consume the earth, always needs a host, to fulfil its will, they all have a feeling of the creature(s) in John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’. They’re gross, hideous looking things, and the poor souls that become the hosts to these things, once they’re no longer of any use, they meet a truly brutal, and vicious end to their existence.
Make no mistake about it… As wonderful as the fantasy element is in this film, and how funny it is, and how witty, and clever the dialogue is… the horror element is brutal. There is one scene especially, when they pass to another dimension, that sees something you could only attribute to the nazi’s. Human beings are thrown into a mass grave while still alive, and then the rest of that scene becomes animated, like something akin to Tarantino’s Kill Bill… I will say that the violence is not human on human, but there is lots of blood, dismemberment and decapitation. ‘Groovy’.
2016 saw the revival of scary clowns, both in film and popular culture. In this film, there is no clowns, ghosts, or zombies. But if spiders, snakes, and creatures so disgusting, your mind couldn’t even begin to comprehend them, make you squeamish, then you’ll be watching this film through your fingers.
But never fear, because alongside David and John, is their boss, and all round bad ass, ‘Marconi’. The superb ‘Clancy Brown’ portrays this living god superbly. He is a mentalist/spiritualist/exorcist and everything else all in one. With a single thought, or the mere muttering of a single word, he can make a demon literally explode. If our two hero’s find themselves literally up to their necks in it, enter ‘Marconi’ with the solution.
Since first seeing this film, it’s one of those that I have always gone back to, and will regularly recommend to anyone looking for a decent film. When I speak about it to people, and they have no clue what i’m talking about, it shouldn’t, but it astounds me that this film never got more coverage than it did. It has a cult following sure, and maybe its better that way. The majority of the better films are. The film isn’t just solid, it isn’t just funny, dark, and outlandish… its completely brilliant and enlightening, and a film that everyone should see at least once in their life.