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IHC Movie Reviews: John Dies at the End (2012)

The film adaptation of John Dies At The End is on demand now, and in theatres later this month. Based on the book of the same name, it’s filled to the brim with weirdness and some truly bizarre visuals. Being adapted from such strange source material is no easy task, but legendary horror director Don Coscarelli was up to the task. So how does it do? Does it faithfully capture the weirdness, or should it have been popped out of existence? 

First things first, I haven’t read the book yet. Its been on my list of stuff to read for a bit, but I’ve never gotten around to it. Me and a friend who had read the book were having a few beers one night, and he flipped out when he saw that it was available on itunes. It peaked my interest, so we cracked open a few beers, put it on, and proceeded to get my mind blown. I love this new trend of putting movies on demand so early, or even before they hit theatres. This is totally a movie to watch in your living room, preferably with people who don’t mind you blurting out “What the flying fuck did I just witness?” every so often. 

Ok, I’ll do my best to sum up some of the apeshit insane plot. After a short weird introduction scene we’re introduced to David and Arnie in a Chinese restaurant, where a hallucinating David proceeds to recount some truly bizarre experiences to Arnie, in hopes that he’ll will want to publish them. The stories told include a very weird exorcism, a concert, trip to a mall, and tons of other stuff that I won’t get into, since it’s truly a film that needs to be seen to be understood. Relatively unknown actor Chase Williamson takes on the strange role of David, while Paul Giamatti is Arnie. With a pretty robust roster of supporting characters, the film feels pretty well rounded, and all of the cast does a great job. For a newcomer, Chase does a pretty good job conveying the weirdness and emotion for someone whose more or less tripping balls. The only problem comes about from having a few too many characters, and some of them pop in and out so fast it can get confusing. Its easy to loose track and get confused as the film moves from sequence to sequence, especially if you got up to use the bathroom or get another beer. 

Now the purists that hate CG aren’t going to like this flick very much. It relies heavily on a lot of CG, and sometimes it feels pretty overdone. But in reality? It fits the aesthetic of the film. The film is a freaky weird abomination of a hallucination, and the film really captures that quite well. There is some just plain weird stuff contained in the film though. If you thought Fear And Loathing had some weirdness to it, this will really blow your mind. But, it never really goes off the deep end. It gets really weird, but not to the point where it just feels silly. It’s the good kind of weird that keeps you interested, and wanting to see what the hell happens next, or what weird event is going to move the story along, or what else is going to pop up and give you a literal “What the fuck?” moment. 

All in all, if you’re into strange flicks and just plain good film making, this film is great. It has some truly bizarre crap contained in it, and after watching it if you don’t have a serious “What the fuck did I just watch?” moment, you’re too jaded and need to loosen up. Its fun, its weird, and its a perfect flick to fire up and kill an evening with. Just don’t do any psychedelics before viewing, or do so at your own risk.  

5 out of 5

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