A friend of mine thought I’d like watching John Dies At The End, starring Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown. It was directed/written/produced and edited by Don Coscarelli (The Beastmaster ).
The tag line for the movie says “A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?”
If I had seen this summary, the movie might have made more sense to me. But as it is, I came into it blind, and hence, of neutral mind and expectations.
The movie is based off a book by the same name by Jason Pargin (writing name: David Wong)
If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you might enjoy how the movie starts… because it starts out following various scenes or deeds or what not, all of them seemingly disjointed in the telling of any story. And obviously, all the events or scenes rattled together from drug addled brains.
It’s hard to explain, but here it is.. a distracting and fragmented opening.
First we see David (Williamson) beheading a zombie skinhead, then he’s talking to a man, telling him stories. We watch him and his friend John (Mayes) then save a girl from her zombie boyfriend. Then they realize the they’re seeing her in different ways. That’s when she explodes into snakes, and all the meat in the freezer in the basement crawls out and forms a “meat monster” looking for a TV preacher.
Do I need to go on?
And while I’m trying to wrap my mind around all the unrelated hallucinatory events, tiny pieces of the story slowly come together. But it’s until we get past the mid-way point that the momentum, what little it generates, starts to build towards the final act.
But even as the story starts to make sense, it’s still hard to follow as we’re still learning about different aspects of the plot, even in the third act. And it still gets delivered in a bit of a fragmented fashion.
Some might call that great writing while others might be having logic seizures trying to sort it all out.
This is one of those films where beer or other substances would make it pretty funny. But since I wasn’t tipsy, but rather, sober and suffering, I’d have to say that if I didn’t promise to watch the film, I don’t think I would have made it past the first act of the movie. But I promised, and I mustered through it, hoping it would start to make more sense with time. But alas, it did not.
Hence, I’m handing out a stern popcorn 4 to the flick. My first ever “4.” I’m glad I never paid to see it.