Movie Review – John Dies at the End (2013)

John Dies at the End
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Courtesy of Magnet Releasing
Release Date: April 2, 2013


I can use one word to describe JOHN DIES AT THE END: brilliant. And that is being modest. There are many other words I could use for this film as well: ground-breaking, visionary, epic, etc. But I think ‘brilliant’ pretty much sums it all up. This film sets a new standard for cinema today and, in my opinion, should go down in the annals of cinematic history as a masterpiece.

If you are not familiar with JOHN DIES AT THE END, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Magnet Releasing website:

In JOHN DIES AT THE END, it’s all about the Soy Sauce, a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. Users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John (Rob Mayes) and David (Chase Williamson), a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.

I knew this was going to be a great film from the first time I heard about it. Director Don Coscarelli is a master of the craft and is the brainchild behind one of horror’s most iconic series, the PHANTASM quadrilogy. He’s also well-known for the horror-comedy hit BUBBA HO-TEP. Coscarelli knows what fans want and how to give it to them.

The most impressive aspect of this film to me is how it defies all genre stereotypes. It is a hybrid of several tropes: science-fiction, comedy, horror, and even basic drama. But that is part of its allure; there’s so much going on that even the most diehard genre fan should find something to enjoy.

JOHN DIES AT THE END is shot very well and the cinematography is nothing short of stunning in certain scenes. The production value is high and everything on-screen looks great, right down to the CG effects. The sets are excellent and the attention to detail is painstaking.

The acting is also superb, with Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes heading up a stellar cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, and Doug Jones. The chemistry between the cast is one large reason the film is such a success

But the primary reason JOHN DIES AT THE END is such a blast is the plot. It loops, it twists, it ducks out of reality…but it stays cohesive (even if it is a mind-bending trip) and delivers on every level. This is certainly not a movie you can casually watch, though; you need to be plugged in and paying attention. If you are, then you’re in for a huge treat. The film is vastly entertaining and rewards the viewer in more ways than one.

JOHN DIES AT THE END is a major win for me and I highly recommend it. I would even go so far as to say it needs to be on your Must See for 2013 list. The film is available now in several formats, so definitely give it a look.


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