John Dies At The End isn’t your typical film. That is to say it fits right in with Don Coscarelli‘s normal fair. The director of such masterpieces as Bubba Ho-Tep, The Beast Master and Phantasm has produced yet another interesting and unique piece of cinematic joy.
This film is based on a novel, of the same name, and it feels like it. The film’s heavily narrated style seems right out of a film noir joint or a pop novelists wet dream. The film centers on Dave, a wayward paranormal PI who, along with his partner John, is addicted to a seemingly magic serum known as Soy Sauce.
The film’s plot is a little hard to quantity without completely spoiling it. Suffice it to say that it’s a madcap adventure with tons of memorable moments.
The film is nothing like Bubba Ho-Tep but it somehow feels like a sister film to Bruce Campbell’s cult hit. Both films share a sense of infinite possibility and utter insanity. Both films are also low-ish budget. Bubba Ho-Tep gets away with it better.
The third act of John Dies At The End goes into overdrive. It knows what it’s going to do and it does it regardless of budget. This is sometimes an issue. Then again, sometimes its endearing. The shear enthusiasm that the movie emanates is what really holds the narrative together. There are some extremely fun twists and there are some very interesting ideas about perception, similar to those put forth in Bubba Ho-Tep.
Unfortunately, the film feels as though it were punching a bit above its weight class. If this flick had another twenty or thirty million it would be a force to be reckoned with. But it its current incarnation it’s a film that does the best with what it has, which I almost like more.