Directed by Don Coscarelli
Written by Don Coscarelli & David Wong, (based on the book by David Wong)
Starring: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, and Paul Giamatti
It’s a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and 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 and David, 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.
Believe it or not, this actually happened to me once. It was around 1994 or 1995. I was in a metal band prone to trans-dimensional travel, and some strange things happened when the doors opened. I don’t remember anyone dying, but, man was my mouth dry. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this film and I’m glad it was released VOD before the end of the year. This will assuredly make my best of list. John Dies in the End lets you know things are going to get weird within the first ten seconds of the movie – from there on out, the unpredictable nature of this horror-comedy never lets up. The film has an Evil Dead inspired charm with a Carlos Castanada sensibility, and that’s pretty fucking cool.
The story is told through an interview with Dave (Williamson), who’s meeting a reporter named Artie (Giamatti) with his sensational story of otherworldly knowledge induced by a mysterious black drug nicknamed Soy Sauce. Still on board? Cool. Through the interview with Arnie, Dave explains how vastly his world has changed in the last few days. His friend, John (Mayes) takes some Soy Sauce, and calls Dave in the middle of the night. Dave thinks his friend is having a bad trip of sorts. In a sense – he is, just not in the traditional manner. A bizarre series of non-linear events quickly convinces Dave that time is indeed an ocean and not a garden hose. Dave and John have now become a Sam and Dean Winchester or sorts, using their knowledge to contain or dispatch the dimensional evils that exists at all times on all planes of existence. If you can follow any of this, I think you have a chance at loving this film.
Based on the book of the same title, David Wong, helps Coscarelli create a very unique universe that you won’t soon forget. This will hit cult level affection, I promise. The narrative combined with flashbacks within the interview offers a fantastic tapestry of storytelling, capturing the trippy feel of the film nicely. Nothing feels forced even in the most ridiculous of moments, partly due to the Bill and Ted feel that Dave and John embrace. The film really is more comedy and shock than horror, but it all works. If self-assembling miscellaneous frozen meat monsters or magic doors appeal to your sensibilities – you’re in luck. John Dies in the End is in my top five of the year, surprising me on all fronts. Now, queue up some Monster Magnet and explore the fourth dimension. This is now available on VOD before making it to limited theatrical release on 1/25.