I am a huge fan of Don Coscarelli. I loved the Phantasm series as a kid (and still do), loved The Beastmaster, Survival Quest is an awesome 80s flick, and Kenny & Company is a vastly underrated classic about what it is really like to be a kid. And Bubba Ho-Tep is pretty kick ass too. Coscarelli is one of the most imaginative filmmakers out there and one of horror’s most underappreciated masters. Now, after a ten year absence from feature filmmaking, he returns with John Dies at the End, another film that perfectly encapsulates what Coscarelli can do with a little bit of money and a lot of talent.
Dave (Chase Williamson) and his buddy John (Rob Mayes) are college dropouts who are going nowhere. Until they discover a strange drug called Soy Sauce that is turning their world inside out. Quite literally. With each hit of Soy Sauce the user can drift in and out of time and even cross into other dimensions. When an otherworldly force sees an opportunity to take over our reality, Dave and John find themselves to be the only ones with a chance at saving us all. And we have never been in worse hands.
Much like Coscarelli’s masterpiece Phantasm, John Dies at the End is utterly undefinable. It is unlike anything you have ever seen while still being reminiscent of some other trippy films in certain parts. You may see shades of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Brazil, Phantasm, even mainstream fare like House and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. But the similarities are only scattered throughout, taken as a whole you cannot compare John Dies at the End to anything. The crazy dimension hopping, time travelling, bizarre adventure is one of the best times I have had watching a movie in recent memory. The creativity with which Coscarelli tells his story is unparalleled, and the lead performances by Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes are hilarious and inspired. Add to that the brilliant supporting casting of Clancy Brown and the phenomenal Paul Giamatti and what more could you possibly need? There is pretty much no way I can prepare you for this film, just go into it knowing that you will have one hell of a good time. You get b-movie madness, time travel, alternate dimensions, comedy, drama, gore, creatures, magic, psychic communication, bratwurst, throwing up, a trusty sidekick dog, gigantic monsters, guns and exploding heads. Trust me; John Dies at the End is worth your time and money. It’s like being on the Soy Sauce yourself…
Available Now on Blu-ray and DVD.