John Dies At The End

4 Feb


Synopsis: “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?” (Rated R; 1 hour 39 minutes)

What in the heck did I just finish watching?! I was excited to see the followup movie 10 years later from the director who made Bubba Ho-Tep (which I recently discussed in my Stand Up Guys review), a funny and quirky monster movie comedy. This…was a letdown.

I don’t know if I can possibly describe this or defend why I didn’t like it as compared to other bizarre movies, but it just….didn’t work for me. Was it weird? Absolutely. Over-the-top silly gore? You bet. And that’s often a great combo for horror comedies. I’ve absolutely loved Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, Slither, Drag Me To Hell, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil and more, but one thing those movies all had going for them was that I was laughing most of the time, and the plots managed to make sense even when they didn’t quite make any sense….am I making sense yet?!

This bizarre movie was as confusing as Donnie Darko, but either it never ended up making any sense, or I just didn’t care enough about it to try to piece it all together. I’ll even give the filmmakers their due and say that it was creative and maybe they did make it all work; but if both Mike & myself as movie-lovers of any genre couldn’t be motivated to figure it out, and we just wanted it to be over by the end – then that’s a real problem. To put it another way, confusing plots are welcome in movies where you’re supposed to give a damn what’s happening; dumb horror comedies are where you want to just see dumb, entertaining shit happen on the screen, and turn your brain OFF.

There were moments scattered throughout this flick that were ridiculous and funny, times where I felt like I was watching scenes from Men In Black or The Evil Dead; but that feeling only came in glimpses, and most of the movie was “clever” exposition about this strange drug that brought creatures from another dimension to their world, or something like that, and I was simply lost.

On the plus side, the creatures were ridiculous, bloody, rubbery little amusing effects, the nudity was bizarre, the plot had some nifty scenes involving humans mutated into crazy creatures, and the acting was so over-the-top campy that I think the filmmakers wanted to make an instant Saturday night cult classic, and perhaps they did. The problem is that you don’t generally make those movies intentionally, they come from earnestly made films that people later laugh at; this movie clearly knew it was trying to be that, but it was also trying to get people to laugh WITH it, and you can’t have it both ways.

The movie was better than The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a weird 80’s cult classic where the heroes fought aliens from another dimension as well. I never got into that one either, and just remember being super bored by it in spite of hearing about its strong cult following. It was less good than just about any Sam Raimi movie, as well as Slither, an under-watched horror comedy where aliens also turn people into weird mutated creatures.

Quality Rating: C (Gets points for being creative and quirky)

Boaz Rating: D+ (Loses a ton of points not because it was campy or badly acted, but because it takes a very rare horror comedy to bore me, and this one almost did)


2 Responses to “John Dies At The End”

  1. beecabee February 5, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    I’m not sure what this movie was truly about, nor do I think the filmmakers could make up their minds: Was it about psychic powers? Communicating with the dead? Supernatural powers? Alternate universes? Time travel? What a mess!


  2. boazconstrictor February 5, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Shouldn’t matter what the plot was or what it was about, should just be ridiculously fun scenes, but only came up with assorted pieces like that and the rest was a mess.


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