John Dies at the End - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

John Dies at the End Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 24, 2013
The complete and utter mess of a plot tries at every cost to be a smart-ass comedy full of an offbeat humor that, apart from a very few inspired moments, is simply embarrassing - as can be grasped, for instance, from the awful aracnicide joke in the ridiculous last hour.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2014
This is a very hard film to describe to anyone, but it's beloved by the internet right now, and I could not be happier. Adapted from a graphic novel of the same name, this amazing film defies logic, death, supernatural elements, and life in general, to bring a really rare and interesting story about two friends directly thrown into the darkness of the world. The main problem in the film is that the universe that has been created by the graphic novel isn't pared down enough to make a film. The entire scope is miniscule compared to what happens, and there are more unexplained questions left behind than anything else. We're not sure exactly what the other side is, how ghosts communicate with us, or what really happens to John (Mayes) and Dave (Williamson). On its own its definitely a psychedelic and feral kind of film, with its sharpened fangs, but there are just too many questions left unanswered and not enough juice to make it longer, so it suffers extensively for these faux pas.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2013
Stupid movie...
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2013
Another excellent movie that had me squealing with joy the entire time. Amazing visual effects and fun story. I sure hope they make more.
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2013
Two slackers try a new drug at a rave that gives them psychic powers and the ability to combat an extra-dimensional invasion by body-snatching worms. This hallucinatory sci-fi adventure has penile doorknobs, Theseus' paradox, a monster assembled from sausages, and flying mustaches: what's not to love?
Super Reviewer
May 11, 2013
While I respect John Dies At The End's creativity and ambitiousness, it never finds its focus. What's the point in this movie? There is none. What's the plot of this movie? There seems to be one, but in reality there isn't. It does make a lot of unexpected twists and turns that steer away from convention, but it's the film's burning desire to do this that messes up the whole thing in the first place. It all becomes a convoluted mess of ideas mashed together. The acting in this film is good as is the cast. But so much adds up to nothing and it becomes both confusing and infuriating. I do see that the film avoided having a pretentious feel about it, which is good. A lot of fan-base focused films suffer from being made just for the fans. I don't know about this one though. I've never read the book. I'm saddened to say this (I was actually expecting something of this film), it all turned out to be a waste of time. I did enjoy Don Coscarelli's first film Bubba Ho-tep, it was slow-paced and it actually took its time with characterization. It also delivered awesome b-movie laughs and thrills. John Dies At The End however tries to become the same thing Bubba Ho-tep did. A cult classic. You can tell they tried hard to recreate that feeling Bubba Ho-tep brought. But no. John Dies was fast-paced insanity that tried to shove a bunch of sci-fi nonsense down our throats in an hour and a half with generic characters and a boring story. I did enjoy some of the dialogue despite it never really delivering any laughs. Overall- The content within John Dies may be chock full of potential, but it never pays off. Knock knock Jokes have a set-up and a payoff (as does every other kind of joke). A knock knock joke without a payoff is just a "knock knock" and then a "who's there" but with no answer. This movie is a question shot into a crowd full of people expecting someone to answer it. There may be some people who understand and answer it, but a lot won't. They may say no question is a dumb one, but there are some that don't need to be answered and should just be left alone. So in general, I'm saying this movie may seem like an interesting path to wander but leads to a dead end. Letter Grade: D
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2013
Robert Marley: Time is an ocean, not a garden hose. Space is a puff of smoke, a wisp of cloud. Your mind... is a flying corn snake hovering through all the possibilities.

"Just so you know... They're sorry for everything that's about to happen."

The best way I could go about trying to describe John Dies at the End would be to call it a trippy mindfuck of a horror/drug/comedy/sci-fi film. This isn't your typical movie you throw into the DVD player to kill some time. It has a mind all its own. It has originality, inventiveness, and it knows how to make its messy plot come across with a weird sort of genius precision that could only come from a certain type of mind. Trying to describe this plot would be like trying to describe an acid trip; it's not going to happen. Basically you just have to give yourself to the ridiculousness that is John Dies at the End, and let it take you where it will. 

I can see why there's a lot of people out there that can't stand this movie. It's off the wall, outside the box, deranged, twisted, and oddly prophetic. It's a movie that is going to have a small audience, but the people who populate that audience are in for one hell of a fun time. From Giamatti's performance as a writer talking to one of the guys who is on the drug to the endless absurdities of a plot that has snail like alien creatures popping up everywhere, a bratwurst that can serve as a telephone, a dog that can drive, and all the different dimensions and time differentials. 

Like I said, this isn't for everyone and it isn't one that I would necessarily recommend to anyone unless I knew for sure that they had the taste for it. In the end though, John Dies at the End was a pleasure to watch and an incredible, trippy experience. It's one of those movies that seems like it was made for anyone who has seen something that isn't really there while under the effect of something. 
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2012
John Dies at the End get's one star for being original and creative. The second star for having some of the movie filmed in my home town. I didn't know this before hand. But then when David is leaving the police station, which isn't a real police station, I was surprised to see that it was Center St. in my home town. Weird. But the movie itself was really cheesy with so/so acting. It's not something I would watch again.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2013
It would've been hard for ANYONE to translate the book to film, but overloading it with voice-over narration and crappy special effects is not the way to do it. After the axe bit, everything falls to pieces and quickly, with few laugh-out-loud moments and numerous completely asinine action scenes.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2013
Question: Have you ever watched an entire film and then wondered, "Perhaps I should have taken some sort of hallucinogenic in order to better understand it?" I am not advocating taking any sort of illegal narcotic, but I sat through John Dies At The End, and I am perplexed at what I just watched. And to be honest I have no idea if I liked it or not.

The story is a bizarre one, and I didn't quite know what was going on until about two-thirds of the way through. I did not watch the preview prior, didn't read a stitch about the film or the book. This year (2013) I am attempting to see more films, watch ones that others recommend and view the ones my readers have asked me to take a look at. John Dies At The End opens January 25th, 2013 in theatre but is available on VOD now which is how I saw the film - in the privacy of my home.

Now, what can I say about the film? It reminded me of Naked Lunch and possibly The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai - although it's been 20+ years since I have seen either of those films, or maybe watching John Dies At The End screwed around with my head. So, don't hold me to those comparisons. This film is just so bizarre, and when I think of bizarre, sci-fi/fantasy movies and the feelings they evoke, those two films pop in my head.

I would catorgorize John Dies At The End a sci-fi film but it is listed as a fantasy, comedy, horror. It is comedy but I wouldn't really call it a horror. It's creepy, yes. There are strange creatures that infest people; and there were a few moments where I had to cover my eyes but it was more about the grotesqueness of what was on screen not that it was scary. To me, this was a buddy story where drugs were consumed and the valley between real, not real or where other worlds consist only if you are one of the chosen (when you see the film, you'll know what I mean) is very hazy - especially for the viewer.

One of the main reasons that I watched this film was for Paul Giamatti. He is one of our finest actors that is not in enough films, in my opinion. I also found out that he was one of the executive producers of this particular flick. The director may sound familiar to you: Don Coscarelli. He also wrote the screenplay which was adapted from David Wong's novel (John Dies at the End). And for those you who
don't recognize Coscarelli, let me list a few of his others films: Phantasm (and all the sequels), The Beastmaster (and its sequels), The Rules of Attraction and Bubba Ho-Tep. Yes, these are all cult-classics for the most part and can see why he was chosen to direct John Dies At The End.

So, quick synopsis - a couple of college drop-out are introduced to a drug called Soy Sauce and they are chosen to pretty much protect our world from other strange ones that no one knows about or can see unless on the drug. However, the drug isn't a normal one and only allows some to have the power. We are along for the trippy ride with these unlikely heroes. No more details. This is one you just have to check out for yourself to learn about the odd storyline.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I really don't know if I liked it or not. So I am going to give it an average score. This will either become another cult-classic that many adore or will quickly fade into obscurity. And I may change my mind, either way, but for now this was just a so-so story for me, but I have a good feeling many will really like John Dies At The End.

Review: 5 out of 10
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2012
Don Coscarelli is one of the most outstanding directors in the horror genre. His films are some of the most original and he is one of the few directors who still manages to make quality horror yarns worth seeing. This being his first directorial effort in film since 2002's Bubba Ho-tep. Coscarelli unlike other directors in the genre still has the knack for creating good films. I thoroughly enjoyed John Dies at the End, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film and I thought it was original, funny, horrifying and had all the necessary ingredients to make for a good horror comedy. At times the film shows its weaknesses, but it manages to be a fun and entertaining film that will surely please genre fans. The film emphasizes on gore and darkly humorous tones to create something unique. The performance of Paul Giamati is the highlight of the film, and Don Coscarelli delivers another memorable picture that is surely going to become a modern cult classic. There are enough things to enjoy here to make this a worthwhile horror going experience that is among the better low-budget horror titles that has been released in recent memory. John Dies at the End is a flawed, but memorable horror flick that overcomes its flaws by relying on an original concept that delivers good comedic elements with effective horror. Coscarelli is a great director, and unlike many working in the genre today, he is able to craft a film that has many original ideas and are fun to watch. Whereas classic horror directors are lacking that touch which made them unique in the first place. Coscarelli still manages to make good films, and John Dies at the End is proof of that.
Super Reviewer
May 30, 2012
Have you ever wondered what Alien would be like if the entire crew of the Nostromo was a bunch of easily-distracted, silly drunken jackasses? Well I've got the movie for you! Ever since I heard the plans for this movie, I've been itching to see it. In fact, I might have skipped TIFF this year entirely if this hadn't been part of the roster. It's about an interdimensional monster that is trying to infiltrate our world by tricking people into taking a drug and then inducing hallucinations. The only ones who can stop it are a pair of slackers who aren't particularly motivated. John and Dave are two regular guys who'd much rather get back to their game of Mario Kart than be action movie heroes and save the world. It's like watching a horror movie starring my best friends. This movie is pretty surreal and the story gets a little muddled a few times, but that is kind of the point. I love the book, and I think Don Coscarelli's greatest triumph here is completely nailing the tone; it's a horror movie that has the potential to be oppressively terrifying and nihilistically grim, if not for the two main characters laughing and saying "can you believe this shit"?
Super Reviewer
½ March 13, 2012
'John Dies at the End'. Trippy, confusing and pure WTF at times, but I can't say I wasn't entertained throughout!
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2013
Bat shit crazy doesn't even begin to describe John Dies at the End. The plot is incoherent, but has something to do with paranormal investigators and creatures from another dimension. Part of the problem is the script (which is extremely poor), however the acting is also pathetic. And while some of the comedy works, there's just too much insanity going on. John Dies at the End is DOA.
Super Reviewer
½ March 6, 2013
John Dies at the End is incredibly strange, incredibly different and at the end of the day, incredibly entertaining. I can't say it's great, but I have watched it twice now and anytime it comes up I find myself saying "yeah, you have to sit down and watch that"
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2013
A pair of slackers, Williamson and Mayes, discover a new drug which sends its users through time and space, sometimes returning in alien form.
Horror and comedy are probably the two most difficult genres to pull off. Combining the two is generally a recipe for disaster and that's the case here. Coscarelli, known mostly for his fun debut 'Phantasm', achieved a good balance between the two recently with 'Bubba Ho-Tep' but fails to make it work in his latest effort. 'JDATE' can be best described as 'Men In Black' for stoners and is every bit as bad as that sounds. Giamatti, a huge 'Phantasm' fan, had wanted to work with Coscarelli for years. It's a shame their collaboration had to be this garbage. John may die at the end but that's further than most viewers will make it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2013
Surprisingly good, Kept having the feeling it was going to loose my attention at any minute, but the film kept me hooked. Tripped out, really creative and i'd like to see more!
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2013
...Um, well, I don't really know what to say about this film, because its title pretty much says it all, letting you know quite well that this film gives neither a hoot nor a holler about conventions. Well, the title could insinuate that the film is not so much crazy and absurdist, as much as it's just lazy, which would make sense, because even the origin of this film is so underwhelming that basically all that happened is that director-writer Don Coscarelli saw a recommendation of the book upon which this film is based when he was looking up zombie books and just figured that it would be fun to adapt it. If you ask me, I can't stop thinking about how much I loved how when Coscarelli was telling that story, he described the Amazon recommendation engine as "Amazon robots", so much so that I feel that if Coscarelli really wanted to sell this film, then he should have just called it "Amazon Robots: The Motion Picture". That would certainly let you know how crazy this film is, or at least really wake you up a bit, because, seriously, I'd be morbidly curious to see anything with Amazon robots, something that I can't believe wasn't in the final product, because, yeah, this is a pretty crazy film. It's an absurdist dark comedy with an intentionally incoherent narrative structure, surrealistic imagery and a title so tongue-in-cheek that it blatantly spoils something, which, naturally, leaves me to wonder why it took so long for them to deem this film marketable enough to widely release. Needless to say, this film doesn't exactly belong to a market that is for everybody, and it darn sure does not have a market that is for Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle. Man, he hammered this film, but hey, it's not like people getting hammered didn't play some part in getting this project done, which is cool with me, because I at least like this film just fine, yet am not entirely blind as to what might turn people off... outside of a lack of the title "Amazon Robots: The Motion Picture".

The film may be mighty stylish and comical, but by no means is style and humor placed over substance, which makes "and" breaks the film's engagement value in oh so many ways, for although this film's story concept is unique and intriguing, with a lot of entertainment value and more intelligence than you might think, it's arguably a touch too fluffy for its own good, and no matter how well-done this interpretation of a naturally improvable narrative may be, it's hard to get around natural limitations in meat, especially when storytelling fails to actually make things better. I don't guess this film needs all that well-rounded of a mythology, but really, I can't help but feel as though there's some undercooking to this plate, which is all but rid of immediate development, as well as lacking in gradual exposition, taking only so much time to soak up what depths it has, and, for that matter, stay calm enough to keep the intentional freneticism from getting carried away, sometimes to an overbearing point. Sure, on the whole, the brisk pace at which storytelling runs simply livens thing up, yet it all too often gets carried away, and while there's not exactly any real dramatic weight to meditate on, when momentum picks up, it has a tendency to wear you down, maybe even convolute, though not as much as questionable elements to plot structure that extend beyond pacing. I've heard the film's fairly unconventional plot structure called well-realized, as well as all over the place, and for me, the final product's structure falls somewhere in between those two extremes, offering a focused frame story, to be sure, but placing around it intentionally incoherent and nonlinear plot layers and segments - a few of which feel like not much more than mere filler - that aren't as unfocused as many are saying, largely because they're deliberate, yet remain questionable in a lot of ways. The offbeat storytelling often works, but really, it generally does little other than reinforce a sense of aimlessness, while reflecting an ambition for uniqueness and effectiveness that is itself reflective of how there is only so much to be ambitious about with this project. There aren't really too many problems with this film, it's just that this is what it is, and what it is is unique and nifty, maybe even pretty fun, but outside of that, there's only so much to truly compel in this competent, but often questionable project whose ambition, combined with pacing and structural problems, emphasize natural shortcomings for the final product to go secured as kind of underwhelming. The film stops just short of rewarding, but man, it sure comes close, being ultimately held back primarily by natural shortcomings, but sharp enough departments to keep you invested in the conceptually questionable story, which, even then, plays a considerable part in crafting a reasonably intriguing flick.

Again, it's natural limitations in compelling meat and weight that hold the final product from a truly rewarding state, and some intentionally questionable areas in the interpretation of such a story doesn't exactly help, but at the same time, the film wouldn't be as enjoyable as it ultimately is without an interesting story concept, something that this effort really is anchored by, offering a narrative that is offbeat in basic concept and structure, with a well-drawn, nifty mythology, intriguing, even rather intelligent complexities, and, last but not least, fun layers, brought to life by what is done genuinely well in Don Coscarelli's script. Coscarelli, as the screenwriter adapting David Wong's offbeat tale, personally gets to be a bit too offbeat for his own good, at least when it comes to the unconventional plot structuring, but on the whole, he delivers, probably more than expected, limiting fat about as much as he can with a film this intentionally bloated, while offering colorful set pieces and a possibly outstanding sense of humor, anchored by razor-sharp, whiplash snappy dialogue whose tongue-in-cheek wit and audacious color prove to be effective in a way that ranges from pretty amusing to, well, something that you just have to be there to see and thoroughly enjoy. On a general standard, this film isn't all that outstandingly well-written, but as a comedy, it's downright hilarious, and for that, credit is due to both the sharp humor and, of course, the mediums for the humor, the performers, who bring colorful, if undercooked characters to life with across-the-board effectiveness that is particularly sharp within such unevenly used supporting players as Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown and Glynn Turman, as well as within leading man and newcomer Chase Williamson, whose thorough charisma and layered effectiveness as a bright young man who gets way too deep into disturbing and unusual situations that he gradually comes to embrace are arguably revelatory. Williamson pretty much carries the film, and that's mighty impressive for an unknown actor, yet he's still only one of many onscreen talents who help bring this film to life, which isn't to say that potential isn't most done justice by the offscreen performances, at least as far as style is concerned. On a technical level, the film is imperfect, offering pretty weak digital effects, but meeting them with excellent practical effects, while also offering ruggedly handsome cinematography by Mike Gioulakis and exceptionally snappy, if sometimes frantic editing by Donald Milne, as well as Don Coscarelli himself, who, as director, plays with the technical value of this film with enough inspiration to craft well-realized style that does a lot to define this lively effort. Style plays a pretty sizable role in storytelling, but in order to really keep the film going, at least as borderline compelling, Coscarelli is going to need to know what he's doing with atmosphere, and sure enough, Coscarelli delivers on a brooding atmosphere that makes the more intense moments genuinely suspenseful, in spite of fluffiness that, when really celebrated through brisk pacing, often overbears, but even more often sustains liveliness, maybe even fun. There's a lot to compliment here, and that makes the natural shortcomings all the more frustrating, because there's only so much to make the final product truly rewarding, but through inspired style, acting and storytelling behind a unique and interesting story, the film stands as a pretty enjoyable sit.

When it's time for John to die, or rather, the end, you're left with a promising film whose limitations in potential, stressed by underdevelopment, some exhausting freneticism in pacing, questionably intentionally incoherent plot structuring, and overall overambition, the final product falls short of rewarding, but through clever writing, - highlighted by very effective humor - strong acting, and inspired direction that features anything from fine style - anchored by fine practical effects, handsome cinematography and razor-sharp editing - to generally effective plays with atmosphere, behind an at least unique and interestingly complex story concept, "John Dies at the End" is left to stand as a thoroughly entertaining, if improvable dark comedy.

2.75/5 - Decent
Super Reviewer
August 6, 2013
'John Dies at the End'; the most misleading title ever. But also the coolest, most wierd, fun, exciting, thrilling Cult film I've seen in recent years. It has everything; Horror, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Raomance, Drama, Comedy, etc. The inventive set ups adapted from the novel of the same name; are the best parts of the film's quirky appeal. Executed with such a fine balance of thrilling enjoyment and hilarity; I highly recomend this soon to be cult classic thats sure to gain a great fan base over the years.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2015
John Dies at the End is one of those delightfully weird movies. Yes, it lacks here and there in various aspects (e.g. plot) but none of that detracts from the fun. While I found it to be a notch below classics such as Repo Man, still it is undeniably a good time.
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