Thursday, January 24, 2013

John Dies At The End - A Coscarellian Trip Through Time, Space and Dimensions

John Dies At The End
Director - Don Coscarelli
Writer - Don Coscarelli (Screenplay) David Wong (Original Novel)
Starring - Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Fabianne Therese

Tag Line:
Just so you know.....they're sorry for anything that's about to happen.

Alternate Title:
D┼żon umire na kraju - Serbia

Every so often a film comes along that really speaks to me.  A film that possesses a certain....Je ne sais quoi.  This is one of those films.  It really is quite a magical thing when it happens.  You can't tell when a film will have this effect on you before hand.  Sure you can watch the trailer and say "Gee, that looks neat!", but until you are sitting in the dark while light and shadow dances across the screen, you truly have no idea how you'll come out on the other side.  This time, I came out a slightly different person than I was going in.

This is going to be a little bit of a tricky review....because John Dies At The End is a quite complex film that I suspect has more to reveal to me on subsequent viewings.  It's a truly unique vision that is at once extremely complex, yet so beautifully simple.  You can't just sit back and "check your brain at the door" when watching this movie.  You've got to pay attention.....yet at the same time, don't over think it because it will stop making sense.  There in lies the transcendental beauty of the whole thing.

Here's the need to know basics of it:  There is a drug known as Soy Sauce.  Only it's not exactly a's alive.....sort of.  If you take it, you will be able to see, hear and experience things that no one else can.  I guess it's sorta like the potion that Victor Wong gives Kurt Russell in Big Trouble In Little China.  Only different.  Unfortunately most people who take this drug end up either dead or not human anymore.  Enter our heroes John and Dave.  They've managed to stay alive and human after being injected with Soy Sauce.

This is one of those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink.....oh-no-wait-there-it-is type of movies.  I know that this is going to sound completely whack-o....but it reminded me a bit of Dude Where's My Car?!!!  Not plotwise....but just in the aforementioned what-the-hell-could-possibly-happen-now sense.  Some of the out there sights to behold are a monster made of frozen cuts of meat, a psychic dog that can drive and a mustache ripping off of a man's face and flying around the room.  Just about every scene contains a WTF moment.

If you are a Coscarelli fan, then you definitely cannot afford to miss this one.  It is a total trip and a half.  It is currently available to view VOD (but not for long) and on Amazon to rent before it's in theaters.  It opens in select theaters tomorrow (1/25/13).  See it at any cost, it's totally worth it.

Midnight Cinephile Totals:

Body Count:  There is quite a hefty body count in this one!  I can't even begin to guess the actual number, but it's in the double digits, that's for dang sure!  Gorehounds should be pleased with this one.

Boob Count:  There are quite a few bare breasts in this one too.  They're not spread out throughout the movie though....they are pretty much concentrated into one scene.  But hey...boobs are boobs, are they not?

Beast Count:  There's a shit ton of different monsters, creatures and beasties on display here as well!  The aforementioned meat monster, the sentient flying mustache, an more!

Final Thoughts:
This is a fun roller-coaster ride for sure, but there is one thing that is stuck in my head.  Something one of the characters says.  It's a strange Jamaican (named Robert Marley...HA!) guy who is on the Soy Sauce and demonstrating his supernatural abilities.  To prove his abilities, he reads Dave's mind and tells him about the dream he (Dave) had that morning during a thunderstorm.  In the dream, his ex-girlfriend had a bundle of dynamite and a cartoon style plunger/detonator.  When Dave asks her what she's doing, she simply says "This." and pushes the plunger/detonator.  It explodes with a bang and Dave wakes up to a clap of thunder.  Robert then says:  "But the scary question is, how did your mind know?  How did it know there was going to be a clap of thunder?  It started the dream 30 seconds before there was thunder.  How could it know?"  It IS a rather curious question, isn't it?  This is just one example of the questions about parallel universes and dimensions, time travel and the very essence of existence that this movie raises.  It's mind blowing when you start to sit down and process it all.

Final Rating:

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