Director: Don Coscarelli
Writers: Don Coscarelli (written for the screen by), David Wong (based on the story by)
Stars: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti
Who Directed It: Don Coscarelli
Plot: A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return no longer human. Can two college drop-outs save humanity from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
Running Time: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
IMDB Score: 6.4
Why I Watched It: This was one that I really wanted to see and somehow it fell through the cracks and it took me six years to finally see it and I have to say thank you to Prime cause that’s where I finally found it.
Random Thoughts: It’s safe to say that Don Coscarelli is a cult director, not a huge name but in horror and stuff that is strange he’s a legend, he’s mostly known for the Phantasm movies, I love his Bubba Ho-Tep his films are out there and sadly he hasn’t directed that many films, he’s one of those directors that only directors his “projects” for the most part he’s not a director for hire and he’s usually outside the studio system.
What I Liked: John Dies At The End is a very weird, strange and unique film and it’snot for everyone and I think that’s it’s selling point. It’s a very different but entertaining film, also it’s a film that’s really hard to explain cause really it’s out there.
To explain how hard it is to describe just look at the plot summary and that’s not what the film is about, it’s kind of but also kind of not. I would say the film has not a nightmare logic but a drug induced logic and that totally works as drugs are a main plot point but to be clear it’s not a stoner movie it’s a weird kind of higher plane of thinking film, It’s smart it doesn’t go for the easy jokes and really the plot is complicated or I should say it’s as complicated as you want it to be.
The acting is pretty good across the board with some very familiar faces popping up but to warn you Giamatti, Brown and Doug Jones aren’t in it that much but all are good. I really liked Rob Mayes as John it would have been easy to just do a Bill and Ted impression but he creates layers in a character that I’m not sure actually as layers.
The whole film is strange and weird and you never truly know where it’s going and what it’s really about and for me that was the fun of it.
What I Didn’t Like: You can say the film lacked focus and that’s valid but I think that was the point but if you go in thinking this is a standard film with standard film cliches then you’ll be disappointed. I do think it could have been a little clearer and more focused on characters cause that is lacking for sure. Also this is a film that might be too weird for it’s own good this is a cult film through and through and you have to take it on it’s own terms.
In the acting department I think Chase Williamson was fine but he was a little bland, now when he was playing off Mayes he worked a lot better but when it was just him carrying the film he lacked a bit he was maybe too laid back he didn’t have much energy and that hurt the character for me.
The end is really out there and of course it makes sense in this world but it may leave some people going “what the hell did I just watch” and I get that as well.
Final Thoughts: You’re either going to get this film or not, if you like the weird and non Hollywood film then give this a watch I liked it and I will say different is nice to see ever once in a while even if it’s flawed.