I won’t lie, children, John Dies at the End is, without a doubt my favorite book since my all time favorite, Fahrenheit 451.
I’ll let you sit there for a moment in quiet amazement that I actually read.
So, when I say that this review will be somewhat biased, it is an understatement. This review will be biased as fudge. This will probably be the most biased review you will read until Hollywood gets off its fat collagen injected butt and cranks out a decent Fahrenheit 451 adaptation.
Don’t you dare mention that cheap British version of F451. Don’t you dare!
For those of you crying silently and praying that I finally get to the point, John Dies at the End is a movie about these two guys, Dave and John, who stumble upon a drug called soy sauce that is kind of alive and kind of mean and, when it basically forces them to take it, they have their minds open to the hidden legions of darkness around them.
With the book, there was more…. so much more. With the movie, that’s just about it.
Without a doubt, this has been the biggest disappointment in my life since I learned my dad just ran off with a waitress and wasn’t really a secret agent on assignment at the Kremlin. If you have ever read the book, you would know that it’s a multi-layered look at insanity, the fear of insanity, and the fear of self. With the movie… it’s just about two guy taking on a badly CGI’ed monster named Korok. This movie should be thanking its lucky stars that Mortal Kombat Annihilation exists because otherwise, it would be a sho-win for worst CGI in the history of anything. This is the level of cheapness you find in a Saturday movie on SyFy… you know, Sand Sharks, or Flying Spiders, or Testicle Worms from the Core of the Earth. That level high quality entertainment from people who just don’t give a darn.
Very little in the movie works. The characters of Dave and John have very little chemistry together, the supposedly humorous aspects of the movie are played down because, after all, who would expect humor for a movie called John Dies at the End? That stuff should be taken seriously!
On the plus side, though, Paul Giamatti was a welcome relief from the amateur sideshow that entailed most of this movie and his facial hair was quite pleasant. Of course, this is also the guy who prevented Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes from becoming a towering pile hamster vomit and we all know, that was no small task. This man could have appeared in a Youtube video where two teenagers beat a stray dog to death with a skateboard and people would say, “Wow, that was horrible… but Paul Giamatti was great in it!”
Man oh man, if the point of the book was in Cleveland, the movie has landed somewhere on Mars. Yeah, I know that I’m reviewing the movie and not the book, but this movie is so bereft of any meaning and any point that you have to look at the book to see just how pathetically Don Coscarelli misunderstood the source material. He’s got fan service, but doesn’t bother to put in the payoff. The best parts of the book are missing and the logical climax of the story doesn’t even happen… it’s replaced with a climax that is silly even for a movie about a living drug and meat monsters.
Hopefully one day, the rights to this movie will be purchased by someone who is competent and will finally do it justice. Dave and John will be able to go to Las Vegas, fight a dog blimp, forget they have a friend named Todd, and find a strange foreboding tattoo on their toe. It happened with Red Dragon… why not this one?
If you’re a fan of the book, John Dies at the End will leave you disappointed and bewildered. If you’ve never heard of the book, you will be left bewildered, but not as disappointed as a fan of the book. Basically, John Dies at the End is a victim of the Hollywood Derp Machine where the material was too subtle and too clever for the person writing and directing it.
Might it be a good movie to the uninitiated? Perhaps… Perhaps it will entertain the masses for a little while, but I can’t imagine anyone looking at a film where some of the special effects look like N64 video game graphics and where so much of the movie happens without a payoff and thinking to themselves, “Hey, I’m glad I watched that!”