Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 7, 2013
    25
    Every single thing wrong with John Dies at the End might have been avoided had John died at the beginning, along with all the other characters, transforming an awful full-length movie into a harmless five-minute short.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 7, 2013
    38
    This is a fantasy grab bag in which nearly anything can happen.
  3. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jan 31, 2013
    25
    A supernatural horror-comedy that's frighteningly lacking in wit, John Dies at the End thinks it's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for dudes. But in its randomness, its vulgarity and its level of humor, it's more like the collected writings on the walls of a roadside men's room.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 29, 2013
    20
    This frenetic horror-comedy from "Bubba Ho Tep's" Don Coscarelli is of the make-it-up-as-you-go-along school of storytelling.
  5. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jan 22, 2013
    10
    John Dies at the End is a product of a parallel universe where slacker flippancy never got old-and, oh, it is terrible.
  6. Reviewed by: Leah Churner
    Feb 21, 2013
    30
    The whole movie is an inside joke, a shaggy-dog tale that asks us to pay close attention to its twists and turns, but never rewards us for doing so.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jan 21, 2013
    25
    The frantic, grotesque imagery ironically only highlights Don Coscarelli's inability to truly cut ties with the constraints of accepted storytelling.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. Apr 28, 2013
    3
    Interesting premise but a huge let down. There are a few moments that are kind of fun, but half the time you are like how is that happening and that and then that. Things just get stupid and pointless. Full Review »
  2. Nov 13, 2014
    5
    "John Dies at the End" 10 Scale Rating: 5.0 (Mediocre) ...

    The Good: Starts out darkly amusing and entertaining, with snappy and witty
    dialogue that will elicit a chuckle or two. Solid ending that redeems the film somewhat.

    The Bad: Goes way WAY off the tracks and ends up all over the place. It will no doubt end up a cult classic, but the absurdity becomes a little too much for my tastes.
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 21, 2014
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. As it begins, John Dies At The End is a faithful adaptation of David Wong (Jason Pargin)'s incredible novel. The depiction of the trippy opening riddle, the house investigation sequence, and pretty much every other horrific and hilarious event for a long while onward is superb; the source material is one of my favorite books of all time, and I found myself giggling along as reality itself seemed to lose its mind on the screen. I was even okay with most of the expected changes, like the meat monster appearing in Shelly's basement and Dave meeting Robert North (Roger in the film) as he drives John home rather than much further on. There were... darker spots, but I'll get to them later.

    Lead actor Chase Williamson can get slightly mumbly and underacts in a few scenes, but he does a fine job of capturing David's character and it's a treat to see him in the many bizarre situations the film puts him in. Rob Mayes as the titular John, however, was a bit of a letdown; he's likable, but he loses much of the delightful sociopathy that the novel's John constantly sprayed in everyone's face. Fabianne Therese's portrayal of Amy Sullivan is the worst of the bunch, turning one of the most lovable and unique characters in the book into an annoying, forgettable stock love interest. The remainder of the actors are, however, perfectly cast and hew closely to their literary renditions.

    Even though the film contains a lot of brilliance early on, it regrettably fizzles out by the climax. The plot tries to compress three full arcs into one and a half hours, so I knew coming in that there would have to be omissions, but some of the cuts and modifications are just terrible. Amy being at the party in place of Jennifer erases much of her misunderstood mystique, and it's implied that she is already Dave's girlfriend, completely wiping away any kind of character development for her. The shootout in Las Vegas that concluded the book's first arc is replaced with **** taking Dave, John, Amy, and Fred Chu directly to the third arc's ghost door; this leads to the complete absence of the shadow people, and this in turn prevents arch-villain Korrok from receiving absolutely any buildup, making his reveal astoundingly unremarkable. It also has a domino effect on the depiction of **** Narnia (Korrok's home realm), essentially destroying the true explanations for where the creatures came from, what Korrok's motivations were, and why the dog was so important.

    However, these would all be forgivable if the film didn't completely gut the best part of the novel: it omits the intriguing subplot of the body in David's toolshed. Thus, it hits the delete key on the revelation that led to a poignant, heart-wrenching eleventh hour and tied the entire book with all of its seemingly random mysteries together, including the answer to the aforementioned opening riddle (which goes unanswered here, and is essentially meaningless). Instead, the film simply selects the dog as the savior of mankind, gives Dave and John a happy ending, and eschews the potential to be more than an absurdist impression of the novel.

    Ultimately, John Dies At The End is mostly a great time up to the point where it introduces ****, at which point nearly everything falls apart. Had the film been perhaps an hour longer, many of its flaws would undoubtedly have been nonexistent.
    Full Review »