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Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: We're talking about a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't. Based on the novel by author David Wong, John Dies at the End was adapted and directed by horror auteur Don Coscarelli. [Magnet] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 27
  2. Negative: 7 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jan 31, 2013
    80
    It lays waste to linear narration, thematic coherence, psychological plausibility and just about everything else you might expect to encounter. It zigs, zags and trips over its own feet and on its own home-brewed hallucinogens. It's a ridiculous, preposterous, sometimes maddening experience, but also kind of a blast.
  2. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Jan 9, 2013
    80
    Give or take the titular disclosure, John Dies at the End is a thoroughly unpredictable horror-comedy -- and an immensely entertaining one, too.
  3. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Feb 7, 2013
    75
    John Dies at the End isn't deep. But it is deeply amusing, in the sickest possible way.
  4. Reviewed by: James White
    Mar 18, 2013
    60
    Gonzo freakiness in such doses that cult status is practically ensured.
  5. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 24, 2013
    55
    Once the colorful anecdotes sprawl out into an actual narrative, the film gets convoluted and loud, amplifying the weirdness without doing much to clarify it.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jan 9, 2013
    50
    A supernatural action comedy that can never live up to its exciting opening scenes, Don Coscarelli's John Dies at the End mixes horror-tinged mayhem with smart-alec laughs but loses momentum early and gets bogged down in exposition.
  7. 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.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. Mar 25, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A cautionary tale of the real secret of the universe, the title is not really a spoiler but more of a "side effect" of the film's supernatural narcotic called Soy Sauce, giving us a glimpse into a weird, exciting, and horrifying Earth where all that stands against ultimate destruction is David Wong and his friend John. Expand
  2. Jan 27, 2013
    8
    I personally enjoyed the movie, being a person who's never read the book. It's more intelligent than it makes itself out to be, it gets you thinking a bit, there are some enjoyable twists, and overall it's a cool movie. I would recommend it to a friend. Expand
  3. Apr 2, 2013
    8
    I would describe this film as an entertaining ride of weirdness and oddball humor. It was made on a shoestring budget evident by the cheesy VFX and rather fake blood and gore stuff, but it adds to the charm (as it did for Evil Dead). Don't expect it to be as brilliant or profound as say Donnie Darko but be open to it and give it a fair chance and you'll get a fun 100 min experience! Expand
  4. Sep 18, 2013
    7
    John Dies At The End is a quirky, funny and drug filled movie. The film revolves around a new drug, called Soy Sauce, which alters the way people interact with the world. The film does well at introducing you to the strange behaviors and possibilities allowed by this concept. First and foremost, this movie is not for those who dislike violence, nudity, and/or profanity. This movie takes advantage of all three in ways that while clever could be off-putting to some. The movie keeps a nice pace throughout, never boring the viewer, but does include a number of strange events that will put some viewers off by the strange and somewhat childish humor. For those who can look past what some would call vulgar humor, the movie is a well paced, funny film focused on friendship and the universe (odd pairing, I know--it'll all explain itself throughout the film). With that said, I was very disappointed at the ending, which dragged past the clear solution, and left me a bit confused. If the film had ended just a tad earlier, I would have been much more satisfied with the movie.

    In regards to the film's technical aspects the video is very well done. It is clear and well saturated with fantastic detail in the blacks and the shadows throughout the film. For a movie which takes advantage of both the heavily dark and heavily bright scenes, this is important as both provide seemingly endless amounts of texture whether in creatures, settings, or the characters themselves. At times though I found the CGI to be a bit over the top and it didn't always mesh well with the world they had created. This can be overlooked due to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film.

    The audio was presented nicely in Dolby Digital 5.1 featuring a strong LFE (subwoofer) track, that extends nicely throughout the scenes creating a sense of realism to the many odd noises heard. It incorporates a wide dynamic range from simple dialogue, to loud explosions and soft whispers. Nonetheless, I never was blown out of my chair, and was able to keep the volume at the same level without any discomfort.

    Parents, in no way is this movie appropriate for children. Featuring topless women, male genetalia, a lot of violence, extensive profanity and the occasional racial slur, as well as drug use, this film puts it outside the realm of what I would comfortably recommend for any child under 15-17 years old.

    As a whole though, the film was a fun romp that never takes itself too seriously. While the premise of the film is far fetched, the secondary characters are often a bit dull, the film as a whole is fun, fast-paced, and enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone in need of a good laugh who can look past the sometimes juvenile humor.
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  5. Mar 20, 2014
    6
    You may or may not be familiar with the work of Jason Pargin already. If you've ever visited Cracked.com, then you may know him by his pseudonym, David Wong. Here, Pargin adapts his own book, written by his alter ego, of the same name, starring his pseudonym self.

    Confused? Well get used to it, because this is about as normal and mundane as it gets. Aided and abetted by director Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep), Pargin (or Wong, please yourself) has created a world that defies categorisation. Labelled with various degrees of futility as another Naked Lunch, Hithc-Hikers Guide or Bill & Ted, John Dies At The End is a cult indie just waiting to be recognised. Starring Chase Williamson (David) and Rob Mayes (John), this complete and total **** of a story is difficult to pigeon-hole, tricky to second-guess and nigh on impossible to forsee (unless you have read the book, of course)

    Labelled thusly by Imdb "A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?" JDATE is all of these things and plenty more besides. This laughable synopsis barely scratches the surface of this bizarre tale of two friends that innocently do the wrong kind of drug one night at a party and all hell breaks loose. Whether this is in their own heads or not, or how much of it may be nothing more than overactive imagination, well, that's a decision you need to make for yourself. I wouldn't try, however, as just like mother nature, just when you've think you've got a handle on it, it throws something at you like a duck-billed platypus, just to **** up your initially well-thought out explanation of mammals.

    And to be honest, I was more oblivious to the existence of this story and its magically tragic characters than the director himself, who only became aware of its existence by happy accident. It was made known to him as a recommendation from Amazon, after buying a completely different book. Taken by the natty title, Coscarelli decided to give Wong's adventure a whirl and what you see here is his (and Jason's/David's) adaptation.

    I was even slower, only catching the second book 'This Book Is Full Of Spiders' in the saga as a recommendation on Audible. If nothing else, it proves that Both Coscarelli and I are nothing if not open-minded and appreciate the benefits technology can offer. Essentially, without our computers, I would have missed a great story and cinema would be one very odd film short of complete.

    Regularly gory and occasionally amusing, seeing these characters on screen is like getting a hug from an old friend that you haven't seen for some time, but can't honestly say you've missed all that much. Yes, it's nice to see them and the casting is creepily accurate, but this is such a strange and bizarre world, that just like the aformentioned Naked Lunch, you're not sorry to be out of it when you're done.

    It doesn't have anything like the same creeping dread and slithery tension provided by Cronenberg, however, concentrating its running time with comedy more than horror. The Shaun Of The Dead approach of being surprised by something so otherworldly and just how someone completely unprepared to deal with it copes with being put in this situation is where the story hangs its hat. The second book continues this approach with most of the characters of not make re-appearances, as well as that legendary soy sauce.

    Ultimately, this film is bonkers. In that respect, it is frightfully honourable to the original text, with only a few things changed to make a very strange book slip comfortably from page to screen. The casting, as mentioned, is brilliant. Sometimes, you might get lucky and find that the casting director has matched up maybe one character that you have forseen yourself whilst reading the initially faceless pages. Here, we are treated to at least three characters that you can name without so much as hearing them speak.

    A good translation from one medium to another, but it really does benefit from having a copy of the book recently soaked up, as otherwise you may find yourself bombarded by things that just do not make sense. When you begin to understand that this is just another part of the beauty of the story itself, you can relax, knowing that, perhaps, you shouldn't try and take it too seriously. A survival horror game, reduced to feature-length proportions for a greedy audience. It's not a classic and the script is, much like its source, simple, alarmist and base. Still, bloody good fun, nonetheless.
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  6. Mar 12, 2013
    5
    Cross "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" with "Men in Black" and you have a rough idea of what to expect. Two slackers stumble upon a "sauce" that confers paranormal powers, but also invades the body with alien parasites. There's plenty of left field humor (although not often funny) and some moderately cool special EFX. The story starts out with a fun feel, but ends up confusing and dumb. Writer/director Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep, Phantasm) loves the off-kilter, but isn't sufficiently imaginative to make his movies anything other than good-natured cult ramblings. Expand
  7. Apr 12, 2013
    2
    I went into this move with high hopes. I love quirky. I like horror comedy. I like non-standard narration. I like Paul Giamatti. The problem was that this never added up to anything. It was a series of gaping plot holes strung together for no apparent reason.

    It did make me chuckle occasionally, but more in the I-can't-believe-something-so-absurd-is-happening way than something actually being funny.

    Again, I have not read the books. I can only assume that this series of events had some sort of internal logic in them.
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See all 16 User Reviews

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