Friday, January 4, 2013

John Dies at the End

Description from Netflix:
Promising a trip that transcends time and space, a drug called Soy Sauce is sweeping the landscape - and quietly robbing users of their humanity.  Now, it's up to a couple of slackers to stop the psychotropic invasion before it's too late.

Notable actors: Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones

My thoughts:
This movie is a little strange.  I knew that going in.  I had read the book, and the description I came up with was, "Kind of goofy like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but much darker and with filthier humor."  That holds true for the movie, as well.

Dave is our narrator, and our guide through all the craziness that occurs throughout the course of this movie.  He and John have become fairly well-known as "spiritualist exorcists", or something like that.  A reporter comes to down to interview Dave about some of their exploits.  It is through this interview that we learn about the drug (street name "Soy Sauce") that got them in this situation to begin with.

As I mentioned, it's a pretty goofy movie, but it has an edge to it.  Some of the CG looks pretty cheesy (which is to be expected, as I know the budget wasn't huge), but, thankfully, they don't rely on it too much.  They focus more on the characters, and the effects the Soy Sauce has on them.  The immediate result of taking Soy Sauce takes the user out of space and time, but the aftereffects are different for each person.  Some are able to see things in this world that have been transported from an alternate dimension.  Some are overtaken by forces from that same alternate dimension.  These things are sinister, and want nothing more than to infiltrate the world.

One of my favorite things about this film (and book) is the world it takes place in.  It's a very unique and fully realized world.  And it looks tremendous here.  As I mentioned earlier, it's a darker world than I would've guessed, based on the extremely goofy vibe the film gives off.

The casting here is terrific.  Besides Paul Giamatti, there aren't any other huge names here.  The characters of John & Dave are played by Rob Mayes (who looks a bit like Liam Hemsworth) and Chase Williamson, respectively.  Amy is played by Fabianne Therese.  And they're all fantastic.  I couldn't have asked for a better cast.

After reading the book, I was excited to find that they were making a movie.  After seeing the trailer, I was less than enthused.  It's almost like they took the cheesiest, most CG heavy moments and put them in the trailer.  And the acting looks pretty terrible.
Thankfully, that is not the case.  Aside from the CG, the movie looks great, and the acting is terrific.

It's not for everyone.  Even for a horror-comedy, it's pretty strange.  But it's funny and creepy and kind of touching at times.  And it moves along at a pretty good clip.  At 99 minutes, it's not very long, and I was never bored.  If you're looking for something kind of fun and different, definitely give this one a shot.

It's slated for a January 25 theatrical release, but it's currently available to watch on VOD through the normal venues (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, etc.).  It's $9.99, which is a pretty good deal.  Invite a few friends over and throw this one on.  You won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5

Red Band trailer below:

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