What I'm Watching: John Dies at the End
John doesn't die at the end.
Of course, since there is no 'the end' to the movie, and instead 'Fin' closes the movie, one could argue they didn't cheat.
BUT, I digress.
This was an...interesting movie. It's the story of David and John, and a few others, as they discover the secrets behind this universe and the next, see things no one was meant to see, and stumble over the dangers of Soy Sauce.
Yeah, like I said. Interesting.
The easiest way to describe this is would be to say They Live meets Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's got that alien invasion vibe mixed in with Douglas Adams' sense of humour. Ghostbusters is a good comparrison for this movie, by way of a bad acid trip. And for the most part, I love it.
This is exactly my kind of humour, although maybe a little too often does it rely on being weird for weirdness' sake, just to be weird. Still, that can be fun, and this movie is mostly fun in that regard. It is insane, with big ideas, and sadly the biggest flaw is that the ideas are too big.
The back of the DVD case boasts a quote stating the movie has enough big ideas for ten movies. And it does. But all those ideas are so busy scrambling for attention that some of them never quite get fully developed as stories.
John Dies at the End really comes close to being more of an anthology telling the adventures of these two slackers fighting the evil weirdness in their lives. There is a larger throughline that takes up the bulk of things and ties a lot of it together, but there are enough other stories floating around that this isn't quite a single story in itself.
If they had ended the movie with the main story being wrapped up, and then dealing with the framing device, it would have been stronger. But they kept going with more weirdness, just for the hell of it. The film overstays its welcome by JUST a hair with those extra moments. They don't add anything other than one more idea that's not fully fleshed out.
But if you take the sections on their own, and any given moment, this movie has so much brilliance. I love the crazy ideas, I love the utterly bizarre shit I've never seen before on screen. It just ends up being stitched together in not the best way, and doesn't quite hang together as well as a man made up of frozen meat.
The main story is great, each bit and piece are great as far as they go, but the movie makes me want more. It feels unfinished, and there's a few things that just aren't clear that could have been made clearer.
Is wanting there to be more really a BAD thing? Well, when it leaves you scratching your head with a bit of confusion, then yeah, it is, a bit. I don't quite know what to make of the movie. I loved so much about it, but as a movie, something doesn't work, you know?
It is clearly destined for cult status with an insanely loyal fanbase that loves this sort of craziness, and I will proudly say I am right there with them, and this movie will surely grow on me. And once I read the book, I am sure more things will make sense, and I'll enjoy it even more, but for now it isn't quite a home run.
I definitely recommend it for people who like their horror a little bit silly, or like some weirdness with their comedy. If you're a fan of Bubba Ho-Tep, or the book, you kinda know what you're in for, and shouldn't be disappointed. I wasn't, don't get me wrong. I just need to mull this one over. It's a lot to take in!