{2jtab: Movie Review}

John Dies at the End - Blu-ray Review


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4 stars

You’ve got my attention, Mr. Wong.

Opening with a riddle involving an ax, a slug, and a reanimated neo-nazi who has had his head stitched back on with weed trimmer line, John Dies at The Endproudly announces the return of writer/director Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-TepPhantasm).  The world of the Bizarre (because it deserves a capital “B”) returns as well.  Its gonzo spirit is mined straight from the cavernous walls of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead - as well as some of its cheesy effects – but that doesn’t stop its meat monster spirituality from presenting Theseus' Parodox by way of a monster movie.

John Dies at The End brings new meaning to hitting the sauce.  The soy sauce, that is.  David (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes), a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs, suddenly find themselves involved with a drug called the Soy Sauce.  Suddenly, their whole world becomes a twisted vision.  David is thrown directly into a bizarre world where the drug-infused psycho-paranoia of William S. Burroughs seems perfectly logical and certainly plausible.

You see, the “sauce” gives them ability to see inter-dimensional beings and the future and – because really good Chinese food has this effect – they can also talk to the dead.  It seems the whole world is suddenly reduced to a shitload of questions involving whether or not to eat Fruity Pebbles and how that might prevent a sudden invasion of dimensional beings.  As it turns out, this drug will lead them straight into a battle that will have them fighting for the protection of the world and, with a fanciful comedic tale of the most horrible to tell, David decides journalist Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) is the man to hear him.

And that’s only the beginning.  To try and make sense of the incomprehensible happenings scattered throughout the film would be an encyclopedic undertaking at best.  Just enjoy a ride full of slugs, exploding Jamaicans, long-legged insects, and a dog named Bark Lee who actually saves the day.  Because of its heightened effects, most everyone is “on the sauce” and it’s a takeover of the most extreme.

Mentalists be warned, John Dies at The End is the real illusion in town.  The film forces you to stare straight into the eyes of the things you see – or think you see - in the corner of your eye.  Moustaches fly off of faces and attack.  Bodies are dismembered and still fight for life.  Hot dogs become cell phones.  This is freakishly dark H.P. Lovecraft by way of the imaginative wit from Douglas Adams.

The script – based off of cracked.com writer Jason Pargin’s book – might not completely do the material justice but it does do a serviceable job in its adaptation.  This is every bit as whacked out as Dylan Dog should have been.  Purists will be disappointed by what’s left out.  But, trust me, the material is definitely “out” there and as comprehensible as any adaptation is going to get.  You see what you don’t see is that, with all the future-seeing happenings and whatnot, John might not actually be dead at the end of the movie.

Spawning pod things must be stopped.  We all know this.  And, when the Soy sauce chooses its users, we can’t be too disappointed when the heroes are merely slackers named David and John.  Freaked out yet?  You will be.  Just enjoy the trip.

John Dies at The End is as bugged out as it gets.

{2jtab: Film Details}

John Dies at the End - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for bloody violence and gore, nudity, language and drug content.
Runtime: 99 mins.
: Don Coscarelli
: Don Coscarelli
Paul Giamatti; Chase Williamson; Rob Mayes; Clancy Brown
: Comedy | Horror | Fantasy
Just so you know...they're sorry for anything that's about to happen.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I bet you're wondering what I'm doing with this can of gasoline."
Magnet Releasing
Official Site: http://johndies.com/
Release Date:
January 25, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 2, 2013.

Synopsis: 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?

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

John Dies at the End - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

5 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 2, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

The film is presented in a full 1080p High Definition transfer on the Blu-Ray disc, representing the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it looks truly beautiful.  Magnolia Home Entertainment is another studio that usually does a phenomenal job with the quality of their Blu-Ray presentations quality wise.  I could not find a single element of the video presentation that was lacking anything.  Colors are solid.  Blacks are sharp.  Fans of the books won’t be disappointed.  The audio soundtrack on the Blu-Ray disc is a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which sounds as beautiful as the picture looks.



  • Featuring writer/director Don Coscarelli, Producer Brad Baruh, and actors Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes, the newly recorded commentary is both fun and informative.  It gives a tremendous amount of insight into what went into bringing this story to life and just how much fun was involved in the process.

Special Features:

Some fans might feel a bit cheated by the adaptation as not every scene from the book is included.  Those fans might be a bit relieved then to know the special features attempts to rectify their concern.  Approximately 10 minutes of deleted scenes are included which gives classic moments and lines from the book not featured in the film a chance to be seen and heard.  The short “Creature Corps: The Effects of Soy Sauce” gives audiences a behind the scenes glimpse into the process of creating the meat monster featured at the beginning of the film.  A Making Of Featurette, Casting Sessions, A Fangoria Interview with Paul Giamatti and a trailer for the novel’s sequel round out the Special Features presented on the Blu-Ray release.

  • Deleted Scenes (10 min)
  • Getting Sauced: The Making of John Dies at the End (7 min)
  • Creature Corps: The Effects of Soy Sauce (8 min)
  • Casting Sessions (7 min)
  • Fangoria Interview with Paul Giamatti (10 min)
  • Books by David Wong (1 min)
  • Trailer

{2jtab: Trailer}