Recounting on his experiences that led him up to a meeting with a reporter, Dave’s life changes started when he went to a party one night. At the party, he met an odd man named Robert Marley, who was able to read into Dave’s dreams and dabbled in the mystical. Ignoring the strangeness of the situation, he went home but was awoken by a call from John. Picking John up from the house, he also raided some items from John’s table, including a strange syringe and a gun. While driving John around following a strange conversation at a diner, he was attacked in the car and poked by the syringe, causing him to believe he was starting to hallucinate. The drug seemed to open up his mind to a whole new world of creatures and unexplainable occurances, eventually leading him toward a mission to take out an all-powerful creature name Korrok, who was threatening to destroy two parallel universes.
Starring: Chase Williamson (Dave), Rob Mayes (John), Paul Giamatti (Arnie Blondestone), Clancy Brown (Dr. Albert Marconi), Glynn Turman (Detective), Doug Jones (Roger North), Daniel Roebuck (Largeman), Fabianne Therese (Amy), Jonny Weston (Justin White), Jimmy Wong (Fred Chu), Tai Bennett (Robert Marley), Allison Weissman (Shelly), Ethan Erickson (Sergeant McElroy), Pranidhi Varshney (Deepti Chakrabarti), Kevin Richardson (Korrok)
While half of the characters of the film are tweaking out from the drugs, the acting is still rather decent. Williamson fills the role of the main character without being too preachy or too exaggerated. He is a solid grounding character for the more eccentric performances. Mayes, on the other hand, has a fun confidence that makes him a little goofy while also an attractive sidekick. Giamatti’s skepticism is rather fun and his twist is quite a surprise as well. With the rest of the cast, there is a great variety of humor and seriousness that helps to keep the film grounded while it quickly trips out into a drug-induced craze.
Adapting the indie story of oddities, Don Coscarelli went for the weird and the abnormal. Drifting back and forth in the timeline, Dave served as the storyteller and recounted on how he ended up in his mind-bending reality. With his buddy John, the two guys could barely hold down a job but were open to investigating the paranormal. The main story followed how Dave got pulled into his strange existence, mostly at the coercion of John and some mystical, black symbiote. Escaping a dedicated police detective, Dave found himself first facing off against a swarm of white insect-like creatures that take control of their human host until they kill it and move on. Surviving his first horror, he learned that he and John were needed to attempt to kill a creature in another dimension that was threatening to destroy both worlds.
The film included a lot of trippy and humorous elements to keep the viewer engaged with a slightly confusing plot line. The dialogue throughout the film included moments where a simple word or phrase could break the tension or lighten the mood, like nearly everything said by Justin White. If the viewer was unaware of the supernatural element of the film, they would be surprised by the randomly changing door handle, woman bursting into snakes, creatures appearing out of the corner of the characters’ eyes and other paranormal activities. There are elements that feel like they are from a Joss Whedon feature, but the story does not have the continuity and flow that other similar films have exhibited.
John Dies at the End seems to have a bit of a surprise ending that is not what the viewer would expect. There is an odd ebb and flow with the story but it is still a rather entertaining feature.
Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5