When we first encounter Dave (Chase Williamson), he’s telling his wild and unbelievable story to a skeptical reporter (Paul Giamatti) in a Chinese restaurant. It’s about how he and his buddy John (Rob Mayes) came across a drug called Soy Sauce, a black substance that allows users to access parallel dimensions and see backwards and forwards in time. Before John and Dave know what’s hit them, they’re battling strange creatures, travelling through alternate realities, and trying to save the world from an invasion.
John Dies at the End is a mindf**k of a movie that never compromises on its own insanity. It’s as complex as a three dimensional puzzle and Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) manages to put it together so expertly that by the end, not a single loose end is left untied, and not a single great joke setup is left without a punchline. The film is based on a book by internet sensation David Wong (he changed is name from Jason Pargin to make himself harder to Google), a pretty hefty tome that must have taken quite a bit of work to adapt into such a tight 99 minute package. The script is very clever indeed, and the complex story manages to be constantly surprising but never too convoluted to follow and enjoy the ride.
There are so many inventive twists, hilarious creatures and bizarre moments, it’s hard to classify the film as a comedy, a fantasy/sci-fi hybrid, or a drug trip on celluloid. All I know is, it’s one of the most fun films you’re going to see at TIFF, or perhaps all year. Bonus for the real hardcores: Clancy Brown (who’s also in Hellbenders in this year’s Midnight Madness programme) turns up in a great small role.
Is John Dies at the End Essential TIFF Viewing?
As the kids say, “mos def”. This film is going to blow the roof off the Ryerson Theatre on Saturday night. Stand in the rush line all day if you have to. If you can’t get a ticket to the midnight screening, I’d recommend checking it out at the repeat. The crowd won’t be as wild, but trust me, you don’t want to wait any longer than you have to, to see this gem.
Screening Times for John Dies at the End
- Saturday September 15, 2012 at 11:59 pm at the Ryerson Theatre
- Sunday September 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 2
More About This Movie
John Dies at the End Trailer
John Dies at the End Production Gallery
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