Spoiler Alert: John dies at the end. And at the beginning. And in the middle.
John Dies At The End (and it’s sequel “This Book Is Full Of Spiders: Seriously Dude Don’t Touch It”) has been on a reading list of mine for a while. It was written by Cracked.com writer Jason Pargin (or rather his alter ego David Wong) and supposedly was really funny. Lately I’ve been so knee-deep in Game Of Thrones and Stephen King that a lot of other potential reading conquests had fallen by the wayside. When I saw that they had made a movie, I got excited and then disappointed and then excited again. Books to movie adaptations usually don’t do the novel justice, and I get the faces of the actors stuck in my head instead of forming my own images.
So, I go into this having no knowledge of what the book is like, only that I really enjoyed this movie. The movie starts a bit disjointed, but we meet protagonist David Wong sitting in a diner trying to figure out time and the universe in the way only a person deep on a drug binge can figure it. He is shortly joined by Paul Giamatti, playing an interviewer who thinks David has a hot story. Seeing as how the movie jumps around in time (and dimensions) a lot, I’ll try to make it linear.
David and his best friend John are lazy stoners. At a concert, they meet a Rastafarian who claims to be psychic. David is skeptical, but is weird-ed out when his dream is described with 100% accuracy. David leaves and passes out on the couch. He is awoken by a phone call from John who is frantic, and demanding they meet at a diner. At the diner, John is freaking out about some drug he took that made him jump around in time, and he’s not sure where in time he is. David is pretty sure John is just tripping balls until he gets another call from John… while he’s sitting across the table from John.
It turns out that the Rastafarian has a drug nicknamed “Soy Sauce” and, once taken, it will allow the user to see and witness all of time and space. A side effect of this being that not everyone who takes this trip comes back alive… or human. Something special about John and David allow them to not only be not adversely affected by the sauce, but it gives them the ability to see and battle invaders from another dimension. From here, we are taken on a ride of battling evil, sarcasm, drugs, invasion conspiracies, and talking meat monsters.
This movie is very high on comedy, mostly coming from Chase Williamson’s deadpan sarcastic portrayal of David Wong playing off of Rob Mays overly-excited-schoolboy portrayal of John. The gore factor in this movie does not take itself seriously, and it’s often more funny than gross. Director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Beastmaster) knows just when and where to offset the horror with the funny. I felt that movie should have had a wider release and more publicity, but then again this movie does not take itself seriously enough for that kind of pressure.
After viewing this movie, I want to read the books even more now. I’ve heard the movie is only half as good as the books, so they should be a treat.
The bratwurst scene
John dies at the end