Told mostly from flashbacks, Dave (played by a dry smart alec Chase Williamson) recounts to a reporter named Arnie (the wonderful Paul Giamatti) about the adventures spawned from a parallel universe drug dubbed “soy sauce”. A drug that Dave and his friend John (Joe Mauer lookalike Rob Mayes) use to deal with the dead and bust ghosts.
“When a song plays on the radio, where is the song?”
If you can answer this question presented in cult filmmakers Don Coscarelli’s (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) latest John Dies at the End, then you’re further along than I am. I didn’t know what the heck was happening from one moment to the next; like the series LOST it just kept on presenting 10 more question for every question answered. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, either.
Driving dogs, moustache bats, and bratwurst phones are part of the nutty imaginative landscape. It also has old school monster effects that remind me of Rob Bottin’s work in The Thing (1983), and that my friend, is high praise.
Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti, who also serves as the films executive producer, elevates the film with his schlubby screen presence and A-list acting.
High praise may be due for the visual effects, but Coscarelli attempts a Sam Raimi style of horror shot selection that doesn’t get nearly the laughs.
While you’ve got the likes of Giamatti and that kooky story fun there are just so many scenes that just have no reason for existing except to just exist. When Dave receives a phone call from John when John is right across from Dave chatting is coolioolio, but heck if I know what it means and what it could possibly serve to the story.
There’s just enough trippy sci-fi horror comedy to give Coscarelli’s adaptation of Jason Pargin’s (published under the pseudonym David Wong) novel a pass.
Take a Drink: whenever Dave answers any sort of phone call.
Take a Drink: whenever there’s fire.
Down a Shot: when a ghost door is opened.