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John Dies at the End

Movie Details

John Dies at the End
  • Genre: Comedy, Horror, SciFi/Fantasy
  • Release Date: 2013-01-25 LA
  • Running Time: 99 min.
  • Director: Don Coscarelli
  • Cast: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Daniel Roebuck, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston, Jimmy Wong
  • Producers: Brad Baruh, Don Coscarelli, Andy Meyers, Roman Perez
  • Writers: Don Coscarelli, David Wong
  • Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
  • Official Site: John Dies at the End Official Site

Although based on a prose Web serial by David Wong, the pseudonym of Jason Pargin, John Dies at the End feels remarkably like the work of a sensibility frozen at about 1996. Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes combat supernatural happenings only they can see in Anytown, U.S.A., speaking in that sarcastic Kevin Smith/You Don't Know Jack voice so ubiquitous in the '90s, and share the smirking interplay usually reserved to imminently slapable twentysomething bros going through the drive-through in fast-food commercials. The garrulousness and temporally shuffled narrative is off-the-rack Tarantino; the bizarro mind-benders,"Lynchian"; the horror-comic asides combining the mundane and the fantastic,"Raimi-esque"; the grab bag borrowing of avant-garde techniques, straight up Natural Born Killers. The CGI is close to what you would encounter in PC gaming during the Clinton administration, and a "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"–spoofed "wigger" shows up and says "ganked," which I am fairly certain is no longer in common parlance. I have concluded, then, that John Dies at the End is a product of a parallel universe where slacker flippancy never got old-- and, oh, it is terrible. Wong's stories snowballed in page-view popularity to the point of earning a proper publication by St. Martin's Press, and now this. Gathering an audience through online word of mouth, Wong has created a genuine cult phenomenon. Writer/director Don Coscarelli's film, however, groans with the strain of attempting to heave a cult object into being.

Nick Pinkerton

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