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Movie Breakdown: John Dies At The End (Noah)

February 8, 2013


People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

From everything I’ve heard about this film, from the lowliest reviewer to Mr A.O. Scott himself, this is a clusterfuck of absurdity and horror. Sounds great.

The Reality:

At one point in John Dies At The End, a magical Rasta named Robert Marley (Tai Bennett) explains to David Wong (Chase Williamson) how amazing, even impossible it is, that you can have dreams that correlate with the real world. That you can be asleep, dreaming about dynamite and when that dynamite goes off, the sound it makes is actually the first clap of thunder from an approaching storm. Robert Marley’s point is this: how does your mind know to make a dream that lays the groundwork for thunder you didn’t even know was going to appear? I’ve been thinking about it for two days now. That is weird. And so is John Dies At The End, Don Coscarelli’s new adaptation of David Wong’s (the real David Wong) nutty little novel. It’s the sort of horror film that died when Sam Raimi started making big budget crap, the type where strange stuff happens and everyone, including the characters are baffled, but no one really feels the need to explain themselves. Coscarelli lays on the weird thick here, each consecutive scene seems to be trying to out-do the last, and for a pretty good while, it’s a blast trying to suss out just what’s happening and what might happen (you won’t) as the characters on screen do. Absurdity though has its limits, and after almost two hours of arms being ripped off and hallucinations and the appearance and disappearance of characters seemingly with no motivation, it gets a little old, and when the credits rolled I found myself a little less enamored then when it had first started. Yet, this thought, this magical Rasta’s little notion of the strangeness of dreams hasn’t left me. It’s just sitting in their, probably gaining more and more traction. If a film that features ghost doors and exploding eyeballs can leave that kind of impression on me, it’s probably worth a second watch.

The Lesson:

I don’t know. Watch this movie high?

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