John Dies at the End (R)

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

Tue Jan 29 2013

But it’s Dave Wong (Chase Williamson) we meet at the beginning. The slacker white dude with the noticeably Asian last name—long story—is one half of a demon-fighting duo that has stumbled on an alterna-universe plot for global domination. That’s an even longer story, so good thing schlub journalist Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) is there in a leaden framing story to hear Dave out. We’d recap his otherworldly tale of woe if it made a lick of sense. Suffice to say it involves a hallucinogenic drug called “soy sauce”; Dave’s goof-off-in-arms best bud, John (Rob Mayes); and a race of beings who come from what one of our protagonists describes as “Eyes Wide Shut world.” (That’ll get you some reference-whore cred!)

If it’s not abundantly clear by now, this frenetic horror-comedy from Bubba Ho Tep’s Don Coscarelli is of the make-it-up-as-you-go-along school of storytelling. That’s appropriate considering that the film originated as a serialized Web novel, which surely had a go-for-broke energy on the page that is almost entirely lacking in this no-budget would-be cult item. Genre stalwart Clancy Brown and character actor extraordinaire Glynn Turman do some fine, funny supporting work as a slick psychic and an obsessive cop, respectively. But the “wackiness” (scare quotes included) is mostly ceaseless and tiresome, from the ravenous zombie neo-Nazi that leads things off to the Galaxy Quest rejects that figure in the movie’s annoyingly anticlimactic finale. Also, spoiler alert: That title’s a friggin’ lie, man!

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

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Release details

Rated:

R

US release:

Fri Feb 1, 2013

Duration:

99 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Don Coscarelli

Screenwriter:

Don Coscarelli

Cast:

Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti

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