This next film is one that I have to admit I am not certain whether to classify as speculative fiction. If I had to put it in a classification, I suppose I would not use “Comedy”. Perhaps I could call it “drug-influenced”, or maybe go so far as “spirit-influenced”. As you might know, I don’t really like reviewing things that have a bad spirit to them, but if you reviewing film, it really is unavoidable.
John Dies at the End is one of those films where you are not certain what you are seeing is real or imaginary. This is starting to become more common in films, and I have seen both good and bad examples of each. It opens with a character named David Wong, who is not at all Asian. He starts to recount his story to a reporter, and this is the framing device for the rest of the film. (There are some spoilers after the jump, but not too many.)
The story then focuses on David and John, who seem to have a strange ability to interact with the paranormal. They soon meet a ghost or demon, or something that takes a corporal form of meat. It tries to strangle David and John with long sausage arms. Yes, this does sound like a comedy along the lines of Ghostbusters.
The meat demon story is only a side story as David learns that John has tried a drug known as “soy sauce”. Soy sauce apparently has the ability to raise one’s intelligence to the point where they can transcend time and space. I would imagine that there are a lot of drugs that seem to do that, but soy sauce is the real deal.
Soon after, David is arrested, and this begins a chain of events that lead to some inter-dimensional being that possesses and destroys its human hosts. This is done in a way that is quite grotesque, which sort of brings this movie into horror territory.
David and John then discover this weird ghost door, and I won’t tell you how it is opened, because it is one of the most original ideas in any film, period. The conflict then becomes a journey into an alternate dimension where an organic computer named Korrok has taken over. This is apparently what the film has been leading up to.
In all honesty, I am not certain what to think of John Dies at the End. I would love to say that it was excellent, and that I would see it again. Actually, the only reason I would see it again is because I didn’t get it the first time, and maybe a second viewing would make more sense. I have read over synopses of the story on other sites and the film just doesn’t hold together, story-wise. Perhaps this is what I like about it, is that this film doesn’t make a lot of sense. We don’t have always have a plot that hold together without holes, because even real-life tends to throw curve-balls every once in a while. I have never been on drugs, but I would imagine that what I saw in John Dies at the End would be a very similar to a drug trip. Either way, I found it very hard to look away from this film.
This film has, to its credit, the most in-depth bonus ending ever made. The problem is, I have no idea what the metaphorical statement is, so it comes off as almost unnecessary. Still, I have to say that I liked this film, even if I cannot explain why I do or the why of the film as a whole.
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