I review John Dies at The End and compare it with the novel of the same name.
John Dies At The End is a movie based on the book by David Wong, which is the alias of the head writer of Cracked.com. When two friends, Dave and John, take a mysterious drug called soy sauce they are able to see into other worlds. This drug alters their perception of reality, opening all kinds of doors through time and space. While fending off all kinds of grotesque monsters from an alternate dimension, Dave, John, and their dog Bark Lee(Molly in the novel) are the only ones who can save the world.
Tonally the story feels like a combination of Phillip H. Dick, David Cronenberg, and HP Lovecraft with a healthy dose of stoner humor thrown in. The blend of humor and the grotesque in this movie was reminiscent of classics like Re-animator, Evil Dead, and the directors own Bubba Ho-Tep. If this sounds appealing to you, run out and get the book immediately. As a fan of the horror genre it is easily one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read.
While reading it I wondered how it would possibly translate to a movie adaption. Well I’m happy to report this movie kicks all kinds of ass. Don Coscarelli(the mind behind such cult classics as Bubba Ho-Tep and Phantasm) really had the whacky B-movie sensibilities to pull it off. This movie features all kinds of cool practical effects, whacky gore, and visual tricks to emulate the style of the off-the-wall novel. While large sections of the book were overlooked, it made sense of the restrictions this movie had in terms of budget. It still felt like John Dies At The End, it was just more concise in its execution.
The performances by the two leads were spot-on, and Paul Giamatti was great as usual. I think this movie is destined for cult classic status. You just don’t see these fun outlandish horror films anymore and it’s a refreshing entry into the genre. It is one whacky, wild ride full of twists, turns and all kinds of nasty creatures. Please support this movie by renting it or seeing it when it’s released in theaters, an original movie like this needs your support. Also, if you enjoy the movie do yourself a favor and book up the book.
8.5 Thumbs up outta 10
THINGS LEFT OUT FROM THE BOOK*SPOILER WARNING*
These are the single greatest changes from the book to the novel
-Monster Dave is completely absent. There is no mention of the body in the toolshed, although surprisingly the axe analogy is mysteriously included and makes little sense.
-Molly is now Bark Lee. This was apparently because the trained dog they used to film the movie was in fact a male dog named Bark Lee and responded better to that name. Kind of pointless change.
-There is no trip to Las Vegas. The movie jumps straight from the gang being in Shitbrake’s truck to the mall of the dead. This was unfortunate.
-The romance between Dave and Amy is basically gone. Amy is in the novel, but is nothing like in the book. She basically takes Jennifer Lopez’s place and only serves as a generic love interest for Dave and a plot device so she can open the ghost door. They do end up together at the end
-Bark Lee sacrifices himself to attempt to kill Korrok with a bomb given to the boys by Dr. Marconi, not a homemade explosive in a tinfoil bone
Hopefully, even with these changes we can get a sequel someday.
Tags: book comparison, john dies, john dies at the end, movie review