2013 / Director. Don Coscarelli.
I must be one of the last film geeks to see JOHN DIES AT THE END. I missed it's brief cinema run and have been anxiously waiting its legitimate release. All good things to those who wait. Being a fan of director Don Coscarelli (what genre fan isn't?) my expectations were uncharacteristically high. He's a filmmaker maker who bides his time and usually delivers impassioned and loving films. JOHN DIES AT THE END is no exception. Without revealing much, it's the story of two friends, Dave & John, who have gained the ability of premonition through a drug called Soy Sauce. With an impending world invasion these two dufus's find themselves in the thick of it. They consider themselves as guns for hire (sort of) and carry themselves like oafish Ghostbusters and what ensues is a trippy, violent and complex meltdown of reality. This is a wicked movie that plays out like an amalgamation of DONNIE DARKO and SCOTT PILGRIM with the slightest hint of BILL & TED. It's highly original and the film's biggest strength is it's practical SFX. As with his previous films Coscarelli makes brilliant use of puppets and various other physical creations. There are a few subtle CGI moments thrown in but they're blended in nicely so that they mostly go unnoticed. JOHN DIES AT THE END is another fantastic throwback to movies of the 80s. We're starting to see a lot of these nostalgic genre films, which validates the argument that movies were better then. That puppets are better than computers and that actually icky sticky blood is far more effective than any digital composite. Great comic performances and the presence of Paul Giamatti (he also produced) make this movie a cut above the rest. The vision is creative and new and unlike anything I've seen in ages. Coscarelli reigns!