"John Dies at the End": Energetic and Full of Ideas

Director Don Coscarelli hasn't made many movies since his 1979 breakthrough, Phantasm, but they're usually worth the wait. Arriving a decade after the fan favorite Bubba Ho-Tep, Coscarelli's new horror-comedy, John Dies at the End, amps up the go-for-broke weirdness of his underrated Phantasm IV: Oblivion, and that's high praise. The movie ricochets through the adventures of two bros who battle demonic forces with the help — and occasional hindrance — of an otherworldly drug dubbed "Soy Sauce." While the racial politics are sometimes questionable, and there are a few too many dick jokes, John Dies at the End has far too much energy and too many interesting ideas for those gripes to ruin the fun. The movie may keep picking up plot threads only to drop them in pursuit of newer, shinier ones, but that's also the point. Supporting actors Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, and the great Glynn Turman provide the acting muscle that the leads lack, and best of all, the majority of John Dies at the End's vast quantity of gore appears to be practical effects, not CGI. For the most part, when heads explode or slug-monsters attack or pieces of meat assemble themselves into a bipedal monster, it's not just pixels. Thank you for rewarding our patience, Don.

 
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