John Dies at the End DVD/Blu-ray

Monday, 17 February 2014 14:42 Written by 

John Dies At The End on Blu-ray and DVD“John Dies at the End” is the latest horror-comedy from the director of “Phantasm” and “Bubba Ho-Tep”, Don Coscarelli. Chase Williamson (“Sparks”) stars as Dave Wong, a layabout who comes across a new recreational drug called Soy Sauce. The effects of Sauce go way beyond any other substance, in that they grant the user powers such as clairvoyance and cross-dimensional vision. Of course, these benefits come with a very hefty caveat.

Dave and his slacker mate John (Rob Mayes - The Client List) uncover an invading force of demons from another dimension and set about trying to avert the apocalypse. Meanwhile, Dave meets Arnie, a sceptical reporter (Paul Giamatti – “Sideways”, Downton Abbey) who finds the truth a little hard to stomach. And what role does celebrity psychic Dr Albert Marconi (Clancy Brown - Sleepy Hollow, “Highlander”) have to play?

You might think that as Coscarelli advances in his career, the films he makes would become more sensible and sedate. Not a bit of it! This film is probably his craziest yet, throwing in dozens of ideas and drawing from influences such as H P Lovecraft, “The Matrix”, “Donnie Darko”, “The Evil Dead”, “They Live” and Cronenberg movies such as “Existenz”.

Not only are there loads of concepts but they come thick and fast, consistently keeping the characters and the audience on the back foot. This scattergun unpredictability is both a blessing and a curse; for every moment that the plot takes an incomprehensible turn, some new wonder rises up to raise a chuckle or dazzle the viewer. Some of the credit must go to the author of the original novel, Jason Pargin (writing under the pseudonym of David Wong).

As with his previous movies, where possible Coscarelli prefers to work with 'real' effects rather than CGI, and the highlight of the film is a frightening entity literally thrown together from various cuts of frozen meat, including ribs, sausages, steaks and with a whole chicken for a head. Fans of the 'Half-Life' video games will see more than a passing resemblance to the headcrab zombie.

Other notable guest appearances include Doug Jones (“Hellboy” - out of prosthetics for once!) and Angus Scrimm (“Phantasm”).

As a dog lover I cannot finish my review without mentioning Bark Lee, an adorable canine character who joins our daring duo in their battle against otherworldly monsters. Talent show mutts have nothing on this loyal pooch!

Special features only found on the Blu-ray disc include:

  • Feature length commentary with cast and crew
  • Deleted scenes
  • Getting Sauced: The Making of “John Dies at the End”
  • Creature Corps: The Effects of Soy Sauce
  • Casting sessions
  • Fangoria Interview with Paul Giamatti
  • Trailer

The Blu-ray version reviewed features nicely detailed picture quality and vivid colours, emphasising the great sets and wild effects of this one-of-a-kind movie. The 'meat man' should only be seen in HD, and the film has 'cult hit' written all over it! Now if only somebody would release the “Phantasm” series on Blu-ray...

“John Dies at the End” (2012) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Eureka! Entertainment. The main feature has a running time of 99 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £9.99 on DVD and £12.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Monday, 17 February 2014 14:51

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