I’m not sure where to start with this one.
John Dies At The End was a book that I absolutely loved. The characters, the dialogue, the plot, everything felt unique. Also, I’m a sucker for puns and one-liners and this book was filled to the brim with them! When I heard it was being developed into a movie, it certainly caught my attention. My expectations were high but I realized that it could possibly be a difficult book to adapt so I tried to remain cautiously optimistic.
I didn’t get a chance to check it out during its limited run in theatres so when it hit DVD/Blu-Ray, I snatched it up quickly. I avoided most reviews so I could approach it with an untainted fresh set of eyes. A few minutes in, there were events occurring that I couldn’t remember from the book. I’m not fussy when it comes to filmmakers taking liberties with the source material as not everything from a book will always transfer well into a movie. It wasn’t until the halfway point that things changed quite a bit churning out a different animal entirely.
As far as casting goes, Dylann Brander and Kelly Wagner hit it out of the park as far as the main characters are concerned. Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes fit the roles of Dave and John perfectly with heavyweight Paul Giamatti offering a tremendous supporting role as Arnie, the reporter Dave is dictating his story to.
Being a lower budget movie, a lot of the visual effects were sub-par. I guess I’m spoiled when it comes to watching all these tremendous comic book movies and blockbuster action flicks that when I spot shoddy CGI, it takes me out of the movie. John Dies At The End is a book that relies heavily on monsters, ghouls and creatures so if you’re not able to accurately depict those figures on screen, it becomes distracting.
In the end, I feel you’ll get a better experience with the book over the film. If you’re a person who truly enjoys the camp feel of low budget horror movies, I can’t imagine this disappointing you. Fact is, there’s a better story in the novel and the changes within the film really do not do it justice.