"“It's trying so hard to shock the audience, it barely shocks you at all...”"

John Dies at the End is one of those cult films destined to split opinions, as a feature that will no doubt receive as many one stars reviews as it will five. Immoderate, slaughterous, B-Movie nonsense of the highest order;  if that sounds like your sort of thing, it's more than likely it will be.

We follow the surreal story of best friends Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes), both daring and adventurous in life, who decide to get involved with a new drug hitting the streets and suppled by Robert Marley (Tai Bennett) called Soy Sauce – a hallucinogenic which allows for people to drift in and out of time and different dimensions.

The drug takes the pair to another supernatural manifestation where it transpires a transcendental invasion is underway from another world, and suddenly the future of mankind is laid squarely on the shoulders of these two pathetic layabouts, who must use their instincts to save Earth as we know it. The drug may be a severe danger to the human body, but it's the only thing that can save humankind, as Dave recounts the entire tale to intrigued journalist Arnie (Paul Giamatti).

Don Coscarelli returns with yet another film evidently vying for cult status, going for the 'so bad it's good' technique, yet ultimately failing and become just a 'so bad, it's bad' production. Up until halfway through the film is relatively entertaining but the latter stages simply go overboard on surrealistic madness. Not that any of the feature had made any coherent sense prior to that, but alas the side effects of the drug and being able to communicate with the dead is intriguing. However as the whole saving mankind narrative kicks in, that's when things go downhill at a fast pace, becoming completely absurd. Dude, Where's My Car? absurd.

John Dies at the End is episodic and moves at an insanely fast pace, as a film that is somewhat difficult to keep up with. It's purely unadulterated carnage and mayhem and certainly good fun, but sadly it doesn't extend from being fun to actually being watchable. Even the brilliant Giamatti struggles to save this one. However, there is the occasional positive, mostly coming in the quite fantastic facial expressions of Williamson who manages to portray the most brilliant bewildered gaze, one that gives you the impression he doesn't ever have a clue what is going on. Of the Harpo Marx variety.

However despite the brilliant of Williamson's facial performance, it doesn't save what is ultimately a contrived, forcefully unconventional film, and one that is trying so hard to shock the audience, it barely shocks you at all. On the other hand, it does have a wonderful title, even if it does divulge what may happen at the end. Although, the title is somewhat handy as by telling you what happens, it means you don't really have to see the film, which could save you a lot of bother.

As a film that is based on the novel from the acclaimed author David Wong, although not fully appreciating the cinematic adaptation of his work, one can't help but hope that his follow-up novel becomes a feature film also. With the title This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, where could you possibly go wrong?