Dave's Rating:


Phantom limb meets ghost knob.

They're still making slackers, apparently. And they haven't evolved much. They lie around on thrift store couches in dumpy apartments, they haven't shaved in four days, they're in terrible bands, they banter in that Mallrats way. Their stylistic choices -- smirkiness, disinterested sarcasm, shrugs from the "whatever, nevermind" school of shrugging -- are from a moment two decades ago, back when this sort of thing felt fresh-ish. And why not? Sometimes the classics are meant to last.

The film's supernaturally attuned layabouts are Dave Wong (Chase Williamson) and his best friend John (Rob Mayes). The story that (sort of) houses the story involves Dave sitting in a Chinese restaurant explaining to a reporter (Paul Giamatti) the reason he's psychic. See, it turns out that John actually dies closer to the beginning and clues Dave in to the existence of a drug called Soy Sauce, a black goo that's created a world-coming-to-an-end situation complete with hallucinations that can manifest themselves in reality, space/time travel, killer spiders and spores, girls made of snakes, animated meat monsters and murderous facial hair.

From cult director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) and based on the Internet sensation-turned-novel by Jason Pargin (written under the name David Wong), John Dies is a chaotic bag of Not Much, but at least it's fully, assertively committed to that hollow scrambled logic. The insanity never stops, the seeming non sequiturs pile up and evaporate as the story abandons them, then pile up all over again. A bratwurst is a phone. A door grows a penis. An alternate universe exists where John and Dave are worshiped. John is, at least in one scene, a dog. And then a cyclops octopus computer is born from the head of a pig. I'm not saying this film will make more sense if you're high. But it will make more sense if you're high.

You'll laugh, high or not, because in spite of the occasionally annoying self-amused fog hanging over the entire film, it's still frequently funny. And by by funny I'm talking about how episodes of Annoying Orange or Adventure Time or Regular Show are funny, existing, as they do, in worlds where it's a perfectly reasonable situation when a boomerang made of boogers hits you in the face.

Then you'll probably watch it again because you forgot it the second it was over.


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