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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sean Kelly

Second Look: John Dies at the End

john_dies_at_the_endI don't often watch films multiple times in the cinema.  In fact, I can probably still count the number of times I’ve done so on one hand.  However, there are some films that I feel obliged to give another go around.

One such film is John Dies at the End, which I “saw” when it played as the closing film of Midnight Madness at the TIFF 2012.  I put “saw” in brackets, because I was quite fatigued during the screening and there were many moments I would start dozing off.  I managed to see enough of the film to generate an opinion of it, but I still felt a bit upset that I wasn’t able to stay awake for the whole film.  As such, I took advantage of the fact that it was having it’s only major Canadian screening tonight as part of Cineplex’s new “Sinister Cinema” series.

After seeing the film for the second time, I thought that I would reflect on how my thoughts of the film have changed now that I’ve seen it fully awake.  This is not really a second review, but more observations after rewatching the film with somewhat lower expectations the second time around.

I’ll probably start off by saying that, for the most part, my overall opinion of the film has not changed all that much.  I still think that it’s merely an OK film, even though there are a few highly enjoyable sequences.  The first and third acts are probably the strongest of the film and it is in the second act, where things lull around the most.  In fact, I have to say that the sequence with the “Meat Monster” at the start of the film is probably my favourite sequence and it was quite hard to top (though an ultra-gory animated sequence comes at a close second).

I commented in my review that I found the plot hard to follow, though I hypothesized that it was because I was falling in and out of sleep.  Well, now that I’ve seen the whole film fully awake, I can confidently say that this was indeed the case.  The film is still very weird and quite hard to fully grasp, however I had a much better time understanding exactly what was going on.  In fact, I noticed things that I haven’t before (such as the brief cameo by Angus Scrimm, who played the villainous Tall Man in director Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm films).

Overall, I would say that I am happy that I decided to go see John Dies at the End a second time.  While I don’t expect I will make the habit of rewatching films in theatres a regular occurrence, there is another Midnight Madness film that I saw in 2011, which is finally being released this summer.  In that case, I want to see the film again just because I enjoyed it so much. However, that’s for another time…

Original Rating: 7 | FAIR 
Second Look Rating: 7 | FAIR    (no change)

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).