This isn't about the book though, this is about the movie. I said all of that to say this, I wouldn't have thought it possible, but somehow Don Coscarelli managed to actually make a fairly faithful adaptation of what can only be described as a bad acid trip of a story and put it on film. To begin to describe this movie story-wise would do little but confuse you most likely. It involves a drug known as Soy Sauce, and it's side effect of allowing users to both time travel and parallel dimesion hop. I've seen it described as "Clerks meets Lovecraft" and that sums it up better than I'd likely be able to. It sounds crazy because it is. What it also is though, is damn entertaining. This movie has more "what the fuck?" moments in it's first 15 minutes than most do in their entirety.
The most impressive thing to me was Coscarelli's attention to the detail from the book, which he obviously read and loved as much as I did. No, everything isn't here, of course it isn't. To fully adapt the book, there would have almost need to be at least two films, possibly a trilogy. But as it stands on it's own, there's a surprising amount included from the book, and almost everything in the movie looked exactly as it did in my head. Big praise here from me, as it's rarely the case. The cast all turn in strong performances, particularly Chase Williamson as Dave, and of course Paul Giamatti as Arnie. Rob Mayes is also good as John, but there were times I felt like he was the weakest link in the chain.
John Dies at the End I can see being one of those movies people are either going to love or hate. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, the book doesn't either. There's some gore, most appeared to me to be practical effects, and they're good. The CGI leaves a bit to be desired, but thankfully there isn't a lot. If you read and enjoyed the book, I'm confident that the movie won't disappoint. If you haven't, you're either in for a treat, or for what you will view as 100 minutes of your life you can never have back. Personally, I fell in love with the insanity of this story, and plan to read This Book is Full of Spiders next because I'm beyond ready to dive back into this universe and enjoy more of it's brand of crazy. Thumbs way up!