ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Kill Me Now" and "John Dies At The End" Movie Reviews

Updated on October 20, 2013

The Connection Between The Two Films

"Kill Me Now" and "John Dies At The End" are two separate films by separate writers, directors, actors; the whole shebang. They are connected, however, by the comedy website juggernaut that is, Cracked.com. "Kill Me Now" is written by and stars Cracked's Head of Video Production, Michael Swaim and "JDatE" is based on the novel of the same name by David Wong, senior editor for Cracked.

Kill Me Now

I saw "Kill Me Now" early in December in Los Angeles at a screening with most of the cast and crew. I went in already biased because Michael Swaim is one of my favorite writers and comedy actors, so I just knew the movie was going to be hilarious. It was. It was exactly what I hoped for-- a warm crispy piece of comedy toast with Swaim's unique humor butter smeared all over it. Enjoy that visual.

Directed by Travis Long, the film tells a rather typical horror tale of dumb teens partying and being stalked by a deranged killer. However, this is also a comedy, so the entire plot is played out very tongue-in-cheek. Mr. Swaim said at the Q&A that he just watched a bunch of bad horror flicks and parodied all the formulaic patterns he noticed. He also threw in a bear for a bit of cinematic "WTFness."

My only complaints are that there is a severe lack of any real suspense and the key to a masterful horror-comedy is finding a perfect balance between jokes and scaring the bejesus out of your audience. Great examples of such achievements would be "Shaun of the Dead" and "Evil Dead 2." Here the scales tip a bit too much into the humorous side leaving the fear side sorely lacking. I also took slight issue with how certain characters reacted to things. It seemed a bit too unrealistic, even by slasher flick standards. These are petty gripes at best, and a low budget debut film is bound to have some flaws. I've no doubt that if Swaim and Co. make another film it will be more polished.

On to the acting. There are 3 stand-out performances: Dennis (Michael Swaim), the affable party guy trying desperately to have a good time although he is an unpopular nerd in the eyes of the cool kids. Swaim's Dennis gets some great jokes early on but then the torch gets passed to Doug (Noah Byrne), the archetypal stoner dude who Byrne clearly has a lot of fun with. At the screening it was clear among the crowd that Doug stole the movie. If nothing else, see the movie for Doug. Finally, there's Todd (Beck Bennett), the ever-present jock dickweed. The jock is usually the character everyone hates the most and Todd is no different, however Bennett plays him so much like a caricature that he's actually tolerable and really funny in a you're-funny-but-I-still-want-to-hit-you kind of way.
Everyone else plays their parts well enough, but those are the 3 I felt were the best. Plus, Katy Stoll and Lisa Marie King make for some sweet eye-candy.

FINAL SCORE: 18 out of 20 Rabbis Lost in a Seedy Neighborhood



John Dies At The End

Based on the book of the same name, "John Dies At The End" is hard to describe. It's batshit insane for starters, and insanely original as well. It has elements of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Naked Lunch," and a bit of "Men In Black."

As best I can explain, the plot revolves around the main character, David (Chase Williamson) telling his story to reporter Arnie (Paul Giamatti, at his most delightful Giamattiest). David's story involves a powerful new drug dubbed "Soy Sauce" that gives the user an incredibly heightened and warped sense of reality, time, and space as well as abilities involving altered perception and......the movie is just damn trippy, okay? There's creatures made of meat byproducts, girls that explode into snakes, alternative universes, exploding eyeballs, and psychic bratwurst telephones.

Like I said, it's hard to explain.

The movie is directed by legendary horror/cult director, Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Beastmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep) and he is in top form here, no doubt. The movie follows the book very closely with only a few changes here and there.

Now, the movie does seem a bit slapped together at times and I feel that it could have been better if they didn't follow the book so closely, which sounds odd, but hear me out:
Many lines in the movie are taken directly from the book, and when delivered in the book they have a more organic feel to them thanks to the added exposition in the narration. In the movie, they feel haphazardly tossed out verbally, without enough context or through bad delivery, which brings me to the acting...

I had a problem watching the two leads. David and the titular John (Rob Mayes) weren't cast all that well. Williamson and Mayes aren't all that great and their lines are delivered flat and lazily. Williamson seems to be in a constant state of surprise that he was even given the role and Mayes is trying too hard to be aloof and likeable. At times, his performance just seems a bit "Keanu Reeves-as-Ted-Theodore-Logan." The movie isn't completely ruined by them, I just think better actors could have been chosen. Paul Giamatti is excellent here as the curious, yet skeptical Arnie Blondestone who is struggling to come to terms with David's incredible story and Glynn Turman, who plays the unnamed detective (in the book, David can't remember his name and refers to him as "Morgan Freeman," because that's whom he reminds him of.) is another highlight of the movie, with a great "controlled chaos" performance and some sharply delivered lines (Standing casually ready to torch a trailer home, he drolly states "I suppose you're wondering what I'm doing with this can of gasoline.")

If you can, read the book first so when you hear the same lines spoken in the movie, they will carry a bit more comedic relevance with them. Either way, "JDatE" will require more than one viewing to sort everything out, which, in cases of acid-trip movies like this, is a good thing.
Have fun sleeping after watching it though.

FINAL SCORE: 15 out of 20 drunken monkeys .

"John Dies At The End" is currently available Netflix

John Dies at the End
John Dies at the End

Rent it On Demand for a 48 hour period, or 24 back-to-back viewings!

 

I would watch the ever-lovin' heck out of...

See results

Comments, Thoughts, Opinions and Shenanigans

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      5 years ago from The Garden State

      I haven't read the book, but I kinda wish I had before watching the movie. At times I did get the feeling that I was watching an elaborate private joke that I wasn't "in on."

    • Andy McGuire profile imageAUTHOR

      Andy McGuire 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I much prefer the book, the humor is better paced

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      5 years ago from The Garden State

      I watched "John Dies at the End" last night. It was... strange. But in a good way.

    • Andy McGuire profile imageAUTHOR

      Andy McGuire 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      ...and with that comment, you just became my new favorite Hubber.

    • profile image

      An AYM 

      5 years ago

      I started to read it and then realized I didn't want to know anything because Swaim is one of my favorite comedians as well. I try to keep him in mind as something of my spirit animal/moral compass when making decisions.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)