The hallucinatory red-band trailer of John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End was originally slated to hit theaters sometime this year, as production has been completed for some time now, but the studio, Midnight Alliance’s, search for a distributer ran into some delays, and for a while it was unsure if the film would find distribution at all.

It’s been picked up now by Magnet, however, and so is back on track for release, though it was delayed beyond the end of the year while details were worked out and plans were made.

The movie is based on the novel by David Wong. The story didn’t actually start with the novel, though. John Dies at the End began as a serialized fantasy/horror/comedy story on the web in 2001, was later published as manuscripts, and then finally as a novel in 2007.

The new trailer offers a much clearer picture of just how mixed up the film of the plot is, but also showcases the most entertaining element of the story. The main characters are very genre-savvy, and aproach the conflicts in the story from the point of view of people who understand how stories like this are supposed to work, but they are thrown for genre-bending loops, despite that knowledge. Elements like this are sometimes played out for dramatic irony, but here the become the central conflict of the story. Their world is not what it seems.

As usual, be careful where – and in front of whom – you play this red-band trailer. It may not be apropriate for all audiences.

In-case you’re at work, here is the full-length green-band trailer:

The story is set within the framework of an interview given by David Wong to a reporter regarding the effects of an enigmatic street drug known as Soy Sauce. The drug has an interesting side-effect of giving the user a sort of prescience, but it also seems to make them dangerously paranoid and causes

hallucinations. Since the tale is mostly told second hand, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if what happened to David and his friend John is real – or simply part of the delusions caused by the drug.

The film features monsters, demons, gangsters, shadow people, and even hallucinated video games made real by the power of the strange drug. Throughout the long web series, the pair became paranormal investigators of a kind, and are among the few people who understand that things are not always as they seem.

The synopsis is thus:

It’s a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can’t.

John Dies at the End stars Paul Giamatti, Rob Mayes, and Chase Williamson. After several delays, the film is slated to hit theaters, in limited release, January 25, 2012.