‘This Is The End’ (2013), my only friend.

3 Jul

This Is The End poster“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I’m feelin’ fine!” the godly Michael Stipe once sang. But among those who may not be feeling so great include James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and a host of other movie stars and celebrities. Why? Because it’s the end! The apocalypse is nigh! But what’s surprising is that the whole situation is really rather funny.

In what must be tiringly common practice for such A-list names, Seth Rogen and his buddy Jay Baruchel are invited to a house party, at the behest of none other than James Franco. Upon reaching the eccentric man’s eccentric mansion, the guys don’t have long to wait before fissures open up, cars burst into flames and people are sucked up into the sky. Rogen, Baruchel and Franco are forced to team up with Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill in a desperate effort to fend off Balrogs, mythical demons, and Emma Watson. How long can they survive?

I had a blast at this movie. The star-studded cast is tough to criticise – the film itself even jokes about how impossible it is not to like Jonah Hill. All of the actors have wonderful chemistry together, and each one of them is hilarious for different reasons; Franco is the uptight yet petrified homeowner, Rogen is armed with a battalion of toilet humour jokes, Baruchel is the introverted, misanthropic hipster, Hill’s boundless optimism demands laughter and literally everything Craig Robinson says or does had me in hysterics.

This Is The End is undoubtedly geared towards a particular audience: namely, those who enjoy apocalyptic horror-comedy, movie trivia nerds and, most importantly, fans of the lead actors themselves. Much of the film’s humour derives from self-deprecating pokes at the stars’ own filmography. Between Hill introducing himself as “Jonah Hill… From Moneyball” and Franco knocking his own Oscars presentation skills, that these guys are more than willing to make fun of themselves adds a refreshing layer of honesty that many similar films lack.

Every single one of this men made me laugh.

Every single one of this men made me laugh.

While the comic aspect of the film is obvious given the cast and subject matter, what surprised me the most about This Is The End is the fact that it is actually scary at times. The claustrophobic setting feels very Night of the Living Dead at times, while the unsettling feeling that bad things are lurking in the hazy fog brings to mind The Mist or Silent Hill. The movie straddles that fine line between horror and comedy with perfection; it manages to be funny without being too horrifying, while also definitely tense throughout.

At its core, This Is The End is a study of male friendship, and the anxiety that results from having to maintain a macho, alpha-male charade in a world where gay people exist. Although their huddling together in one tiny cubbyhole of the house out of pure terror is played for laughs, one gets the impression that virtually any other close group of male friends would do likewise in a similar situation.

You can read this far into it if you wish, but regardless This Is The End is a hilarious yet quite frightening film with great music (Black Sabbath and Cypress Hill fans should be pleased) and superb acting from all fronts. As apocalyptic films go, this one is a hoot.

Simon says: if this is the end, at least we’re going out with a bang.

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