‘John Dies At The End’ film is mind-boggling and absorbing

The heroes gain powers after taking a drug called Soy Sauce.

The heroes gain powers after taking a drug called Soy Sauce.


Based off the novel of the same name and released in 2012, the film, “John Dies at the End” has some rough spots, but in the end the sheer smash up of sci-fi, dark comedy and Paul Giamatti make this film worth the watch.

The plot revolves around David Wong (Chase Williamson) and John Cheese (Rob Mayes), two slackers whose lives are forever changed after they encounter a drug called Soy Sauce. This encounter grants them clairvoyance, other psychic powers and an increased perception of reality. Recognizing that their lives have changed, these two begin their lives anew as paranormal investigators seeking to discover the origins of the mysterious Soy Sauce and avenge the death of their friends who are suddenly and gorily slaughtered.

Sounds pretty heavy, right?

Well, the best part about this movie is the tonal shift that happens about twenty minutes in. What seems like a dark mystery akin to “Brick” really just devolves into a silly excuse to make ghosts posses wangsters or have characters use hot dogs as phones. Here are a few of the random things that happen: 

Frozen meat is animated into a golem. A mustache rips off a man’s face to attack a protagonist. People willingly sacrifice themselves to a God-Computer. There is a song about a Camel Holocaust. Paul Giamatti yells and looks frustrated.

It is easy not to feel bored when a movie is so mind-bogglingly all over the place. It is the oddball quality of this movie that gives it charm, even if it does fall flat in some places.

For example, it becomes apparent that the movie was adapted from a novel. Parts of the film feel unexplained, convoluted, or just plain clunky to the point where it is hard to really understand or keep up with the story. This is really a bane for good sci-fi movies (and books that are adapted into films). “John Dies at the End,” like the recently released “Ender’s Game,” suffers from this, and introspective moments along with certain scenes lose momentum and fall apart because they just did not have the budget or the time to fit it all in.

Williamson is kind of painful to watch and out-shined by Mayes. And, though he does not occupy too much screen time, Paul Giamatti kills it and is perhaps–understandably–the best actor in this film.

But, really, none of the negatives matter when you take this movie as a whole. And I am sure you are wondering: Does John die at the end? Watch it on Netflix and find out!