I’ll confess that I don’t fully understand the plot of John Dies at the End. Somewhere around the point where John dies, not at the end of the movie, or maybe he isn’t dead because he doesn’t appear to be dead, but maybe is dead I lost grasp of what exactly was going on in the movie. It’s funny, because the opening of the movie is a little too over-explanatory. We know more than certain characters do in the early moments of the movie and thus are not surprised like they are when certain things happen. It’s just that somewhere along the way everything gets a little too strange to follow clearly.
John Dies at the End stars two actors who I have not seen before, but who are very much a presence on screen. The titular John, played by Rob Mayes, is a funny counterpart to the main character David Wong, played by Chase Williamson, who always has an interesting and hilarious look on his face. Paul Giamatti also makes an appearance as a writer trying to get a story out of David Wong.
The story he gets involves all sorts of strange goings on revolving around a drug called soy sauce that makes all sorts of things apparent that weren’t before. There are monsters, there are clever tricks, and there are plenty of images that you would expect to see when on some kind of hallucinatory drug. However, this drug is not causing hallucinations, but more just causing the truth to really be seen.
John Dies at the End would best be classified as a surreal comedy. It does a really good job of messing with your brain and, at times, it is quite funny. However, the ending never really connects with the beginning of the movie. In fact, lots of scenes don’t seem to connect to other parts of the movie. Things seem shown out of order or seem to not to be needed to be seen at all. The title never ends up making any sense either. Really, the movie is a good trip that kind of fizzles out at the end. I feel like there is a much more coherent and fully told story in the novel the movie is based on, but I’ve never read it so I can’t be sure. Either way, John Dies at the End is a somewhat fun and definitely unique movie. It just kind of lost me somewhere along the way.