Once again I found myself effectively chained to my desk chair yesterday as a result of the wife feeling under the weather and unable to contribute to caring for our daughter to any real degree, so I spent large swathes of time watching goofy shit on Netflix while feeding a seven-week-old infant. One of the things I watched was John Dies at the End, and I really don’t know what to say about this one, folks – it’s definitely weird.
If you like trippy movies in the vein of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Naked Lunch but don’t want to have to deal with politically-charged tonal shifts or all that pesky homoeroticism, the movie has much to recommend it. Based on the novel of the same name, it follows the adventures of two twenty-something friends named John and Dave that end up stumbling into one bizarre supernatural situation after another, all thanks to an apparently sentient hallucinogenic drug nicknamed “Soy Sauce.” Once you’re on the Sauce, you start seeing and experiencing things that you couldn’t before, and the two friends end up becoming bumbling paranormal investigators in the same vein of Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural – shoot first, ask questions later.
Bizarre, abstract, surprisingly philosophical at times and gross-out gory at others, John Dies at the End is s fun and often quite funny movie but I can’t really say that it was a satisfying experience. Too many questions remained unanswered by the end of the film about the nature of Soy Sauce, where it came from, and who (or what) is behind it for my taste, leaving the viewer vaguely frustrated with what could have been a great cult film otherwise. It would be interesting to see if the original source material offers a better explanation, though from what I understand the plot of the novel and that of the movie differ quite a bit.
Overall I’d rate it a “see it” if you have a few hours to kill and don’t mind a funny, abstract horror-comedy with a few plot holes here and there. Watching it sober may not be recommended – your mileage may vary. Just watch out for any interdimensional eldritch horrors from out of time.