Review: 'John Dies at the End'

John Dies at the End
Chase Williamson contemplates the potency of the nefarious narcotic Soy Sauce in ’John Dies at the End’

A mysterious drug called Soy Sauce obliterates virtually everyone who tries it in the deranged stoner horror flick, John Dies at the End.

Soy Sauce looks like that, a brown liquid; it's taken Intravenously. Anyone who shoots the stuff is instantly transported into a violent alternate universe crawling with creepy insects (see Naked Lunch). Most of the users have their heads blown off or are swarmed by bugs, but John (Rob Mayes) and Dave (Chase Williamson) manage to ward off annihilation with the aid of a talking dog and a self-help guru.

Based on the David Wong's novel of the same name, the movie is told through the eyes of the author, who divulges his bizarre story to a reporter played by Paul Giamatti (he's also a co-producer). Don Coscarelli (Phastasm, Bubba Ho-Tep, The Beastmaster) directs with horror-com flair. For a B-movie, the production values are really good.

"You don't choose the Soy Sauce," Dave explains at one point. "The Soy Sauce chooses you. If it can't use you, it kills you."

So, chosen by the nefarious narcotic, Dave and John embark on their journey that features flying mustaches and hot-dog phones, among the many off-the-wall embellishments. The comic effects balance out the unrelenting gore.

Giamentti's involvement is a pleasant surprise. As Arnie, he goes from skeptic to ghost. "Shut the fuck up Wong, now!" he says, delivering one of the movie's best lines.

Oh, and by the way, John doesn't die at the end. Or does he? It's that kind of movie.

John Dies at the End is available at Netflix and Amazon.

Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.