John Dies at the End

From the director of "Bubba Ho Tep"

Since Don Coscarelli’s breakthrough at the age of 23 with Phantasm (1979)—a bracingly original screamer that quickly became a cult classic—his movies have been few and far between but dependably bizarre, like 2002's Bubba Ho-Tep.

John Dies at the End, based on a comic horror novel of the same title, has a story that’s irreducible to summation: A pair of smartass twentysomething friends, Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes), come into possession of a dangerous drug called Soy Sauce, which gives its users seemingly limitless powers of awareness and prescience. As a skeptical journalist (Paul Giamatti) listens to Dave’s story, alternate realities and interpretations succeed one another like Kleenex from a box: Are Dave and John mixed up in a string of brutal murders? Or are they the murderer’s next victims? Is it possible that John is already dead but continuing to transmit crime-solving tips from beyond the grave? And what if space aliens are behind this whole thing?

John Dies at the End is, joyously, an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink mélange of sci-fi, black comedy, and action, with disquieting body-horror sight gags that at times recall David Cronenberg. The story’s rabbit holes got so deep that I can’t actually tell you whether the movie’s title is a spoiler or not, but I loved John Dies at the End for so confidently whisking the viewer to a place where the question “Well, did he die or didn’t he?” seems hopelessly un-nuanced and square. - Dana Stevens, Slate

John Dies at the End

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