‘Running With The Devil: The Wild World Of John McAfee’ Explained – Is John Dead Or Alive?


“Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee” is the story of a person who considered himself to be an agent of chaos. McAfee said that people often compared him to the character of the Joker. McAfee thrived in chaos. It didn’t bother him that his life had become so disorganized and so haphazard. He was on the run, but somehow it seemed that he enjoyed every bit of it. Much like the character “Joker,” McAfee liked drama. 

McAfee saw his life as a classic Hollywood film, where he, as the protagonist, was capable of doing anything and everything. He had this belief that nobody could catch him unless he wanted to get caught. John never hid his identity, even when he was on the run. He would proudly declare in his deep voice that he was John McAfee, and that they could google him if they wanted to know about him. Though John was an emotionally distraught person, he was a narcissist too, which is why he never had much of a problem moving on in life. It is a debatable fact whether he ruined people’s lives or not, but the thing that cannot be denied is that he had an immense impact on whoever came in his way. “Running With The Devil: The Wild World Of John McAfee” is directed by Charlie Russel, and it documents the fascinating life of the founder of McAfee Anti-Virus Software.

Spoilers Ahead

Why Did John McAfee Want To Document His Life?

John McAfee suddenly disappeared and went into hiding. The Belizean Police wanted him, as they suspected that he had murdered his neighbor, Gregory Faull, who was a Florida native. Jose Sanchez, the first journalist who covered the issue for Channel 5. According to him, John was capable of doing such a thing, and it was highly probable that he had committed the offense. Faull had complained to the Police about John McAfee, a few days before he was killed. When the police went to interrogate John in his mansion in Ambergris Caye, he was nowhere to be found. John had contacted Vice Media and asked them to film him while he was on the run. The request was bizarre, and the team didn’t understand why he would want to do that. But then, it was an opportunity for the media house to get their hands on the exclusive footage that the entire nation wanted. Rocco Castoro (reporter) and Robert King (cameraman) went to Belize to record the journey of a suspected fugitive. They met John and found him to be extremely weird and yet quite fascinating. Here was a man who had sold his company to Intel for almost 7 billion dollars; he had worked in NASA, and was once called the golden boy of the Silicon Valley, and yet he was acting like a deranged man. John McAfee was doing all sorts of insane stuff. You never understood what was going on inside his head. As per John, he was being chased by the authorities. He told the reporters that the government, the intelligence agencies, and even the Sinaloa drug cartel were after him. He said that he had developed a software through which he could track the cell phones of people in the Belizean government. He said that he knew things that made him a volatile subject for the state machinery. That is why they wanted to put him behind bars. 

The most fascinating thing about John was that he thought he was an amalgamation of James Bond and Scarface, with a tinge of Indiana Jones sprinkled all over. John took the reporters to an exotic resort next to the Guatemalan border. John used to get intel from his hidden sources. He got to know that the authorities had come to know about his whereabouts, so he took the sea route and reached Livingston, Guatemala. The customs officer obviously got a little upset, and he took all the passports considering they had entered the country illegally. John’s girlfriend, Sam Herrera, had an uncle in Guatemala who was the former Attorney General of the country. The reporters sent a picture of John to the Vice HQ and asked them to take a screenshot and then publish it. It was because they didn’t want the authorities to target the geodata and get their GPS location. Their secret location was compromised. The authorities knew where John McAfee was hiding as the media had posted the actual picture online. Once again, the group was on the run. John met Sam’s uncle. He wanted him to somehow get stamps on their passports so that they would not be considered illegal immigrants. The problem was that while being on the run, John wanted to put on a show. He wore a suit, cleaned himself up, and gave interviews to the media. Next thing you know, the “Federales,” i.e., the special forces, arrived at the Four Seasons hotel, where John and his team were putting up. 

John was taken by the authorities, and it was a desperate situation, but the man had such audacity that nothing could refrain him from giving bytes to the media and creating a sensation. Rocco Castoro called Robert King and told him that all their stuff was stolen, probably by those special agents who took John. Like in a classic Hollywood escape sequence, John suddenly had a heart attack while still being held by the special forces. He was transferred immediately to a medical unit. Somehow, he managed to get himself transferred to the United States of America. How he did that is still unknown. Did he actually get a heart attack, or was he faking it all, is also a mystery. But the fact was that the tech genius had now arrived in Miami. Rocco confronted John once again and asked him the question that really mattered: did he kill his neighbor? John hung up on him, and to make matters worse, Vice didn’t run the story. The reporters were blamed in the media for aiding a fugitive and being his accomplices.

John McAfee wanted to sensationalize each and every move. He wanted people to be inspired by his swanky lifestyle. He said that all the content that he gave the Vice team was pure gold. He knew that it would sell in the market like anything because people were always inquisitive about what was going on in the lives of others, and moreover, in the lives of people like John McAfee, who considered himself no less than a celebrity. He had been a hot topic of discussion over the years. Deep down, he did it to satiate his own narcissistic instincts. He was a selfish person who craved to be in the limelight. He liked it when his name popped up in the headlines. He craved attention. He was so proud of his status quo that he also contested as the 2016 Libertarian Presidential Candidate. But this same narcissism was now causing a lot of trouble for the man.

Did John McAfee Kill His Neighbor?

Alex Cody Foster, a ghostwriter, was contacted by John McAfee. He wanted Alex to write his story. In January 2019, Robert King, the cinematographer, was contacted once again. John McAfee was on the run as the IRS was behind him. He had this unique desire of being recorded while he hopped from one country to another as a fugitive. He said that he hadn’t paid taxes for 10 years and didn’t plan to pay them in the near future. He says that he was hounded by the government and that his lawyer had advised him to press charges. But then, it was not how John was used to doing things. He wanted to reach a safe place and wage cyber warfare on the whole system, leaking the information into the public domain. John withdrew all the money that he could, got a wig that couldn’t look more fake, though he thought that he was the master of disguise, hopped on his yacht named “The Great Mystery”, and left the shores of the United States of America. He went to the Bahamas, but because he didn’t have proper documents and had tons of ammunition on board, the officials weren’t going to allow him to enter without proper scrutiny. So once again John left the shores and went in search of a place that would give him refuge. 

John had a new wife named Janice. She worked as a sex worker, and John had developed a liking for her. For Janice, John was an opportunity to escape her miserable life. There was an abundant supply of alcohol, drugs, ammunition, and liquid money on the yacht. John was constantly under the influence of drugs, and it had started to have an effect on his mind. He was paranoid most of the time that he would be hunted by the authorities or the mafia. John McAfee reached the Dominican Republic and was taken into custody by the authorities. They were eventually released, and John used his British passport to enter Europe. He was having a ball of a time in Spain, when he was arrested by the authorities, who started the process of his extradition to the United States of America. On June 23rd, 2021, John McAfee was found dead in his prison in Barcelona and the authorities said that he had committed suicide.  

Firstly, nobody came to know whether John actually killed his neighbor, Greg Faull, in Belize or not. Greg had some issues with John’s dogs. As absurd as it might sound, the man had a parrot, and he couldn’t leave it unattended because of the fear that the dogs would hunt it down. He had told John that if he didn’t keep his dogs in check, he would poison them; the next day, a few dogs did die, and John believed that it was the doing of his sadistic neighbor. According to Alex, John was totally capable of killing somebody. It could be said that John had a dubious past. His father subjected him and his mother to domestic abuse. 

One day there was news that his father had committed suicide, but probably that was not the whole truth. Alex hears one of the recordings where McAfree admits that he was tortured to a point where he had to do something about it. The tone in which he said that made it very clear that he had a role to play in his father’s death. Alex made up a theory. He told Jimmy, John’s executive advisor, that he had a feeling that John had shot his father. The reply that Jimmy gave cleared all the doubts. He asked how he knew that. John had told Jimmy that he had killed his father and made it look like a suicide. So if a man was capable enough of murdering his own father, he was capable enough of killing a nagging neighbor too. 

‘Running With The Devil: The Wild World Of John McAfee’ Explained – Is John Dead Or Alive?

John McAfee always said that he could be killed in prison. All his well-wishers knew that John was not a person who could take his life. They knew that the authorities had a role to play in the scheme of affairs. In a shocking revelation at the end of the documentary, we come to know that apparently, John is still alive. He had contacted his ex-girlfriend after the news of his death had spread across countries like a wildfire. Sam Herrera got a call from Texas, and she realized that it was John himself. He said that he had paid off the officials to pretend that he was dead, but in reality, he had managed to escape from the prison in Barcelona and was able to come back to the United States of America. He said that there were only three people in the world who knew about it. He asked Sam to run away with him. The revelation by Sam leaves us perplexed. We don’t know what to believe in, considering it is John McAfee, a person whose motives are so strange that you cannot guess what he is up to next. 

When it came to John, and his life, the lines between truth and fiction were often blurred. John liked controlling narratives, and maybe this time, too, he was able to do just that. As Alex said, he was a “brilliant manipulator” who had that kind of impact on people that they got influenced after listening to what he had to say. The documentary leaves us on an exciting cliffhanger, and maybe the world will never come to know what exactly happened in that small cell in Barcelona. Though, considering the reputation of the man, if he is still alive, it wouldn’t take him long to announce it in front of the world. “Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee” is a thrilling ride that keeps you on the edge of your seats and also makes you privy to an amusing personality.

“Running With The Devil: The Wild World Of John McAfee” is a 2022 crime documentary film directed by Charlie Russell.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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