'John Dies at the End'

Daily reviews and interviews


John Dies at the End

D: Don Coscarelli; with Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown

Don Coscarelli's 2002 film, Bubba Ho-Tep, marked a major shift for the creator of the Phantasm series. Sure, it's got an evil mummy, but Bubba was more quirky and funny than scary. Now, a decade later, Coscarelli's topped himself with John Dies at the End, which begs to be compared to something, anything. Ghostbusters? Sure, two wisecracking twentysomethings hunt otherworldly creepies. Pulp Fiction? The dialogue and plot structure certainly rival Quentin Tarantino's best. Adventures in Babysitting? Why not. The truth is Coscarelli has adapted David Wong's book into a singularly slick, otherworldly adventure tale about two guys who take a drug known as soy sauce that gives them psychic powers while unleashing alien baddies intent on destroying the world. Told in a disjointed flashback, the film is funny, well-acted, slickly made, sometimes confusing, and sometimes mystical, but always engaging. Coscarelli said the version screened at South by Southwest included edits and better effects than the cut at its Sundance premiere. It's odd to predict a career-changer for a director who's been at it since the Seventies, but don't be surprised if John comes alive for an audience well beyond diehard genre fans.

Thursday, March 15, 11:59pm, Alamo Ritz

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. For scheduling on the go, here's a SXSW Film Pocket Guide, which includes the handy Film Grid. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

More SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Improvement Club'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Robert Faires, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film Reviews: 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Marjorie Baumgarten, March 15, 2013

More Screens Reviews
SXSW Film Reviews: 'TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Richard Whittaker, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film Reviews: 'This Is Where We Live'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Joe O'Connell, March 15, 2013

More by Joe O'Connell
<i>The Son</i> Rises With Philipp Meyer
The Son Rises With Philipp Meyer
Austin author on adapting his award-winning novel for AMC

April 7, 2017

SXSW Film Review: <i>David Lynch – The Art Life</i>
SXSW Film Review: David Lynch – The Art Life
Doc excavates the creative mind of the eccentric artist

March 14, 2017


SXSW Film, Don Coscarelli, Bubba Ho-Tep, John Dies at the End

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)