'John Dies at the End'

Daily reviews and interviews

SXSW Film

John Dies at the End

Midnighters
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. 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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

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

Richard Whittaker, March 15, 2013

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Unhung Hero'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Joey Keeton, March 15, 2013

More by Joe O'Connell
UT Professor on the Making of Texas Film Epic <i>Giant</i>
UT Professor on the Making of Texas Film Epic Giant
Don Graham's Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film

April 13, 2018

SXSW Film Review: <i>If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd</I>
Review: If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd
The highs and lows of one of the most iconic Southern rock bands

March 14, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

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

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle