DVD Review: 'John Dies' in alternate universes

This comedy/sort-of-horror-film from Don Coscarelli (“Phantasm,” “Bubba Ho-Tep,” “Beastmaster”) is my favorite film to date this year — admittedly faint praise.

Chase Williamson stars as the inappropriately named David Wong, whose best friend, John (Rob Mayes), will indeed die by the finish — possibly more than once. It's quite possible to have multiple deaths, multiple lives, and even multiple universes: That's just the kind of world the film takes place in. It's a not-quite-real place, with trappings that you might find in “Repo Man” or “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.”

It's the kind of world where John can leave a bunch of phone messages for David all in one night, but the messages show up on David's machine in random order over the next few days. Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, and Glynn Turman round out the cast.

The DVD is a tiptop transfer; and the disc has a nice assortment of extras. Besides a passable commentary track with Coscarelli, Williamson, Mayes and producer Brad Baruh, we get seven deleted scenes, totaling about 10 minutes; the seven-minute “Getting Sauced: The Making of John Dies at the End”; “Creature Corps: The Effects of Soy Sauce,” an eight-minute featurette; a 10-minute interview of Giamatti; and seven minutes of “Casting Sessions.”

"John Dies at the End" (Magnolia Home Entertainment, Blu-ray, $29.98; DVD, $26.98)


ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on "FilmWeek" on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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