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There's not much you can trust in "John Dies at the End," not even the title. (Does John die? Does it happen at the end? I'm not saying.) But you can trust that screenwriter/director Don Coscarelli, the man behind cult classics such as "Phantasm" and "Bubba Ho-Tep," will throw everything up on the screen in pursuit of a wickedly entertaining movie.

Dave (Chase Williamson) tells a skeptical reporter (Paul Giamatti) about what happened when he and his buddy John (Rob Mayes) encountered a new street drug, nicknamed "soy sauce," that appears to confer astonishing mental powers — and may be the vanguard of an alien invasion from an alternate universe. Dave's story also includes a woman (Fabianne Therese) with an amputated hand, the woman's service dog, a Vegas mentalist (Clancy Brown), a nervous cop (Glynn Turman), a scrawny alien dude (Doug Jones) and all kinds of creepy, gory and downright strange happenings.

Coscarelli, adapting a horror novel by David Wong (a pseudonym the author shares with his lead character), messes with perception, timelines, logic and even basic notions of narrative in this absurd mash-up of horror and science-fiction conventions.

In places, the movie kind of falls apart, but overall "John Dies at the End" fascinates all the way through.


'John Dies at the End'

Opens Friday, Feb. 22, at Tower Theatre; rated R for bloody violence and gore, nudity, language and drug content; 99 minutes.

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