Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., March 7
John Dies at the End
Not for nothing does the film's poster evoke the classic VHS covers of yore. Director Don Coscarelli expertly blends the horror and comedy of his earlier work (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) in a flimsy, sprawling story featuring that great '80s standby, the portal to another dimension. (And whaddya know; that dimension not as nice as this one.) The modern update is that you access it by taking a designer drug: a sentient black goo that will allow you to step outside the normal bounds of time and space and also to see the real horror that most people miss. (Actually, “allows” is the wrong word; “forces” is better.) Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it? Winsome performances from the young leads (Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes) combine with old-school creepy critters to good effect. 2013.
— Matthew Lickona