Monday, March 28, 2016

Horror Film Review

He Never Died (2015):  I love Henry Rollins and I love this movie.  What else do you need to know?  Well, maybe a couple of things.  While ostensibly a horror flick, it's also wickedly, darkly funny.  I didn't expect that, especially when I found out who Rollins' character is (also unexpected).  The movie poster is a clue although not a good enough one for you to guess correctly.  No, he's not an angel nor a fallen angel.  It's much more interesting than that.

Rollins plays Jack, a quiet man of routine and simple habits.  When not at home sleeping with the sounds of his past battling in his head, he's at the local diner frustrating the waitress who's sweet on him or playing bingo at the local church with the old folks.  The steamer trunk in his room is full of cash and memorabilia going back centuries.  So he'd old.  Really old.  We find out later why he's so old...he can't die.  Why can't he die?  Well, that would be telling.

The intrusion of his troubled teenage daughter disrupts Jack's solitude and routine.  He's annoyed but dutifully takes her in.  Here's the thing about Jack:  he rarely talks but when he does, it's curt and simple and totally without guile.  You begin to question if he's mentally challenged.  He's not.  English isn't his first language...or fortieth.  He's also desperately trying to restrain the darkness within, a darkness that's tortured him for an incredibly long time.  But when local thugs kidnap his daughter, the darkness erupts and Jack finds himself doing all manner of distasteful things.  Mostly to the bad guys, who mostly die, although Jack does occasionally have a, um...nibble.  Yeah.  He eats people.  It's complicated.  (And no, he's not a vampire either.)

The Skinny

Acting:  At first, I thought Rollins was too wooden, too stiff.  Then I realized given his character, his performance was spot on.  Quirky and weird, but spot on.  Jordan Todosey as his daughter and Kate Greenhouse as the waitress are quite good.
Story:  I've ever seen anything like it.  Despite being a tad lean on the details, the basic idea and subsequent treatment is inspired.  Groovy.
Direction:   Not frenetic by any means, rather the action is doled out at at near perfect pace.
Production Values:  I could find no budget data, but it's obvious we're not talking about Avengers money here.  That being said, at no time does it feel like a low budget cheapie.  Film stock, sets, sound, lighting...nothing is sub-par.
Gore/FX:  The violence and blood levels are cranked to 11.  I don't remember seeing any CGI.
Scares:  It's not that kind of movie.
Ending:  The one stumbling block.  Left hanging is the understatement of the century.  Dammit.
Verdict:  Should you see He Never Died?  Absolutely.  Simply put, it's not like anything you've ever seen before and a hell of a lot of fun.

Rating:  4 out of 5


  1. I have this in my Nexflix list right now!

  2. It really is quite groovy. And fucking weird.