Thursday, 28 July 2016

He Never Died (2016): Review

He Never  Died is a 2016 horror film. Directed by Jason Krawczyk (The Briefcase) and starring Henry Rollins (Johnny Mnemonic, Feast), Jordan Todosey (The Pacifier) and Booboo Stewart (Twilight saga). The movie is also being planned for a TV mini series.

The film centres around grumpy old loner Jack (Rollins). Of course, the reason he's so grumpy is that he's both immortal and a cannibal, which can get pretty boring after a couple of centuries. Jack likes to live a simple life of bingo, sleeping and going to the same diner every day, which is soon disrupted by the appearance of his daughter Andrea (Todosey). It becomes clear that a gang of thugs have been hired to kill him, or try their best to kill him, and kidnap Andrea in attempt to gain leverage. Jack has to fight his way through these goons and track down Andrea's location whilst also evading a mysterious old man that stalks him throughout the film.

He Never Died is a movie that succeeds solely on the strength of Rollins' performance. His stony faced, deadpan delivery turns what would otherwise be a very flat script into some hilarious and very memorable dialogue. I can only imagine the role was written for him as he has the perfect face to portray the character and creates a lot of intrigue around what would otherwise be a pretty archetypal character. I also loved the idea of Rollins posing as a straight edge, vegetarian (something he would have been no stranger to in his punk days) and this also gave a little twist to the familiar character.

That being said, the magnetic performance from Rollins wasn't enough to prevent the film being dragged down into generic fare at various points. The hardened old outcast, the estranged daughter that teaches him how to be normal again, the distant love interest that becomes attracted to him despite his flaws. This is a story that's been told many, many times and I was able to see much of the plot coming. I also personally felt a lot of the mystery was left unresolved and wasn't really left with a sense of who the Jack character really was with an ending that didn't really feel like an ending at all.

As a showcase for Rollins flair for black comedy, He Never Died is a really strong piece. However, as a standalone film it feels underdeveloped and like the writer didn't really know where they were going with the story. Perhaps this can be rectified with the rumoured TV series and I'm definitely interested in seeing more of the Jack character. For now, this will have to suffice as an entertaining, if not completely satisfying horror movie.

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of He Never Died? Did you like Henry Rollins character?


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