Due in US theatres in December, He Never Died is a darkly comic tale of an immortal cannibal from writer/director Jason Krawczyk. Punk legend Henry Rollins (Black Flag) plays Jack - an introverted, solitary character whose only real sources of human interaction are at the bingo hall or with the waitress at the local diner, Cara (Kate Greenhouse). Now, this doesn’t really adhere to the preconceptions you’d conjure up when you hear the words ‘immortal cannibal’, but that’s entirely the point. He Never Died often feels like more of a character study in depression and existentialism than a horror film intended to scare, and this gives the film a refreshing, original pulse.
Rollins’ portrayal of Jack is superb throughout; at times he is sympathetic and misunderstood, at others a calculated badass. Rollins’ performance is complimented by two strong female leads in the aforementioned Cara, and also with the arrival of his estranged daughter Andrea (Jordon Todosey) who’s effervescent nature seeks to pierce Jack’s icy demeanour.
The film has a lot to it, both in terms of narrative and style. Jack’s whole origin story is cryptic, with brilliantly subtle flashes here and there (don’t worry, we won’t spoil anything). There are also so many thematic and generic conventions on show that combine to shake loose any clear genre restrictions. For example, Jack could arguably be a vampire due to numerous suggestions, including a memorable extract that is evocative of a scene in Guillermo Del Toro’s directorial debut Cronos. Equally there are also elements of hard-boiled noir, and the film is visually set upon a saturated, gritty noir-esque canvas. The soundtrack is also noteworthy for giving the film something sonically unique. The non-diegetic soundscape of rushing trains and urban noises acts as an on-going metaphor for Jack’s conflicted psyche.
He Never Died has more than enough blood splattering and bone crushing to keep the avid horror fan entertained, but it also has a depth and a gauged inclusion of genuine humour that may draw horror sceptics to its cause. Krawcayk’s script and Rollin’s portrayal of Jack have created a character shrouded in an alluring cloud of enigmatic ambivalence and further examinations may well be on the cards with a miniseries in the works…
HE NEVER DIED / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JASON KRAWCZYK / SCREENPLAY: JASON KRAWCZYK / STARRING: HENRY ROLLINS, KATE GREENHOUSE, JORDON TODOSEY, BOOBOO STEWART, STEVEN OGG / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 15TH (US), TBC (UK)