He Never Died
Directed by Jason Krawczyk
Jack is a solitary man with a mysterious past. His strange habits will soon become stranger when his past catches up with him.
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★★★★ review by bree1981 on Letterboxd
Celluloid Screams 2015 Film # 4
This is director Jason Krawczyk's unique take on the vampire film, bringing something new to a tired genre is never an easy feat and at points I even questioned whether the immortal cannibal at the center of our story really is a vampire, he can appear to survive without the consumption of blood (after killing people for thousands of years he has decided to go on a diet) and the sunlight doesn't seem to bother him but the final reveal makes some sense of proceedings, even if it does open up more questions.
Henry Rollins stars as Jack, a depressed looking guy who has out lived everyone he has ever known, he spends his days sleeping, visiting a cafe while barely uttering a word to the friendly waitress and playing the occasional game of bingo. Jack's life takes an unexpected turn when the daughter he'd almost forgotten about turns up on his doorstep wanting to get to know him around about the same time as a group of gangsters he used to be involved with come looking for revenge.
The first thing I'd like to comment on is how funny this film is, I went in expecting something quite sombre and bleak but parts of this are laugh out loud funny and it's mainly down to Rollins's terrific central performance, Jack is a man of very few words, he only speaks when spoken to and having a conversation with him is like pulling teeth but when he does speak he's comically blunt and straight to the point. He's well supported by the two ladies in his life, Kate Greenhouse as Cara the waitress and Jordan Todosey as his daughter Andrea who help add an emotional core to the story. There also some scenes of brutal violence where Jack show's he's not a man to be messed with.
Overall, this is a fantastic little film anchored by Rollins's superb performance and anyone who's looking for something a bit different from their vampire movies really should check it out.
★★★½ review by Mr. DuLac on Letterboxd
You're kinda out there aren't you?
The most shocking thing isn't that a film starring Henry Rollins is this good, but that the best aspect of a film this good is actually the performance from Henry Rollins.
His line delivery and reaction shots are by far the most entertaining thing in the film. Now I like my action and gore in horror films, but honestly this could have just been Rollins as his character Jack verbally interacting with people for the full 99 minutes and I would have been just as entertained.
I'm not shocked by this because I hate Rollins, but rather admire his insane tenacity to seemingly want to do EVERYTHING and actually attempt it. I wish I had that sort of drive. He's an outspoken personality though and while I hardly agree with all his point of views I could see some people simply not liking him because of it. The part that shocked me is because even though I've seen him in TV shows and in movies, I never for a second pegged him as a lead in a film, much less one I would like this much.
Admittedly the fact that the character of Jack is very deadpan by nature and that works to the former Black Flag front man's advantage, it's still a character on screen that I couldn't get enough of. It also helps a great deal that the dialogue is genuinely funny, smart and dark.
The plot of the film is just as smart as the dialogue. You know there's something supernatural about Jack, but it's never over-explained in the film. In fact the various clues will mean nothing to you, even when Jack says his original name unless you are well versed in certain mythologies. I use the word mythology not to make a statement, but rather to avoid spoiling anything.
After the movie I looked up a few things on the net concerning some of the iconography the film used and was entertained again by the various choices writer/director Jason Krawczyk made for the film. He melded different interpretations of a certain character to make a great modern cinematic character of his own, one perfect for Henry Rollins.
It's a great little film that might feature some violence, but it also has Rollins playing bingo with a lot of old people. Both are just as entertaining.
★★★★ review by Wood on Letterboxd
I didn't know what to expect from this film, considering the netflix description mentions immortal vampires. I certainly didn't expect this to be a near perfect dark comedy. Seeing Henry Rollins act never fails to bring me joy, he's so god damn intense it's preposterous. Maybe it's because I'm a big Black Flag fan but I loved every second of this.
★★★★ review by Rich Strahs on Letterboxd
Henry Rollins. This is an entertainer that I have followed for way too long, his books litter my shelf, a stand up DVD is buried within my collection and Rollins Band’s Gun In Mouth Blues remains one of the most brutal songs I have listened to. There are a few Cannibal Corpse and other assorted metal songs that are close on this spectrum, but they don’t seem as sincere as an angry Hank screaming. What does all of this have to do with He Never Died? Everything. I have always imagined Henry Rollins to be a loner and angry man in the real world. My thoughts have been confirmed on his short lived podcast. Tonight when I made the decision to watch He Never Died I had no idea where the movie would go, let alone if I would even like this movie. This is a role that was written specifically for the Henry Rollins persona that I have always imagined him to be. He is antisocial, angry, irritable and a fighting machine. His temperament is short with everyone ranging from his waitress, his landlord and anyone else he comes in contact with. The end of the movie has a climax that will leave you with wanting more.
★★★½ review by Nickpam on Letterboxd
For the first two acts of this film I was a bit lost and confused while I was trying to piece together what the hell was going on, but then once the pieces start to fall into place I totally dug the story that was being told. I went into this knowing literally nothing about it and watching everything unfold the way it did was just nuts, and I enjoyed the heck out of He Never Died. The ambiguity of the central character for almost the entirety of the runtime had me constantly shifting my thoughts on his true nature until the ultimate reveal, and the reveal isn't necessarily shocking...but it kind of is. You honestly just have to see it to understand what I'm talking about, but yeah the reveal is cool.
Now I do have a few complaints about He Never Died. Firstly, not to be a downer on the smooth jazz playlist that they went for, but that did just not work for me at all. Also some of the supporting cast could've been better, but it's a smaller film so I don't expect much from them anyway. I'd also throw in that the pacing was a little wonky, but nothing terrible.
I don't want to say too much about this film because I feel like it's best to just experience it with as little knowledge about it as possible. All you need to know is that Henry Rollins is some socially awkward dude that has some Liam Neeson like skills at murdering people. Extremely odd film, but in a totally rad way.
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