by Sam Jenkins
He Never Died is a 2015 dark comedy film about a man named Jack who just wants to go to the local diner and play bingo. Sadly, due to a hospital intern’s own problems, Jack gets launched into a downward spiral with his estranged daughter, low class mafia, and lots of meat. As the movie continues, his tightrope of sobriety is shaken, as are his morals.
That’s all the knowledge you should need to want to see this movie, but for those of you who need further reasoning, allow elaboration. He Never Died is directed by Jason Krawczyk. It stars Henry Rollins as Jack- disgruntled rage monster. Throughout the film, he emanates a calm, yet imposing demeanor with a perfect mix of subtle expressions and quick quips. The cinematography and direction is equally solid, with some standout details. For instance, the greater, more obvious use of reds, yellows, and greens following the dock scene, accentuates violence, unnaturality, and sickness (in a sense). Dutch angles are used for similar effect. There are tons of great little notes like that; I suggest multiple watches to pick up on all the great visual cues.
If I had to pick something to gripe about, it would be the sound design, which has some “interesting” choices. Specifically in the first diner scene with Andrea, where the music doesn’t quite fit with the tone of the scene. That, and there are a couple slightly noticeable continuity errors, like the bags (you’ll know it when you see it). They’re nothing that really kills the experience of the film, at least not for me. I feel like now would be a good time to mention the budget restraints, which factors into the overall continuity of the movie.
Now, I know I’m being vague with everything in this movie, because that makes it a lot better. However, I need to issue a disclaimer or two. In this film, there is a more than decent amount of (tasteful) gore. Like, a lot. So, if you are sensitive to gore, minorly disturbing imagery, allusions to drugs and alcohol, or loud noises, don’t watch this film. Also cursing. People curse. There’s your warning. Cool?
He Never Died is a really great, underappreciated movie. It’s unknownness is unfortunate, but easily explained. The cast is mostly minor actors, so there wasn’t much star power to drive it marketing-wise. There also wasn’t much of a budget, and the film actually had a failed kickstarter to get a wide release. It now sits in the corner of Netflix (with a horrid description I might add), with a pretty high 4.something star rating. It really needs more views than it has. All the actors do well, and you can tell they’re having fun. The set is good, the direction is good, it’s all good. Trust me, go see it. I give He Never Died a critical 6.89 out of 7, but a fan 7 out of 7. It’s not perfect, but boy oh boy is it fun.
He Never Died was issued an R rating by the MPAA for “bloody violence and language throughout.” Get parental permission before watching, or be 17.