That was unexpected. I remember hearing a lot of positive word on He Never Died last year but never got around to watching it. It was originally meant to be part of this marathon way earlier and then I lost track of it. I didn’t want this year’s marathon to conclude without checking this one out, so I managed to squeeze it in right at the end here and I am very glad I found the time to do that.
Henry Rollins is Jack, a recluse who lives a very minimalist existence. His apartment is bare, he has no friends outside of a waitress he speaks to at the diner he frequents, and his sole past-time seems to be playing bingo with senior citizens. Oh, and also he seemingly has been alive for hundreds of years and has to sustain himself on human flesh. He doesn’t seem psyched about that last part, but it’s still a thing he has to deal with. Jack’s ex-girlfriend calls him up one day and asks him to locate their daughter Andrea. This leads Jack to deal with local gangsters and a variety of bad guys, some who will almost definitely end up being eaten before this movie is through. He also starts to rebuild his relationship with his daughter amongst all the killings and eating of flesh.
He Never Died is, like many other movies this month, not a straight up horror movie. Yes the main character is a high functioning cannibal, but there are never the traditional elements you may find in a horror movie. At first it seemed like this was going to be more of a drama than anything. A lot of the early parts of the movie are dealing with Jack’s relationship with Andrea and trying to reconnect with her. There were definitely some funny parts, but it didn’t seem like the kind of movie I expected. By the end of the movie, it had morphed into a drama/crime thriller/Taken style action movie that was also consistently hilarious. I should clarify that the laughs are intentional, it’s not a “so bad it’s good” situation.
The humour is all thanks to the character of Jack and Henry Rollin’s portrayal of him. Jack is a fantastic character. He’s been alive and dealing with humans for centuries and at this point he is just sick of them and all their bullshit. He has no interest in interacting with them anymore and this is clear from nearly every conversation he has with another character. He is blunt, deadpan, but not without a sense of humour as well. He doesn’t care about keeping secrets or making people like him. He says whatever he’s thinking, but he’s also not a straight-up asshole. Rollins is perfect in the role, keeping Jack calm and collected, even when committing horrible acts of violence. It isn’t until near the end where he gets to have an explosion of emotion and Rollins crushes it there too.
I know Rollins is a controversial figure, but I don’t know much about him outside of the realm of movies and I always walk away impressed. This is a great starring vehicle for him and is one of the rare times where a movie ends and I think to myself “Jesus, I really hope they make some more of these.”
Honestly, I had started writing more here but I don’t think I have a whole lot more to say. Every point I was going to make continuously just comes back to how you should watch this movie for Rollins and the character of Jack. The story is fine, the other performances are good and the whole thing is enjoyable, but it’s that performance that anchors the whole thing. I never thought I would walk away from He Never Died wanting to recommend it to people looking for a good laugh, but here we are. Watch He Never Died if you are looking for some good laughs!