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John’s Horror Corner: He Never Died (2015), Henry Rollins playing a socially awkward immortal and totally owning it!

May 10, 2016

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MY CALL: I struggle to truly call this horror, rather this feels more like a violent drama featuring a supernatural character. It lacks any substantial plot or character development…yet I really enjoyed it! MOVIES LIKE He Never Died:  This is one of those modern indie horrors that transcends its genre a bit such that we may throw out a term like “horror hybrid.” To that end, I’d suggest films like Spring (2015), Honeymoon (2014) and A Girl Walks Home Alone (2014)–all of which focus more on the relationships therein than their encapsulating horror themes.

Written and directed by Jason Krawczyk, this snarky little film delivers Henry Rollins (Feast, Bad Boys 2) exactly as he should be–immortal, gruff and unable to feel pain or emotions.  Rollins plays Jack, a no nonsense man of few words, simple means, and a solid respect for privacy.  He keeps to himself and leaves his simplistically unfestive apartment for little more than church bingo, his favorite diner or to meet a hospital intern (Booboo Stewart; X-Men: Days of Future Past) for an illegal exchange of sorts.

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Somehow Jack crosses paths with some screw-up criminals who find out the hard way that Jack is not the man to cross. And when you cross him, his temper is short and consequences are grave.  A nice slow throat rip, a dash of cannibalism and a few well-handled punches to the face add a unique flavor to this very dark comedy which presents itself surprisingly like an off-Broadway play in terms of atmosphere and delivery.

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Jack is like an occasionally kind sociopath trying to (quite successfully) fend off any vestige of human emotion that may well up inside him while likewise staving back a strange macabre compulsion from a deep and distant, perhaps Biblical past. At one point Jack rather audibly removes a bullet from his head–it was a pleasure!

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Nothing Oscar-worthy, but I really enjoyed Rollins’ depiction of Jack–rendered stolid from centuries of monotonous life. He has strong aversions to conversation, he answers questions literally and concisely, and does a good job revealing as little as possible about himself.  But I suppose if I had what appear angel wing excision scars, I’d be keeping more than a few secrets myself.  That said, his interactions–few as they may be and always forced upon him–are amusingly awkward.

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Despite the deliberate lack of a plot that matters or any form of proper character development, this remains a pretty cool movie. Highly recommended to indie horror fans, indie movie fans in general or anyone who likes Henry Rollins for any reason.

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