Stream to Scream: “HE NEVER DIED”Fearful Features,Movies/TV,News Ken W. Hanley
There’s something effortlessly refreshing about films that confidently reside in their own universe. By offering characters with established history, rapport, and relationships, watching their stories unfold has an immersive quality that more grounded, gritty fare just cannot capture. Therefore, when something like HE NEVER DIED comes around and offers up a supernatural horror comedy that lives somewhere between JOHN WICK and TWIN PEAKS, it’s all the more of a twisted treat than your standard terror titles.
Directed by Jason Krawczyk, HE NEVER DIED follows ‘Jack’, an immortal loner whose daily routine includes spending time alone at a diner, playing bingo and curbing his insatiable desire for flesh & blood. However, after being reunited with his estranged daughter, Jack finds himself wrapped up in mafia troubles, indiscriminate hunger and a kidnapping case that only he can solve. Yet the closer he gets to the truth and the body count rises, the more about his secret nature and history becomes known to the select few friends he has left.
With Henry Rollins as a pitch-perfect anchor for the film’s dry, dark comedy, HE NEVER DIED is the kind of horror film fans are usually demanding: bloody, insane and uncompromising, taking place in a world of its own design. The film rarely devotes time to needless exposition, instead planting clues and elements so matter-of-factly that one can often roll with the narrative punches and still be surprised by HE NEVER DIED’s excellent twists and turns. And with the mix of character-familiar rapport and the unabashed weirdness on display, HE NEVER DIED has a rare charm that few projects carry where the odd feels oh-so-ordinary, with the outbursts of carnage just as likely to incite gasps as they are big laughs.
Outside of Krawczyk’s sensational script and adept direction, HE NEVER DIED luckily had a fantastic crew to bring it to life. Eric Billman’s cinematography paints the reality-adjacent world of HE NEVER DIED incredibly well, offering visuals that feel stylish and yet never too beyond the grasp of reality. James Mark Stewart’s moody score helps balance the tone of the film, which can jump between hysterical and intense at the drop of a dime. And the FX from Randy Daudlin and John MacGillivray is simply great, especially the blood FX that flow so freely in certain sequences.
HE NEVER DIED also works in large part to its stellar cast, most of whom bring a palpable sense of enthusiasm to the project. The aforementioned Rollins is phenomenal in the role of ‘Jack’, selling both the character’s vicious nature and his oblivious stern wit in a bold way. Kate Greenhouse and Jordan Todosey are exceptional as his only friend and long-lost daughter, respectively, while Booboo Stewart has a strong but small role as Rollins’ suspicious ‘intern.’ And the film also sports a colorful turn from Steven Ogg, whose villain-by-proxy character is given more dimension than most throwaway real-life villains in supernatural horror offerings.
Overall, HE NEVER DIED is a genre gem that embraces it’s strange world as much as it does it’s R-rating. Whether it’s the hilariously horrific script, the carefully constructed mythology or the solid performances, HE NEVER DIED has a lot to love while establishing Krawczyk as a talent to watch in the horror genre and Henry Rollins’ as a versatile leading man.
HE NEVER DIED is currently streaming on Netflix.