Directed by Jason Krawczyk
Written by Jason Krawczyk
Starring Henry Rollins, Jordan Todosey, Kate Greenhouse
83 mins - Horror - Release date: 15 August 2014
He Never Died, written and directed by Jason Krawczyk, tells the story of Jack, or at least a very small part of his story. Jack, played by the engaging Henry Rollins, is a true badass living alone and in relatively quiet solitude from society as he wrestles to maintain control of his innate urges or, to put it another way, his inner demon.
His existence is interrupted by two events: third-rate mobsters who come into his life by way of his method of maintaining his “sobriety,” and the entrance and introduction of his daughter.
Now, from the start, it’s clear that Jack can handle the mobsters. When we first meet the two wet-behind-the-ears thugs they try to enter Jack’s disparate apartment, and they do, but not before Jack gives one a strong, suggestive shove into the wall outside his apartment door.
When they do finally get inside his apartment, they try to throw their weight around, knocking Jack a few times on the nose. Setting the tone, Jack takes the blows like an old boxing pro, and kindly says, “Don’t do that.” Obviously, when there’s an instigator, such a calm and rational expression only serves to escalate the situation. But Jack was quick and efficient in his problem resolution. This scene was pretty powerful and masterfully directed, leaving audiences (at least me) with that “oh, shit, they fucked with the wrong guy” excitement.
That scene basically sets up the precedence for the rest of thecomedy — you just don’t fuck with Jack! And the reason why does come to light, so you’ll have to wait for it because I’m not going to spoil it for you.
Jack’s ability to come to terms with the fact that he has a daughter is another story. Basically, Andrea (played by Jordan Todosey) is a wild card, a teen in trouble and heading down the wrong path. And since they just met, she’s naturally very curious about him, asking him all sorts of personal questions. As a result, Jack is forced to take a closer look at himself, perhaps learning a few things about himself that he didn’t know were there before.
So far, this all seems like coming-of-age melodrama, and maybe this is a twist on that genre, but I promise that He Never Died delivers an interesting supernatural element and some minor gore. There is some violence, but it all seems so justified as you really do sympathize for Jack, who truly would be an unlikeable character if met in real life.
The action really picks up after Jack permanently, and cannibalistically, disposes of one of the thugs who tried to rough him up in his apartment. Afterward, upon his return to his apartment, Jack, in the rudest most hurtful way possible, kicks out Andrea, calling her something along the lines of a “failed aborted fetus.” But considering that he’s basically fallen off the wagon, and his inner demon is making a literal surfacing, we understand that he had to be hurtful in order to save her from himself.
From here on out, through his relationship with the crushing waitress (Cara, played by Kate Greenhouse) at the diner he frequents, we learn about Jack. And Jack exacts his vengeance on those who would hurt him or those close to him.
Is He Never Died a metaphor for addiction? It could be, but it doesn’t really matter because the story is so compelling. The audio editing is a bit off and you can really tell when dialog comes from post; it’s a bit distracting, but it doesn’t hurt the movie. Kate plays Cara great, but her reaction to Jack and what he is seem a little too accepting; most people would run away as fast as possible and never look back. And, last but not least, it would have been nice to see more of what happened to Andrea and how what Jack is affects her being. All in all, however, He Never Died is an excellent move and worth the time to watch.