He Never Died

He Never Died is a highly enjoyable leading man debut for vocalist-poet-writer-punk icon, Henry Rollins. Sure, he’s had quite a few laps around the acting track, but this time his intimidating mug is front and center for the whole show. The vibe of the film has a mischevious bent to it, but I wouldn’t refer to it as horror-comedy. The movie is surely no kin to Army of Darkness. I also would not say that the ebony laughs evoked at times make it a “dark comedy.” There is a mildly pervasive element of the supernatural in the plot and character concept, as well as a decent amount of gore involved, so let us be satisfied with the unassuming genre of amusing horror.
As suggested by the snugly fitting title, Rollins is portraying a man who has been there, done that again and again and again. A less clever take on his biblically immortal character would be to affect the characteristic of immense world weariness. I am rather taken by the idea, fantastically realized, that after thousands of years, one would become, let us say, apathetic. He’s had every possible occupation, taken up every possible past time, lived in every local imaginable, slept with every type of woman, lived in opulence and squalor, killed men by every conceivable manner, and the total sum of his existence is… indifference. After an immeasurable number of millenium, his life has become an unending remake of the Bill Murray vehicle, Groundhog’s Day. He’s basically turned to every single page in his personal Choose Your Own Adventure novel. It’s all actually rather brilliant.
If you’re wondering why he hasn’t, or should I say “can’t,” pass on to his eternal reward, that is never specifically explained. The truth lies somewhere between Holy punishment (his name given at birth was pronounced “Ky-yun”), and the same affliction that plagued Vlad Tepes. While human blood can sustain him, somewhat, he does have a physiological need to consume the flesh of man. A need he actively fights against. After a lifetime of killing in the endless cycle of war, he now obtains his meat in a more or less humane way.
The driving plot of this particular flick is Rollins taking offence at the kidnapping of a young girl who his almost surely a blood relative. The abduction was meant as revenge for some temporary enforcer work he performed that resulted in a big boss’ death. As a viewer, one is never totally sure if he gives a toss about the captive and tortured girl, or if he’s simply annoyed by these violent human gnats harshing his mellow. All he really wants to do is sleep, eat a herbivore meal, and play some bingo at the local church. Everything else is extraneous.
While all of this doesn’t necessarily sound horrific, let me assure you that brains being blown out, a bite of flesh being ripped from a neck, and the lapping up of blood from a kitchen floor are all part of the many gruesome scenes included. Gore hounds will not be disappointed.
I am, however, still puzzled by one bit of physical oddity: Why the twin vertical scars on his shoulder blades? Are we meant to believe he was, at one point, elevated to angel? I highly doubt there will be a sequel to answer this mystery, so it remains thus.

 

Based on the originality of the story, the wonderfully understated performance of Henry Rollins, and the great time I had watching this film, I give He Never Died eight out of ten spooks.

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One thought on “He Never Died

  1. Hey – I’m not sure about the scars on his shoulder blades either – though on the promotional posters he does have black wings. Perhaps the implication is that he is the angel of death. I think we will have an answer to these questions and deeper exploration of the Death character – as this film is actually intended as a pilot to a mini-series which is in the pipeline. Fingers crossed it gets made because I really enjoyed this too!

    Liked by 1 person

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