HE NEVER DIED (2015)
Written and Directed by Jason Krawczyk
Screened at Grimmfest 2015
Social misfit Jack likes his own company. He has his own routine which involves going to bingo, eating at the local diner and generally spending time alone, just the way he likes it. A man of very few words, social events and integration aren’t his thing. The only time he ever really speaks to anyone else is when he meets his “dealer”, a medical intern who supplies him with a mysterious substance. When his estranged daughter, whom he didn’t know existed, knocks on his door, his whole world is turned upside down. Dragging him to various places and urging him to socialise more, including asking the local diner’s waitress out on a date, she takes Jack out of his comfort zone. When she suddenly disappears and his dealer ends up in hospital, Jack is forced out of his daily routine in order to track down his daughter and deal with whoever gets in his way.
Black comedy horror thriller HE NEVER DIED was without a doubt my favourite film from Grimmfest 2015 film festival. It’s sharp, it’s intriguing and though it sounds as if its lead character is monotonous, it manages to maintain a momentum to both drive the film and keep the viewer interested. They might as well call it the Henry Rollins show though for it is he who makes this movie what it is with his deadpan performance of layabout Jack who likes to do and say pretty much nothing. You’d be lucky if his facial expression changes. To the outside world he’s boring as sin but Jack is quite content with his droll, singular existence and you can’t help but love him for it. He appears to be this guy who’s quite happy for the world to pass him by whilst he fades into the background but when push comes to shove, Jack shows that he’s made of strong stuff which brings up the question: who the hell is this guy?
Though there may be a plot thread about who has kidnapped his estranged daughter, it’s really just an excuse for the viewer to find out who Jack really is. What’s his story? Being someone who’s so quiet and reserved means that we’re more interested in finding out these secrets. Henry Rollins is oustanding portraying this character. I really couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Jack so well. The mystique is so attractive and compelling to watch even if one word answers and a blank expression is all you get. It seems that Jack prefers to let his fists do the talking and when these actions scenes occur, they’re as intense, brutal and thrilling yet simplistic as one could hope for.
HE NEVER DIED is something special and different from what we’ve seen before. It’s dark, dry comic humour certainly tickled my funny bone and the rest of the audience’s whilst the mysterious narrative led by the enigmatic Jack will leave you compelled to watch. It’s gritty, fun, slick, and, for film fans, delightfully refreshing.