“Not for the squeamish”

by Martin Hafer

I do not particularly like violent films. So the fact that I appreciated and even enjoyed He Never Died says a lot about the movie. And, if you’re interested, it just came out on Netflix.

The film stars Henry Rollins, a guy who you probably have seen in films or on television but who isn’t widely known because he’s an unusual guy. He’s a man who originally gained some fame in punk rock but later became famous for something other than pounding rhythms and his singing voice. The guy is a regular tattooed renaissance man… writer, radio host, comedian and activist. And, in recent years, an actor… and a very good one. I first took notice when he starred in a wonderful short film called Deathdealer, in which he played the Grim Reaper. Now, he plays an even edgier character…one who is immortal and, in a way, a vampire. But fortunately, in a world filled with vampire films, this one is completely different.

He Never Died
Directed by
Jason Krawczyk
Henry Rollins, Booboo Stewart, Steven Ogg
Release Date
18 December 2015
Martin’s Grade: A

When the film begins, Jack (Rollins) is on the wagon, so to speak. In other words, he’s become a passive sort of guy…a vegetarian who fills his need for human blood and flesh without harming anyone. He also isn’t a stereotypical vampire, as he can come out during the daytime and acts nothing like others of his kind. One unique thing is that he has a connection at a hospital who provides him with what he craves and he’s managed to exert super-human control over himself so that he does not kill. Unfortunately, there are some horrible thugs who insist on doing him harm. The problem is that he cannot be killed and he won’t let himself kill in return…to a point. Again and again, he shows remarkable restraint when attacked….but after a while, it gets tougher and tougher to maintain this self-control…especially when they kidnap his daughter. At this point, they are about to unleash all of Jack’s wrath…and the consequences are horrific!

I need to be up front about this film… there is a lot of violence and a lot of blood. It is not for the squeamish, that’s for sure. Seeing Jack walking about with bullets in his head, him killing his adversaries and the gallons of fake blood used in the film are alarming. But, generally, they aren’t gratuitous and the plot twists are surprising and unique. It also helps that Rollins was so intriguing in the lead…very controlled but also amazingly menacing and forceful. It’s not for everyone but it’s also completely unique and tough to stop watching.