He Never Died
he never died | jason krawczyk | henry rollins | booboo stewart | kate greenhouse | angel | religion | comedy | drama | fantasy | thriller | urban | canada | crime | jordan todosey | david richmond-peck | james cade | don francks | steven ogg | scott edgecombe
Film: He Never Died
Director: Jason Krawczyk
Writer: Jason Krawczyk
Starring: Henry Rollins, Booboo Stewart and Kate Greenhouse
This was a movie that I had not heard of until it appeared on the Podcast Under the Stairs Summer Series list. After that, it oddly popped up on another list from Fright Club Podcast as one of their favorite horror movies involving angels. Outside of that, I knew this featured Henry Rollins, who I rather enjoy as an actor. I have heard the TPUTS episode prior to seeing this, so I knew this was a wild film. The synopsis is Jack (Rollins), a social outcast, is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs on his door and he can’t contain his violent past.
We start this off with Jack being haunted by his dreams. This will be a recurring aspect of the movie through the use of sounds. We are hearing screaming, whips and gunfire along with demonic growling. He wakes up from his nightmare and we see that he has scars on his back. There’s a knock at his door and it is his landlady, Ruth (Nuala Fitzgerald). He is confused as to what day it is and she seems taken aback by his questions. Jack goes to a crate in his room where we see a lot of money and guns. He pays Ruth.
The movie then gives us a bit of Jack’s day to day. He goes to a church before meeting with Jeremy (Booboo Stewart). Jeremy is an intern and does deals with Jack where he is stealing something from a hospital or clinic he works at. Jack, of course, isn’t a fan of small talk and leaves. Another place that He likes to go is a local diner called Times Square. There’s a waitress working there, Cara (Kate Greenhouse), who takes a liking to him, but it is awkward.
Things take a turn when there’s a knock at Jack’s door. He answers it to find Andrea (Jordan Todosey). She doesn’t say anything, but flees. There’s another knock at the door that grows each time with intensity. He finally answers to find two men who ask about his meeting with Jeremy. They try to get rough with Jack, but he is vicious in fighting back, hurting both of them.
Soon after this encounter he receives a phone call from Gillian (Mary Elaina Brisebois). It appears they were an item for some time and the young woman that knocked at his door is his daughter. She asks him to go find her. He doesn’t understand at first and reluctantly goes searching. It takes a bit of time, but he does. She is drunk and asks if she can stay a few days with him.
Andrea tries to get to know her dad a bit more, but he is short with his answers. Through her interactions with him, we see that there is more to this man and he might not be quite human. Cara also gets entangled as does the underworld of New York City. Jack has a past with them that will come back, bringing him to crime boss of Alex (Steven Ogg), his former employer’s son.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie. There are some things that were revealed to me coming in that I’m going to hold off spoiling here. What I will share though is that Jack is an angel of sorts who has been alive since the beginning of time. There is a hilarious scene where Cara is trying to learn more about him and he lays out every job he’s had. There’s no one in a normal lifespan that could do as much as he did, but how matter of fact he is made me laugh.
This character of Jack is where I’m going to delve a bit more. The tagline on the poster is it’s hard to live when you can’t die. This is an interesting concept, especially when we are getting the type of movie that we are. Coming in I heard that this was wild and a bit like John Wick. I can see that comparison, because Jack is a beast. What I find problematic here though is that if he can’t die, you lose stakes. What makes John Wick and the sequels great are that you worry with how high the stakes are raised, he can’t possible always win. I don’t get that from this movie with him being practically invincible. He can be hurt, but it doesn’t amount to much. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy this movie though.
To get to a positive though is going to be the mythology. All I’m going to say to avoid spoiling this movie is that Jack is a character from the bible. What is interesting too is that he’s considered a villain. I’m a fan that we get his actual name and not the English version we are used to and the same for his brother. What I like is that the character he is has issues with anger so it fits what this movie is doing. We also get a recurring dark character that turns out to be the Devil from everything I’m getting from it. I liked incorporating this and Jack telling different things from his past. This is something I actually wanted more of.
Since Jack is the focus, I’ll shift over to the acting. Rollins is casted perfectly for this character. He has the look they need and he comes off as such a hard character. I even like how awkward he plays it socially. It is great in my opinion. Greenhouse, Stewart and Todosey are all solid as well. They are there to try to bring some humanity back to this character. It is a struggle, but it works. The role of Cara gets the most screen time here I like the ordeals she goes through as she tries to get closer to Jack. I thought all of the thugs were fine, especially getting to see Ogg here. I first learned of him from Grand Theft Auto V where he voiced my favorite character. I’ve seen him in shows since there where he’s great. The acting I thought was positive on the whole to push Jack where he ends up.
Then the last things to go into are the cinematography, effects and soundtrack. I think for this first part, it is solid. They don’t go crazy with it, but I think the movie is shot well. It does help with the effects where they could hide things. I’m shocked they didn’t go more CGI, but the movie is grounded in reality more than I was expecting. If there was CGI, it worked for me and was blended seamlessly. As for the soundtrack, I think on the whole it is fine. They do some interesting things with sound design, but much like I wanted more back-story, the sounds we are getting could be explained a bit more. They have recurring sounds to show that he’s haunted. I think the idea works, but feels forced at times as well.
So then in conclusion, this movie is solid. I think we have an interesting idea with a fallen angel like Jack trying to live a normal life. He’s been here so long though he’s jaded and become a recluse. I like the action aspects where he is taking on the criminal underworld, but I think having him being invincible loses the stakes there. Rollins though is great with the rest of the cast helping direct him where he ends up. The effects and cinematography are fine. The soundtrack fit for what was needed and the sound design gets a bit repetitive, but I get why it is. I’d say this is above average and just lacking elements for me that would put it higher. This is still worth a viewing though.
My Rating: 7 out of 10