Sydney Underground Film Festival Review: He Never Died (USA, 2015)

Staring music and spoken word legend Henry Rollins, He Never Died is exactly the kind of Grindhouse trash you want to see at an underground film festival. It’s like reading a comic book that was self published in the days where that meant a photocopier and a guillotine. There’s something old school about this whole endeavour, Rollins, b-movie plot, DIY production company.

Keeping it retro, there’s an astoundingly small amount of information out there on the director Jason Krawczyk. Some of that is because he hasn’t done much. He’s made a crappy looking MacGuffin film, that looks like its mostly impressive in that he managed to finish a feature. Bravo sir you made a thing! A more thorough search leads me the production company’s vimeo past.

Have a look at this regional advertising gem:

…gives hope to us all if you can go from that to feature films.

I’m gonna do my best not to make this a fan letter to Rollins or as I like to call him in the friendship we have in my head, Hank. I could talk at length about the many ways I love all the things he does. Hank does all the things! Instead, I’ll bitch a bit about that the state of cinema and that I’m bummed how indie cinema has gone safe. It’s now a second fiddle of the studio system.

Films like Slow West and Frank were too twee for their own good; everyone a Wes Anderson accolade. There were things I liked about both those films, but they were strangled under their own need to be “good”. What happened to the crazy underground films with cameos from musos and degenerates?! We’re due for another Repoman or Wild Zero. Since when did everyone start giving a fuck? Make something terrible, just don’t make something so damn polite!

Whoa, hold up son! I’m beginning to sound like one of those checked shirt dudes who goes to shows just so he can drink Coopers and talk about how much better music was when he was your age while trying to size up if he can be your girlfriend’s next rebound. Thank fuck I can get some cred back here at the Underground film festival. I have a feeling that here at the SUFF might just be the place for all these terrible films I miss. They’re out there I know… spectacularly bad taste is as constant as creative cowardice. And this is one of them, one of those stinky gems. Henry fucking Rollins, a flesh eating immortal. Make my popcorn large, I’m spiking my cola, sirs you have my full attention.

I enjoyed it a lot. It’s not perfect, but the values it hits, considering its humble origins, are great. If you’re not excited by the the concept then skip it. If you are then go see it first chance you do.

Three and a half stars for fanboys like me, more of a two star film for regular folk.

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

He Never Died screened as part of the Sydney Underground Film Festival

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