Back when Henry Rollins was the frontman for L.A. punk band Black Flag, he got a lot of aesthetic mileage out of the contrast between his muscular body, permanent grimace and poet's soul. Writer-director Jason Krawczyk finds that same uneasy balance in his horror-noir "He Never Died," a future cult favorite.
Rollins stars as Jack, a surly loner whose attempts to lead a quiet life in a dark corner of the city keep getting disrupted — first by gangsters who hassle him for reasons unknown, and then by the unexpected arrival of the grown daughter he never knew he had.
Jordan Todosey plays the offspring, Andrea, who along with Jack's favorite diner waitress Cara (Kate Greenhouse) tries to get the hero re-engaged with the problems of other human beings. It's Cara who discovers why Jack isolates himself: He's an immortal — and a cannibal — who doesn't want his misanthropy to push him into eating his fellow man.
There's more to Jack's backstory, which Krawczyk withholds until the third act. He eases gradually into the more supernatural elements, which is part of what makes the movie so distinct.
"He Never Died" isn't as fleshed out as it could be, but what the film lacks in vivid supporting characters and rich plotting it gets back from Rollins, whose innate charisma carries the film. More than anything, this is a memorable character sketch, tracing the grubby life of a lonely superman. It's the cinematic equivalent of a vintage Black Flag rager.
"He Never Died."
MPAA rating: R for bloody violence and language throughout.
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes.