She Never Died Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Alternate Ending Studios
Directed by Audrey Cummings
Written by Jason Krawczyc
2019, 89 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Grimmfest Uk Premiere on 3rd October 2019
Olunike Adeliyi as Lacey
Peter MacNeill as Godfrey
Kiana Madeira as Suzzie
Michelle Nolden as Meredith
The reasonably well-liked Henry Rollins comedy horror vehicle He Never Died gets its unexpected and unnecessary - but not actively unwanted - sequel in this return to Jason Krawczyc’s world of 'vampires' and killers. Original star Rollins sits this one out, as Audrey Cummings’ sequel follows the similarly afflicted Lacey while she attempts to reconcile her flesh-hungry urges with what remains of her humanity. Gone viral after a kill goes awry, she is drawn into a violent world of human trafficking and seedy underworld antics. It’s Dexter by way of Santa Clarita Diet.
As with the film’s predecessor, the stakes are relatively low and the story primarily focused on character over action. Returning to this morally murky, noir-ish world gives Cummings and writer Krawczyc room to add more texture and depth, while telling a tale adjacent to that of Henry Rollins’ Jack. Through the film, we learn a little more of the immortal cannibal condition, but not so much that it risks over-explaining its supernatural antiheroes.
Star Olunike Adeliyi is magnetic as Lacey; a commanding, formidable figure before she ever says a word. The gender (and race) switch adds a feminist dint to the story, and a different perspective in director Cummings. This is only compounded by Lacey’s friendship with a spunky sex worker she rescues during one of her Dexter-esque kills. This addition – plus that of amiable detective Godfrey – gives Adeliyi someone to play off against, resulting in some enjoyable odd-couple humour, contrasting her (super)natural intensity with something a little lighter and funnier. Again, the structure and themes bear a resemblance to He Never Died, but it's different enough beast that the film stands on its own feet.
Like the previous film, the pacing is languid and the story character driven. When the action and gore comes, it’s effective and well-utilised, ensuring that horror fans will remain satisfied even without Henry Rollins around to kick ass and chew throats. It's unlikely to win new fans in those who find these films to be too slow and 'Indie', but it certainly won't lose the franchise any followers either. If this is the first film in the series one happens across, it should serve as a nifty introduction,and one that stands perfectly well as its own entity.
Nothing here is particularly new or revelatory, but She Never Died makes for a neat return to a world many liked well enough the first time around. Not one that anyone was really clamouring for a return to, but that mild sense of surprise only makes this offbeat side-quel all the more enjoyable.
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