Audrey Cummings’s companion piece to the 2015 horror oddity He Never Died is gruesome and darkly funny
SHE NEVER DIED (Audrey Cummings). 89 minutes. Opens Friday (December 6). See listing. Rating: NNN
So there’s this woman named Lacey. She’s cranky, keeps to herself, spends a lot of time being disappointed by the world. And on a possibly related note, sometimes she murders people and eats their fingers. It’s nothing weird, mind you she just needs the bone marrow.
Played with a hooded stare and a set jaw by Oluniké Adeliyi, Lacey is the hero of She Never Died, Audrey Cummings’s sequel to Jason Krawczyk’s 2015 oddity He Never Died – you remember: the one where Henry Rollins stomps around murdering people and glumly eating oatmeal, though never at the same time. It’s on Netflix. It’s worth a look.
She Never Died is more of a companion piece than a sequel, since Rollins’s character does not appear. This one spins a new story with a different avenging angel at its centre – and a more proactive one, since this immortal loner spends her time stalking and killing those who prey on the weak. (Bad people are an excellent source of fingers, after all.)
Lacey’s mission puts her on a collision course with an aging cop (Peter MacNeill), the cruel scumbags he’s been tracking down (Noah Danby, Michelle Nolden) and a young woman named Suzzie (Kiana Madeira) who figures into their plans – and whom Lacey will help, grumbling all the way.
Krawczyk returns as screenwriter for this one, and those who enjoyed the previous film will be happy to hear the new picture maintains its specific mix of gruesome violence and gallows humour. And director Cummings – who worked with Adeliyi on last year’s Darken – encourages her cast to play with Krawczyk’s odder, more idiosyncratic notions pretty much every actor gets at least one unexpected laugh from the material.
Oh, right: She Never Died is funny. It’s downright refreshing to see a genre movie where the “normal” characters don’t spend half the picture denying the weirdness around them. Suzzie’s reactions to Lacey’s impossible abilities are downright delightful, and the contrast between Madeira’s excitable energy and Adeliyi’s glowering reactions is a gift that never stops giving.
Violence is done, heads roll and fingers are eaten – that’s kind of Lacey’s thing – and if the movie loses its momentum in the last act so it can set up another instalment, at least that stuff is played with some measure of panache. The next chapter will apparently involve Lawrence Gowan as some kind of apocalyptic herald, so that’s cool.