Riding along the Guinea Pig train, this week’s stop is the third in this illustrious series: He Never Dies. As the title suggests, we are introduced to a man who is seemingly immortal. The catch? He’s also suicidal. This time around, the killer and the victim are one in the same. While the premise is a nice twist, unfortunately I must report that the film falls short in many ways. Short that is, save for one key area. Gorehounds will be appeased; you’ll get your sweet, sanguine fix with a few choice scenes in this one.
Next to nothing. We get a single, background topless shot from the side. It’s just enough to make one wonder why they bothered at all.
Oh yeah, there’s some good stuff in here. One thing you have to say for these films, they have an excellent effects team.
Zero. This one’s far too silly to even rate on the meter.
We open our story with some eighties pop punk, sounding a bit like a Japanese Devo. It sets a slightly ridiculous mood which is, oddly enough, a sign of things to come. Enter our victim: programmer by day, he’s another drone doing crummy work at his crummy job. A sad sack loser, he is loveless, aimless, and too chickenshit to even commit suicide. Depressed, our victim locks himself in his apartment for a few days, blowing off work and moping around without purpose. He passes the time by watching anime, smoking, and … drawing funny faces on the bottoms of his feet. You know, like ya do.
Trust me, after this puppet show you’ll be rooting for suicide.
Eventually, he finally works up the nerve to slit his wrist. However, if you’ve been keeping up with the previous films, you should know that death is too quick a release for our victim this early in the film. Pay attention kids, because this is where things start to get interesting.
Notice how he didn’t go down the lane. Pff, attention whore.
After the bleeding stops suddenly, he comes to revelation: he cannot feel pain. Armed with this knowledge, he does the natural thing and starts mutilating himself in order to test it out.
Now being that he wants to die, finding out that he can’t doesn’t sit too well with this guy. He flips his shit and continues the self-mutilation while bitterly lamenting at his lot in life. Since this gets him nowhere, he starts calling on colleagues to visit him instead, one of which – I shit you not – is a certified Japanese Cowboy. The Cowboy complies, but isn’t quite ready for what he’s about to see.
So uh … it’s the flu then?
Okay, I have to admit. For as dull as this film is in the first three quarters, the last quarter makes up for it some. We began with silly and we’re going to end with it cranked to eleven. But Japan does wacky well, and this film is no exception. Instead of enlisting in Cowboy’s help, our “victim” rolls with it and just has some fun freaking him the hell out by showering the screaming, crying man with his own organs. Now come on — if that sentence doesn’t at least make you curious, then I don’t know what you’re doing here.
Eh, he’ll be fine.
The character isn’t exactly relatable or worthy of sympathy. His delivery is goofy, his laments whiny, and overall you want to see him die. There’s nothing particularly creepy or unnerving about his situation. This one is straight comedy throughout, and in this way differs greatly from the previous films. The effects are still on point though. The wrist slitting is slow and stomach-churning; the disemboweling satisfyingly real.
Another strange component is the unnecessary narrator of the film. Keeping in the theme of “this is real snuff, not a movie, wink wink,” long before found footage films were a thing, I suppose the makers of the film thought it necessary to toss in a straight man in order to keep the fantasy going. To that I say: yawn. The initial concept of the victim torturing himself is a refreshing twist on the series, but the execution is too goofy to take it seriously. Overall this is not a great film, but worth a watch for the last ten minutes. Once it goes completely off the rails, it seems to find its footing a little better.
This is how you say “zero fucks given” in Japanese.
Score: 6/10, decent gore, ending is bonkers
IMDB for this flick
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Categories: asian horror