By Michael Hingston
For many years the film industry has been overwhelming male-dominated, with films made by women either not getting the attention they deserve or being given attention based solely on the fact that they are part of previously successful ventures, rather than celebrated in their own right.
However, more recently we are seeing a shift as films made by talented female directors are becoming more dominant in the film industry, admired for their original views and talented productions. One such film is She Never Died, screened as part of Grimmfest 2019.
She Never Died, directed by Audrey Cummings and starring Olunike Adeliyi, is the female remake of Jason Krawczyk’s He Never Died (2015) starring Henry Rollins. Now many would expect the film to be almost a complete remake of its predecessor, but with the twist of switching the gender of the main character, in a sloppy attempt to make the film seem more diverse. You can imagine my relief when this wasn’t the case.
She Never Died is a brilliant counter to its original, where the protagonist of the original, Jack, is a seemingly dull and slow character, following a lifestyle of someone who wants to be left alone to continue without any problem and to not cause any problems. She Never Died is almost a polar opposite, lending an ear to how another immortal person could live. Lacey, the protagonist, is a cold blooded killer just trying to find a way to aim her compulsions towards someone who deserves it so she can get her next meal. Sharing the same air of social anxiety as Jack from the original film but with an air of stoic anger, as if she is the embodiment of a calm before the storm, Lacey is trying to work out how to help people at the same time as curbing her rampant desires, rather than her predecessor she opts to disassemble her prey In a spectacular fray of entrails and blood, making for an interesting watch.
She Never Died is more like a sequel than a remake, offering another look in another way at the life of those who were left behind with many biblical links between them, and many interesting characters. One of my favourite differences between these films is how the antagonists in this remake are more entertaining in that they seem more believable, they could be real people, despite their day jobs. This leaves the audience with an expertly devised dilemma when it comes to which character to root for. Obviously Lacey deserves to win, especially with who she deals with and the troubles that she suffers, but at the same time the directors works brilliantly at making the antagonists more comical and realistic, which leaves viewers wanting more from them.
Now with any remake there is always going to be something missing from the original, and its fair to say there isn’t much this film falls short of. The only true difference between these films is the pace. In the original, the pace of the film is more drawn out leaving the turn to the violent as something you would receive ever now and again. In the remake however, the violence and the grittiness that audiences would be looking for with this type of film is shown from the start, setting off a chain of brilliant if not dark and gruesome scenes that leave you gasping at the intensity of them. In this case what the original lacks, the remake more than makes up for, with an exciting reference to a possible sequel which left me more than excited at the concept.