If you’re an action/horror fan or a bibliologist with a penchant for genre cinema viewing, there’s a good chance Jason Krawczyk’s He Never Died might have crossed your path in the last six years. Provided that you’ve seen it by now, you’ll have familiarized yourself in prep for the latest chapter currently available on Tubi with She Never Died, helmed by Audrey Cummings.
Written by Krawczyk and originally planned as a miniseries before deciding to move onward to feature fruition, Cummigs directs her third outing returning audiences to a world where fallen angels are left to suffer among mankind, unable to die and forced to live out their lives on otherworldly diets that prominently thrive on human flesh. Such is how the homeless Lacey (Oluniké Adeliyi) bites her time while hunting for specific humans with fellow street cohort, Joe (Bill MacDonald).
Fastidious with her appetite for fingers, Lacey’s latest craving is a man named Terrance (Noah Danby), a sadistic torture-porn live streamer operating in the secret dungeon of the criminal outfit run by his sister, Meredith (Michelle Nolden). Discovered by Godfrey (Peter MacNeill), a grisled detective reaching the twilight of his career in the midst of a case involving missing persons and dismembered bodies, the two forge an odd-couple alliance that also brings about the sudden rescue of Suzzie (Kiana Medeira), a woman who sooner becomes intrigued and eagerly attached to Lacey.
As Lacey struggles to keep her proclivities in check around Suzzie, developments eventually arise in Godfrey’s case and it isn’t long before he finds himself in harm’s way with Lacey nabbed by Terrance soon after. With Suzzie left alone and Terrance planning a tormentous live show with the chained-up and bloodied Lacey as the main event, it’s up to Suzzie to connect the dots in order to find where they’ve taken her.
Even then, the answer as to the question as to who needs saving is already more than clear in She Never Died. What matters is the method and delivery of the story that follows the lore of the first film, and with Cummings at the helm, you’re guaranteed a feast of spectacular thrills and gore at its finest.
The biggest plus here is the casting of Adeliyi whose adaptation to the character lends a less-familiar iteration of a character far from used to her surroundings. Lacey is terse and unreceptive, but nakedly honest and direct in the moment with her thoughts and emotions. She’s a naturally feral beast in humanoid form who is otherwise able to co-exist with other humans so long as she doesn’t eat them.
Lacey’s afflictions are also made clear as she’s visited by a mysterious and silent man in a hat from time to time, and hears voices in her head on occasion. Her chemistry with Madeira and MacNeill is amazing in her respective scenes with her co-stars, and with Nolden and Danby offering delightful performances as menacing siblings who can’t get their just desserts fast enough.
Madeira’s character also has her own issues, and it helps that there’s a point in which she breaks away from lingering on them – part of her character development is what we learn of her self-mutilating and suffering in addition to an otherwise suggested prior occupation that she discusses briefly a few times in the film. She herself discovers Lacey’s uniqueness and firstly with a much darker intent, before seemingly recovering with a more sharpened and wittier focus as the plot thickens.
The biggest and most hands-down praise goes to Adeliyi, of course. She is completely immersed in her character and all the layers therein, presenting an anti-hero with super-strength, and a threatening air that she otherwise uses for good. She’s definitely made some mistakes though, and while she’s clearly paying for them, these are just bit-points in the much larger scheme of things, and it all extends to a more contextual understanding of theology going into the last five minutes, which, imagineably, makes this thriller all the more fun.
He Never Died got some great reviews at the time of its release (and I do know there are some critics who thought even less of it), and if you look now, the same can easily be said of this sequel by Cummings who is no stranger to horror. She Never Died won several awards last year during the festival circuit, and deservedly so, and one can only hope this won’t be the last we see of Adeliyi completely owning the screen. She brings stoicism, rawness and amazonian ferocity to her character in this film, and if this to be your first introduction to her screen work, earnestly, you won’t regret it.
Watch She Never Died on Fox Entertainment’s Tubi.