‘Some legends refuse to die’
He Never Left is a 2023 American horror thriller film about a fugitive and his girlfriend being stalked by a serial killer at a motel.
Written, co-produced, directed by and co-starring James Morris from a storyline co-written with co-producer Michael Ballif. Executive produced by Josh Harrington and Jake Watters.
The Witching Season Films production also stars Colin Cunningham (Falling Skies; Stargate SG1; Preacher), Alicia Oberle Farmer, Charla Bocchicchio, Jessica Staples, David E. McMahon, Landon Kasten, William McAllister, Sean D. Hunter, Mary Ellen Wolfe, Jagger Woolstenhulme, Hailey Nebeker, Jake Watters, Samuel Morris and Tommy Morris.
Gabriel (Colin Cunningham) is a fugitive on the run from the US Marshals. With the help of his girlfriend, Carly (Jessica Staples), he takes refuge in an old motel.
However, after hearing strange noises coming from an adjoining room, the two inadvertently become the targets of the notorious “Pale Face” killer (William McAllister), whose legend has haunted the local community for decades…
Reviews [may contain spoilers]:
“Despite its low budget director James Morris is able to deliver a compelling tale with a central performance that’s truly award worthy. Overall, it might be light on scares and the Pale Face killer isn’t present enough to make him the next great horror icon but the psychological elements are where the film’s horror really shines.” ★★★½ The Fright Club
“The movie contains a couple of false endings providing the feeling Morris wants to take this story further […] I recommend He Never Left for those who enjoy psychological horror. There is a little gore, but this is more about the emotional responses.” Guild Master Gaming
“The film is constructed more like a farce than a slasher, with Gabriel getting deeper and deeper in trouble (and fury) as circumstances pile up to involve him in the return of Pale Face […] Perhaps less effective are the cutaways to the chatty marshals going about their business, tracking down leads but not exactly giving the ice cream truck heist/murder top priority […] Interesting and odd.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“Focusing as much on victims as villains, while showing the dovetailing, jigsaw-like links that exist between them, He Never Left allows criminality and psychopathy, both passed down the generations, to check into adjoining rooms. It is also, for all its bleakness, written (by Morris and Michael Ballif) with a deft wit that lets in a little light.” Projected Figures
He Never Left received its world premiere at the Filmquest Film Festival and its international premiere during the October block of FrightFest in London. With the movie hitting the festival circuit with screenings at the Fright Night Film Festival, Hot Springs Horror Festival, and Ethereal Horror Festival, Witching Season Films hope to have He Never Left on release early in 2024.
“It’s so incredibly validating that the film is already getting this much positive attention” said writer-director Morris “Having our debut screenings at such awesome festivals really just helps me be at peace with everything. This movie took years, and a lot of very talented people to create, and I’m just glad we are finally here.”