JOHN HENRY is a new thriller on Netflix. It stars Terry Crews in the title role and is best described as a Western-Gangsta-Musical hybrid. In other words, you should watch this movie for its weird campiness. Maybe then you’ll be happy. Read our full John Henry review here!

John Henry is a new thriller on Netflix, which has been getting some very harsh words along the way. And I can definitely see why since the poster and plot makes it seem like a revenge thriller, which it really isn’t.

Instead, we’re dealing with a very strange hybrid that seems almost like it’s trying to spoof other movies. This is to thrillers what a horror-comedy is to horror. They’re strangely related but works with very different emotions.

Continue reading our full John Henry movie review below and check it out on Netflix, if you’re curious about it.

Western-Gangsta-Musical hybrid

John Henry stars Terry Crews in the title role and I do like him. I especially enjoy watching him in comedy or action roles, and I did expect this movie on Netflix to be mostly in the latter. That wasn’t exactly the case.

In fact, John Henry is perhaps best described as a Western-Gangsta-Musical hybrid. If you do decide to watch this movie, then please keep this in mind. Most of the actors in the movie do also seem aware that they’re working with something that’s very… alternative.

I mean, the character played by Ludacris alone is enough to drive home this fact. As an actor, Ludacris hasn’t been afraid to take on roles that work within the comedy-spectrum and he seems to appreciate that aspect in this movie as well.

I did actually enjoy the whole “Western theme” set in South Los Angeles, but when the genres “thriller and drama” are attached to this movie, I feel like it’s being sold as something it absolutely is not.

Well, except for the fact that it does start out a bit like John Wick (yes, the first one), so I was getting ready for some serious revenge action. Again, this was not the case!

John Henry – Netflix Review

Who is John Henry?

John Henry is essentially a modern-day (well, sort of, anyway) retelling of the American folklore. The folklore is told in a folk song, which does explain the musical element of this movie. However, you really need to know about this folklore in order to actually get that connection.

Obviously, a lot of people (myself included, but then again, I’m not American) do not.

John Henry was actually an African American folk hero. In fact, he was even on a US stamp back in 1996 as part of a set featuring American folk heroes. You can click here to read more about the legend of John Henry over at Wikipedia >

Hopefully, you can watch this movie on Netflix in a different way, when you have this knowledge. It still doesn’t change the fact that it’s labeled as a sort of revenge thriller and should have been marketed differently.

You can watch John Henry on Netflix in the US now!

Will Forbes directed and co-wrote this movie along with Doug Skinner. John Henry is the only credit on Will Forbes’ official IMDb page, so I obviously am not familiar with him. Doug Skinner has worked as a writer on a 1983 TV movie, but that’s about it (again, according to IMDb).

I do have to commend this movie on its production quality since it really does look gorgeous. Also, the actors seem (for the most part) to know that they’re in a rather campy movie with musical elements. I mean, there is literally a troubadour-narrator singing a country-style song throughout the story. It’s sort of cool, but also pretty strange.

Basically, you should watch John Henry for the campiness and just embrace its weirdness. If you can do that, then I think you might get a kick out of watching it. I wasn’t ready for this, which means it was a very strange experience.

John Henry is out on Netflix in the US from May 9, 2020.


Director: Will Forbes
Writers: Will Forbes, Doug Skinner
Stars: Terry Crews, Jalyn Hall, Maestro Harrell, Ludacris, Jamila Velazquez, Ken Foree


A reformed LA gang member upends his peaceful new life when he steps in to protect two young immigrants from his violent former leader.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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