While Robert Sheehan and David Tennant are wonderful in their respective roles as good enough and evil. Their performances didn’t disguised the watered down horror thriller we received. This is disappointing to me because the trailer really gave me a sense that it would deliver a more intense thrill ride. Does that mean the film is horrible? By no means, no. I actually liked the film but just didn’t live up to its potential.
Before I get into that confusing initial reaction, let’s go back to the beginning. Bad Samaritan stars Sheehan as a struggling artist Sean Falco and part of a two man valet team in front of an Italian restaurant in Portland, Or. They come up with a clever way to make a little extra cash by using their customer’s car as a way to find their home address and break into their homes to find anything of value while the car owners are having a meal. Clever idea, why didn’t I think of that. They choose to rob the home of the king of all douchery, Cale Erendreich and discover a girl chained and strapped to a chair in his office.
This movie’s plot sounds very similar to another horror movie which will not be named because it would spoil the plot. Let’s just say that if Bad Samaritan is anything like this previous film which will not be named than I am in for a good 90 min scare fest. Instead, we got a cat and mouse game. A game of wits has been initiated and may the best man win. The intense suspenseful moments and the feeling you get from said moments capture you, the film lets it go and takes you through a story where you know who the villain is, you know who the hero is, and you are just waiting for one of them to win. Sometimes that formula works because the two adversaries are bringing a lot to the table and providing enough smart decisions that if good enough will keep our attention because it is what we would do in the situation. Sometimes it doesn’t work because the story could drag along with dumb idea after the next just to make sure it’s a long enough flick to classify as a full length film for the big screen.
This movie decided to bring in the mystery with the back story of our psychopath Cale. Provided in flashbacks and nightmares from the villain, we start to slowly piece together why he is so crazy and doing the things he does. Tennant plays this character beautifully. Director Dean Devlin and Writer Brandon Boyce asked for a maniac with a power complex and Tennant gave us one. Fresh from his role on Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix, he is officially deemed a believable villain. Tennant was scary to watch. Just his look will give you the willies as he knows how to pull off the right amount of fear but still gives you a sense of just an average Joe in front of you. Watching him in this film, you don’t want him lurking behind you and each jump scared that involved him could make you jump. I know it did for me.
Sheehan’s character on why he is our protagonist and just good enough as the hero is because he isn’t a saint himself. Boyce, gives him a pass by writing in that he has a successful relationship with his girlfriend Riley (Jacqueline Byers) and a Robin Hood complex that he usually wouldn’t want to steal from good people he would see at the restaurant. Only those who deserved it, like Erendreich who treats those who he believes are below him like crap. Once he discovers the girl, he immediately changes his ways and carries out the overall message of being an adult and making the right choices to help others and not just yourself. The other half of that coin that has to look out for #1 is his partner in crime Derek Sandoval (Carlito Olivero) Derek isn’t a bad guy either but has more at stake then to be a good Samaritan and put his freedom on the line for someone he doesn’t know. Derek says all the things someone good wouldn’t making Sean more likable and believable as the thief with the heart of gold.
Aside from the scares which are done very well but not enough than I’d hope, you get a little sense of a few laughs. I don’t think they were intentional but the tone of the movie goes back and forth a couple of times and you just don’t know if the movie is trying to give you just a good story or try and creep you out. The cat and mouse game Sean and Cale play with one another is entertaining but more on the drama side than horror side. I think knowing that going in, you may receive this movie a lot better than going in blind. Horror has been very good to me in 2017 and I think this film could of amped up the horror a bit more than what was executed. With Sheehan and Tennant’s great performances, it makes this movie worth the watch. It may not leave a mark in your horror memory banks but it’s entertaining enough not to regret the viewing.
3 out of 5
Side note as I was watching this film that I immediately was vocal about after leaving the theatre. We watch movies like these and characters who created with a background of coming from a silver spoon background, a trust-fund baby, or someone who may have worked so hard to get the riches they deserved but are completely insane and psychotic based on their upbringing or mental issues. American Psycho, Thoroughbreds (another movie involving horses), Funny Games and The Killing of a Sacred Dear are just some examples of the rich carrying out their warped ideals and morals while their exterior makes them look clean, safe, nice clothes, nice homes, and sometimes presented in a comical and unrealistic view as if those kinds of people don’t exist. My point is that we see a lot of stereotypes in movies, especially with race when someone from a certain neighborhood or from an ethnic background can be seen as dangerous and ones to keep your eye on. No matter the plot of the movie, sometimes watching a movie involving the urban hood or the ghetto and having street thugs commit horrible crimes, then when you see someone who looks and dresses like these characters you assume the worst. Bad Samaritans involved a burglar and a manic. Both from different social backgrounds but were still depicted as characters to enjoy in the film and to be overlooked in real life. One of the reasons Tennant’s character is very creepy is because he is unpredictable. There is no telling what he is going to do next. He fits into this category of liking the finer things in life and living with style and class. He would be one of the last people you would expect to kidnap women for his sick and twisted desires. People who grow up with no consequence and have been embedded with the likes of money and power all their lives are just as dangerous as those so called thugs, and poor people you think will steal from you just to make a quick buck that you see portrayed in film. I am not saying that all people who have money or born into money are destined to become murderers but these dark “comedies” you see of white Americans carrying out their torturous desires is not something to overlook or believed to be funny or even likable characters. This movie made me think about that more and will continue to notice as I watch movies in the future.