Hot Take: From the writer of Apt Pupil and director of Geostorm… that tells you about all you need to know.
There was something odd about Bad Samaritan from the start. Maybe it was the odd tonal choices the score took that never seemed to quite match the film. There are times where it felt as if the filmmakers plugged in a random public domain instrumental track without ever listening to it all the way through. Bad Samaritan fails to capitalize on some of its more positive elements — a novel plot for a thriller and a built-in audience for the villain of the film as David Tennant was the 1,500th different Doctor Who (okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration) — and ends up, as expected considering the creatives in control, a weak and even annoying effort that comes up way short on the entertainment side. Although, it’s safe to say, this will have an audience who loves Tennant in the bad guy role and doesn’t mind the choppy direction or sloppy script.
Sean (Robert Sheehan) and Derek (Carlito Olivero) are valets for a fancy Italian restaurant who use access to the customer’s vehicle and their personal information to break in to their houses while the customer eats. Things are going great (Well, not really but who cares) until Sean breaks into the house of a serial killer (David Tennant) where he finds a woman (Kerry Condon) bound and gagged to a chair in a secured room within the serial killer’s house. Fearing prison and out of time, Sean leaves the woman there when his initial attempts fail to break her out. However, guilt and concern for the woman lead Sean to get the police involved with an anonymous call. When it turns up nothing, Sean puts himself on the line by turning himself in only to be dismissed by law enforcement but also attracting the wrath of the killer in the process.
For me, the film was so technically flawed, it was hard to get past. Surely innocuous for some, timeline struggles and a general sense of ill-timed humor made this one too clunky to watch without being a little ticked off. Additionally, it’s hard to fathom a serial killer with as impressive of a kill list risking his hobby with the pettiness he resorts to once he identifies Sean as the person who broke into his sanctum.
Then again, it’s likely someone with low expectations might be able to get through to the other side and like the movie for where it succeeds. The novel premise which only feels a little derivative because a similar premise drives the first act of the recent Death Wish remake, is kind of interesting even if the serial killer feels a bit like someone taking their Dexter Halloween costume a bit too far. Tennant has entertaining moments in the villain role that make up for the drab performance put in by Sheehan in the lead role. That being said, there are a few well executed moments that left a lasting impression. There are also some godawful moments that would have worked if this were a straight up B-movie that was trying to be terrible. Unfortunately, it’s middling and meandering between the good and the not-so-good that the end result delivers an “Eh!”
You love quirky, generic bad guys and the cardboard cut-out protagonists that try to stop them.
Avengers: Infinity War is showing on the other 13 screens at the cineplex and you haven’t seen it enough yet.