Bad Samaritan , 2018
- Please Note: This post may contain Spoilers. Though, I do my best to not reveal too much specific information.
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Rated R for violence, language throughout, some drug use and brief nudity. Please see the Parents Guide for Bad Samaritan on IMDB for more info.
Synopsis and Review:
Two young car valets working independently for an Italian restaurant in Portland make their side cash by burglarizing the homes of customers, whose cars they are entrusted with. They accomplish this scam by using the in car GPS to lead them to the owner’s empty homes while they are dining inside the restaurant. Their strategy involves one staying behind and acting as a lookout on call while the other makes their way to the customer’s home. It is revealed that part of their strategy is to only steal things that are unlikely to be missed, thereby reducing the chance of being linked to the crime.
The story is revealed subtly through character interactions, giving it a nice flow that isn’t forced. In a lot of ways, they are able to make this insane circumstance seem quite believable. We’re shown pieces of the team’s life beyond their roles as burglars or valets and this gives us a wider sense of what motivates them. The antagonist of this story is only at first revealed to us through the eyes and experience of the protagonist. As the story moves forward, we’re given more pieces of the antagonist, who, in the case of this story, is also the villain.
The thieving duo sees their entire operation fall apart one fateful night when they target a customer who appears to be any ordinary narcissistic, rich, jerk (Cale, played by David Tennant). After breaking into his top of the line smart home, Sean (played by Robert Sheehan) learns that he’s actually invaded the home of a highly sophisticated serial killer with unlimited means.
His first clue: the girl chained to the floor in the office.
His second: the elaborate kill room just off the garage.
Forced to leave the chained girl behind, Sean becomes overwrought with guilt and solely focused on making the situation right. The movie then becomes, essentially, the protagonist’s quest for redemption, where the assumed villain becomes the hero.
That being said, even as an assumed bad guy, he’s very identifiable and likable. He and his accomplice/best friend are both good guys at heart, which makes them the kind of bad guys you root for right off the bat. Even though you know they are scammers and thieves, you still have more respect for them on some basic level than you do for the true villain of the story, even before you know he’s a psychopath. So, I think the talents behind this movie do a good job of connecting the audience with the characters in the story.
The suspense building, which is an integral component of this type of film and essential for any well made thriller, I think is pulled off really well. It’s not slow moving, just takes its time with regard to intensity. There are several heart pounding moments when you just know something is about to go horribly wrong. And there are at least three really good jump scare moments. Mind you, the “jump scares” are executed well and don’t seem cheap or cheesy at all. The context of the story, after all, demands a few good jump scares – regardless. I also really enjoy this story’s focus on the psychological aspects of character evolution.
Although the more recent market of the movie genre in which this film resides is often overwrought with unfair disadvantages and bad guys coming out on top, this one does what they should all do – it gives us hope that even those in need of redeeming can overcome the worst possible set of circumstances. It’s not all roses, there are plenty of thorns to remind us how very real evil things can be. But it’s definitely worth watching as it won’t leave you scarred for having given it your attention and instead will leave you with a feeling of triumph.
I thought this movie was so good, that I added it to one of my IMDB Movie Lists. See –> Psychological Thrillers List
Interesting to Note:
You may recognize David Tennant, who plays the villain Cale Erendreich, from his role in the 2005 Dr. Who series. or as Peter Vincent in the 2011 remake of Fright Night. He also played Barty Crouch Junior in the 2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.
Carlito Olivero, the Latino actor who plays the best friend and partner, Derek, in Bad Samaritan, will also appear in the upcoming 2019 action film entitled Blood Heist, starring James Franco. As a big James Franco fan, I am looking forward to this one.