I knew very little about Bad Samaritan before I went into the theater. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about anything. Once I saw David Tennant walk on-screen, I actually vaguely remembered seeing a trailer once for this movie, and I thought, oh, yeah.
That was this movie. It was an “oh yeah.”
It wasn’t horrid. It wasn’t good. It existed in-between. It felt like a typical low budget thriller where the hook of the movie was David Tennant doing his best over-the-top psycho imitation.
Small time thief with a heart of gold Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) used his position as a valet for an Italian restaurant, with his friend Derek (Carlito Olivero), to sneak customers cars and rob their houses while they eat. However, when he arrives at the house of customer Cale Erendreich (David Tennant), he finds more than he was expecting. There in his office is a woman (Kerry Condon) chained up and leather-strapped to a chair. After an unsuccessful attempt to free her, Sean has to get the car back before Cale discovers what has happened. Filled with guilt over leaving her behind, Sean tries to make it right by going to the police.
Let’s start with what I liked about the film. Robert Sheehan was a fresh face that I was able to relate to as he struggled to try and get someone to help him stop this killer. I liked Sheehan and thought he gave a very solid and charming performance here for what it was worth. I also think the character did things that made sense and I never thought about how stupid some of his choices were and that helps in this type of movie.
David Tennant is his usually strong self, really taking this character over-the-top. I believed that he was a crazy man who was obsessed with order and chaos, especially as the person in control of both of those. However, the writing on the character of Cale Erendreich was too implausible for me. He was that type of character who always is one step ahead of everyone and somehow is able to take each twist as if he were expecting it. So while I did enjoy the excessive nature of the character, I found the ludicrous things that happen to be stretching the possible.
However, the plot and the plot contrivances are so tough to swallow that the film loses credibility. For example, Cale realizes almost immediately once he returned home that someone had broken into the house, and he does so with the barest of clues. Then, he is able to remove all signs of the woman and his serial killer nature before the police arrive. The time frame of this seems to deny the possibility of this man being able to clear his home of all manner of evidence in a remarkably minimal period. I had trouble with that immediately.
And then…Cale Erendreich, serial killer or Internet troll? When part of his attempt to break Sean includes posting fake posts on Facebook and cyberbullying his girlfriend, some of the juice gets taken out of the character.
I was entertained enough by the film, especially since I came into it with zero expectations, but it is hardly a good film. It is not the worst way to spend a lazy afternoon or evening with some time to kill, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it.