Bad Samaritan (12A) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Dean Devlin, USA, 2018, 108 mins

Cast:  David Tennant, Robert Sheehan

Review by Carol Allen


Almost as puzzling as the title, is the question of why director Dean Devlin decided to cast a Scotsman and an Irishman in this very American piece of horror schlock.

David Tennant and Robert Sheehan do however make it quite watchable at times.

The puppy eyed and rather endearing Sheehan plays Sean, a small time crook, who uses his job as a parking valet at a restaurant as cover for a scam to rob the well heeled customers, using the victim’s GPS car system to go their home, rob them and be back before they’ve finished dinner.

Sean comes adrift though, when arrogant, creepy Cale Erendreich (Tennant) rolls up in his Maserati, as while robbing Erendreich’s expensively minimalist home he comes across a young woman (Kerry Condon), chained and gagged in a locked room and the nearby a garage fully equipped with torture instruments, hinting at what will be her fate. Overcome with an attack of morality, Sean goes to the police but predictably in this type of story, they don’t believe him.  Erendreich meanwhile has sussed what Sean is up to and will go to extreme lengths to get his violent and sadistic revenge.

Tennant perhaps took on the role hoping for a Silence of the Lambs type impact but despite the actor’s best efforts, Erendreich is no Hannibal Lector. Tennant plays the role to the hilt with a somewhat dodgy American accent and manages to convince us for most of the time and even make us jump occasionally, despite the predictable nature of much of the story and its frequent lack of tension.  The reasons why he is a sadistic psycho are hinted at obliquely throughout the film – it’s something to do with horses – but the explanation, when it comes, is a piece of glib and unconvincing, half baked psychology.

The film leans heavily on contemporary technology for much of its plotting and on sadistic violence for much of its impact, while the final confrontation between the protagonists is so over the top it is almost laughable.  Fans of the genre may well like it though and Tennant fans may enjoy seeing Dr Who as a psycho.