The design is dark and gloomy, while not providing a glimpse of brightness throughout our time in Portland, Oregon. The psychopathic Cale’s belongings are the slickest design choices the film beholds pertaining to the initial home being invaded, his expensive vehicle, and his odd secondary land in the woods. The slight advancements in facial makeup after a series of devious misfortunes come crashing down around Sean Falco is expertly applied to every scene with continuity.
I had immensely high hopes for this horror/thriller starring the always fantastic David Tennant, while some of my hopes wavered after discovering the Geostorm director was the one at the helm. My initial reactions to the trailer, such as towards Tennant’s performance, stayed true to expectations, yet the film slowly fell apart with odd pacing issues throughout. However, near the halfway mark it was all brought back together again for the energetic conclusion.
After Dean Devlin’s directorial debut of Geostorm last year, I was automatically worried about this film and the involvement of Tennant. While immensely better than last years disastrous Geostorm, Bad Samaritan struggles to be an original piece of entertainment, with confused themes and odd pacing of certain crucial events happening in the film. Devlin provides a sense of realism with his vision. Although it is confused a majority of the time, it does exert a dark and gritty environment for our characters to play their parts in.
Bad Samaritan follows a pair of burglars who one of which stumbles upon a woman being held captive in a home that they were intending to rob. Cale Erendreich (Tennant) is the owner of that particular home and as he arrives home from his reservation to check on his captive, he realizes that someone has been inside and starts to seek revenge on those who have invaded. As he finds out who it was, due to a police complaint, he begins to secretly destroy this man’s life from the inside out. The film suffers from poor pacing decisions and the occasional confusing plot device - mainly due to the torture that Sean (the burglar) endures being rushed upon the audience and given little time to breathe. Beyond this, the intense performance from Tennant fortunately outweighs the generic plot that surrounds the characters’ actions.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
David Tennant’s Cale Erendreich is terrifying. Tennant’s performance is fantastic, while providing fans of Tennant’s previous work something brand new from the actor. Robert Sheehan plays Sean, the main character going out of his way to try and save a girl held hostage by the psychopathic Cale. He is a strong leading man, and really carries the film with him when Tennant isn't on screen. Beyond these two, the rest of the cast is lacking, feeling tacked on and in need of further screen time, or development at the very least. Later in the film, certain characters appear in the storyline and provide soap-opera esque performances to this otherwise well acted film - these particular characters (mainly the authorities) really bring the film’s quality down.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Composer Joseph LoDuca created a score for Bad Samaritan that for the majority of the runtime just blends into the background. No emotions are ever created from the music being performed, beyond a moment or two of suspense, although that is majorly assisted by relatively decent direction on top of the average score. The score, just like the film, is confused with its identity; it’s both simple and extensive, yet never truly shines on the genres being displayed on screen. The score feels like background music and is in fact just that, as it does not have any redeemable qualities to be listened to outside of the film itself. It works occasionally, and that is the main reason why it doesn’t get the lowest score. On these occasions, it only works in the most tense moments which are already being helped by Devlin.
Bad Samaritan is a flawed thriller that is fueled by hurried horror twists. The film suffers from a generic backdrop, surrounded by an endless supply of generic background characters, but succeeds with the villain and the main lead. Rushed plot devices and murderous attempts along the film’s short runtime make the film feel oddly paced , which creates a story that functions but is held back by it’s nonexclusive themes. Fans of Tennant will be happy enough with the end product, but for those who want something more than just a good performance by the villain will be sorely disappointed with the final result.