'Bad Samaritan' a not-so-bad, over-the-top thriller

  • Sleazy Oregon billionaire Cale Erendreich (David Tennant) channels Norman Bates by way of Charlie Sheen in the deliciously cheesy thriller "Bad Samaritan."

    Sleazy Oregon billionaire Cale Erendreich (David Tennant) channels Norman Bates by way of Charlie Sheen in the deliciously cheesy thriller "Bad Samaritan." Courtesy of Electric Entertainment

Posted5/3/2018 6:00 AM

"Bad Samaritan" - ★ ★

An overwhelmingly powerful conscience emerges as the true star of the deliciously cheesy, over-the-top thriller "Bad Samaritan."


Unlike the biblical Samaritan who had nothing to lose by selflessly helping a beaten traveler, a two-bit Portland, Oregon, Irish hood named Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) discovers that doing the righteous thing might be damaging, if not fatal, to practically everyone he knows.

Falco and his pal Derek Sandoval (Carlito Olivero), in cahoots with the owner of Nino's Restaurant, work as valet parking attendants.

While unsuspecting guests dine, one of them hops in the cars and drives straight to the diners' houses (using the GPS home locations), snatches up valuables and quickly returns to the restaurant. Easy-peezey.

Brandon Boyce's screenplay ignites the booster rockets at the 20-minute mark when sleazy billionaire Cale Erendreich (David Tennant, the 10th "Doctor Who" himself) pulls up in an obnoxiously roaring Maserati.

Falco's big score dreams get checked when he arrives at Erendreich's lavish, high-tech bachelor pad. In one room he finds saws and other equipment you might see in a butcher shop. In a locked room he makes a jump-scare discovery: a bloodied young woman (Kerry Condon) gagged and chained to a chair.

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Seized by a noble notion, Falco tries to free her, but dashes from the house when its owner begins checking each room on his smartphone's security camera app.

"I've got to do the right thing!" Falco announces to his pal Sandoval. He must save this damsel.

But the Portland cops don't believe the petty thief with a rap sheet. Especially when a search of Erendreich's house reveals nothing nefarious.

What Alfred Hitchcock (or his disciple Brian DePalma) could have done with this cat-and-mouse "Silence of the Lambs"-lite material boggles the brain.

Director Dean Devlin, who gave us the ludicrously silly weather disaster drama "Geostorm," can't boggle, but he races over logic lapses with such speed that the frequent surprises, power-shifts and reversals easily take up the credibility slack.


Irish actor Sheehan executes his role as an out-of-his-class hero with aplomb, although he's operating in a story that supplies a humongous amount of Oregon scenery for British actor Tennant to chew, and he gorges himself on it with unbridled gusto.

Resembling a cross between Norman Bates and Charlie Sheen on a bender, Tennant tunes into the movie's melodramatic excesses better than his co-stars. (If Tennant wore a mustache, he probably wouldn't twirl it, but we'd see him thinking about it.)

David Connell's impressive, widescreen cinematography keeps our eyeballs occupied with kinetic, well-framed compositions, although Joseph LoDuca's crushing suspense score overpowers a climactic, snow-dusted showdown with distracting notes.

If nothing else, "Bad Samaritan" might be just enough of a horror film to give us pause every time we toss our car keys to a parking attendant.

• • •

Starring: David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, Kerry Condon

Directed by: Dean Devlin

Other: An Electric Entertainment release. Rated R for drug use, brief nudity, language, violence. 111 minutes

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