Film Review: BAD SAMARITAN (USA 2017) ***

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Bad Samaritan Poster

A pair of burglars stumble upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob.


Dean Devlin


Brandon Boyce (screenplay)


The film BAD SAMARITAN centres on young Sean Falco (Robert Sheedan), the bad Samaritan of the title who leaves a kidnapped woman in the house he is robbing only to feel guilty after and deciding to help her.  The problem is the kidnapper.  The kidnapper is a filthy rich psycho who has made it his goal to destroy Sean’s life.  And so the story goes in this occasionally scary horror thriller.

The film opens with Sean Falco and his best friend Derek Sandoval (Carlito Olivero) working as parking valets for a high end Italian restaurant.  They have the tech ability of finding the information from the cars they park and to use the information to rob the houses of these clients.  This is not the first film based on this premise.  The recent Canadian drama BOOST turned the scenario into the young robber’s coming-of-rites passage turing BOOST to become one of the Best Canadian debut features of the year.  BAD SAMARITAN takes a different route as a horror thriller with the victim becoming the predator in what essentially is a slasher horror flick.  But as a slasher flick, Devlin’s film succeeds and delivers quite a few jump out of your seat genuine scares.  The film also plays to like a abduction thriller similar to HOUSE and SPLIT.  Robert Sheehan is sufficiently apt in the title role of the young lead, though the film never explains the character’s strong Irish accent.

The success of a thriller or action film often depends largely on the effectiveness of the villain.  As in the recent AVENGERS INFINITY WAR that had an excellent villain in the form of Josh Brolin’s Thanos, BAD SAMARITAN’s bad guy is so evil that the entire audience will be at the point of cheering aloud when he gets his comeuppance at the end.  Full credit to David Tennant as the evil beyond comparison Cale Erendreich, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Anthony Perkins.  This is especially apparent in the shower scene (director Deviln’s clever nod to Hitchcock’s PSYCHO) when Cale shows up in Sean’s residence while he is taking a shower.  Audiences should be pleased too at spotting a few other Hitchcock references.

The film contains a brief episode showing Sean with his parents.  Both his father followed by his mother have lost their jobs, from Cale’s orchestration to punish Sean.  The parents move to a hotel but nothing more is seen of them.

Devlin devices a few brilliant suspenseful set-ups, the best of these is the one that has Sean lying low in his car parked outside the villain’s house while the villain sees his vehicle and walks towards it.  A few false alarms allow the audience to jump out of their seats proving that it is fun to be scared in a movie.  The film’s climax is well executed with the suspense and thrills escalating to a high point.

The film suffers from a weird ending (not revealed in the review) desperate to contain a twist in the story.  Other than that, BAD SAMARITAN is a solid scary horror thriller that comes recommended.


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