Review: Bad Samaritan

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: A restaurant valet (Robert Sheehan), who moonlights as a petty thief, breaks into the home of a rich client (David Tennant), only to discover that the man is holding a young woman captive.

REVIEW: BAD SAMARITAN is director Dean Devlin’s follow-up to his troubled GEOSTORM, ditching the high gloss pyrotechnics of that event film, and opting for a lower-key thriller that’s more in line with one he produced years ago, CELLULAR. While probably too low-key to really catch on in the way indie distributor Electric Entertainment hopes (they’re giving it a fairly wide release), BAD SAMARITAN, while still probably something that would have been better served by a VOD release, deserves praise by opting for a Hitchcockian vibe rather than a Blumhouse one.

It helps that the casting is just right, with Robert Sheehan (who had a role in GEOSTORM) a likable hero, even if he’s a low-rent crook. Him and his buddy, Derek (Carlito Olivero) have a scam going where they high-tail it to the homes of the people they park for and steal small things that won’t be noticed, like gift cards. When Tennant’s yuppie shows up in a Maserati, they figure he’s a perfect mark, but when Sheehan’s Sean makes it to his home, he finds Kerry Condon’s Katie bound and gagged. Unforgivably, he leaves her out of a fear of being busted, but it only takes a second for him to realize his mistake, only for it to be too late.

In the more typical, lower rent version, he would have been somehow trapped in Tennant’s home, and it would have been a contained quickie. In a smart twist, his life is never in immediate jeopardy, he just can’t convince anyone, from the cops to the FBI, that his story is true – thanks to his wily opponent. This gives it a bit of a STRANGERS ON A TRAIN vibe, especially when Tennant starts ripping his life apart, leaking nude photos Sean took of his girlfriend online, framing his mom, and orchestrating a violent accident.

Sheehan is sympathetic throughout, in that, despite a huge lapse of courage, he tries to do the right thing. Devlin also spends a lot of time with Condon, as she struggles to stay alive as Tennant moves her around and toys with her. Probably the best reason to see this though is Tennant himself, who chews scenery in a role not far removed from his turn in “Jessica Jones”.

Formerly an endearing presence, that Tennant has been so able to turn his appeal on a dime and inhabit such corrosive figures is a testament to his range – which has reached far beyond “Doctor Who”, into “Broadchurch” and more. This is a good vehicle for him, even if the fact that he’s so easily able to fool the cops and get away with his misdeeds gets a bit hard to swallow (at close to two hours, it also runs a shade too long).

While BAD SAMARITAN is probably too tame to really appeal to horror audiences (it’s definitely more of a thriller), and lacking a marketable hook, once this one makes its way to VOD/streaming, it makes for solid viewing. It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent little sleeper, and better than you’d think given how little buzz there’s been for it in the genre community.

Bad Samaritan



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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.