No Good Deed Review
I save movies like "No Good Deed" specifically for October. This month houses one of my favorite holidays of the year and even though I love a good scare, I equally love watching an engaging thriller that the possession of intensity and suspense. This may have looked like your standard procedure thriller, but considering the film starred Idris Elba and Taraji P. Hensen, I thought I would give it a try.
"No Good Deed" features a eerily juicy set-up. Most of the film takes place in a house, and we have a devoted mom of two trapped in her house by a maniac. Of course, the mom is played by Hensen and Elba plays the maniac. The maniac's name is Colin, and he isn't your normal, one-dimensional stalker. There is a very specific reason why he chose the residents of Terri (Hensen) and I always love a thriller with smart bad guys. "No Good Deed" features a smart villain with a great set-up for extreme intensity and has some good ideas as far as storylines go. Alfred Hitchcock would have gone crazy for this type of set-up and character arc. The sad part is, Alfred Hitchcock would have made a much better movie than director Sam Miller did, in fact probably any director would have.
Let's not get into what went wrong quite yet. I will say that Idris Elba and Taraji P. Hensen give it their all. Who didn't expect this though? These are two highly appealing leads, and they chew on every piece of dialogue and every piece of scenery. It is a shame that these two unique talents are wasted on such a lame script. Even the secondary characters seem better than usual. Leslie Bibb plays Meg, Terri's best friend. At first, she may seem like the stereotypical best-friend-to-the-lead that is suppose to die in the middle of the movie. For the most part, Bibb plays up to that. I do like that she is at least somewhat smart as the film wears on and she does not commit to normal. One thing I did like was how the film presented us with normal thriller cliché's, then would pull back on those expectations at the very last minute.
So what went wrong? Well, despite having some incredibly smart characters, they have to behave in an non-human manner in order for us to have a movie. When Colin goes to Terri's door, demanding to use the phone to call a tow truck, she just willingly gives up the phone and begins to tell her whole story. Soon enough, Colin knows everything about Terri and her family in a matter of minutes. Nobody talks like that to strangers, and I mean nobody. Especially in a world of child predators and world-wide turbulence that we live in currently. Nobody would allow some stranger to waltz in their house and give up their phone for them to use. This just doesn't happen anymore, and it gives "No Good Deed" a glaring puzzlement that is hard to look past. Also Colin and Terri start playing cat-and-mouse around the house and it all looks so supremely preposterous. It is especially silly once we learn Colin's motives and just how smart and slick this film could have been.
Great performances in a movie are good to have, but they are not everything. The audience has to believe in the story being told. It is hard to believe in a story that falls over like a deck of cards over a couple simple character actions. Then adding in the normal clichés of the thriller genre after the damage has already been done is straining. It is always hard to watch something that could have been great fall into something stupid.
FINAL GRADE: C-