BAD SAMARITAN — Review by Susan Granger

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I suspect most people are interested in this psychological thriller because it stars Scottish actor David Tennant, best known as a former “Doctor Who.” Tennant plays wealthy, psychopathic Cale Erendreich who gets his jollies by kidnapping and torturing women. In a flashback sequence, viewers witness a childhood trauma with a wild horse which, supposedly, serves to explain his sadistic fetish for bridles and bondage. Continue reading…

In the meantime, struggling Irish photographer Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) and his partner, Derek Sandoval (Carlito Olivero), work as valet parkers at a Portland, Oregon, restaurant. That’s their ‘cover.’ Actually, they’re small-time burglars.

When an affluent customer arrives for dinner, one keeps an eye on the patron while the other, instead of parking the car, uses its GPS to find the owner’s home and rob it of small-but-valuable items that they can quickly re-sell, returning the car to the restaurant as its unsuspecting owner pays his check. It’s a slick scam.

Complications arise when Cale leaves his ostentatious Maserati in their hands. While exploring his minimalist mansion, Sean finds Katie (Kerry Condon), a chained captive who has been gagged and beaten. Although he promises to return to rescue her, that’s easier said than done.

When Sean calls the police and FBI with an anonymous tip, they arrive and find nothing. But spiteful, serial killer Cale, thanks to his high-tech surveillance equipment, is onto Sean. Part of his revenge involves downloading and texting a semi-nude photo of Sean’s girl-friend (Jacqueline Byers), which causes her to dump him.

Working from a screenplay by Brandon Boyce (“Apt Pupil”), which presents an intriguing set-up but not much of a story, director Dean Devlin’s (“Geostorm”) lack of coherency disappoints. Like – why should we care about Sean’s romantic entanglements when Katie’s life is in jeopardy?

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Bad Samaritan” is a suspenseful, yet shallow 3, veering into torture porn territory.

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