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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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.