written by Brandon Boyce
directed by Dean Devlin
by Walter Chaw One-time Roland Emmerich beard Dean Devlin drops Bad Samaritan, a slick, old-school genre exercise in the mold of stuff like Bad Influence, Malice, and maybe a little of the Tom Holland Fright Night starring one of the Dr. Whos as a serial-killing millionaire scumbag. It's high camp, of course, played to the rafters by David Tennant as Cale, the murderer-cum-Richie Rich with not only a torture dungeon, but also a summer torture cabin to which he spirits poor Katie (Kerry Condon), who assures that she's cleaned herself using the proper soaps, lotions, and circular motions. I think it's meant to be hysterical. I hope so, anyway, because I laughed a lot. Robert Sheehan's heroic stoner Sean Falco stumbles on one of Cale's OCD murder palaces, runs away, and then spends the rest of the film trying to make amends by getting people to believe that this unbelievably reptilian asshole sociopath is also a psychopath. It's honestly not a stretch and defeats much of whatever tension Bad Samaritan intends to build: Cale is obviously a killer; Sean is obviously telling the truth. That a parade of cops and detectives can't tell that Cale is wired like a shithouse rat says no good things about these cops and detectives. Devlin piles on the useless jump-scares in the first half of the film, unconvincing resolution action scenes in the second, and through it all maintains the warm buzz of familiar thriller garbage just like this that I cut my teeth on as a VHS junkie. It's good that way. That very specific way. I kind of want to figure out how to make a joke of Cale's childhood trauma involving beating a dead horse, but sufficed to say it's worth it for the punchline, and to spend two hours watching Tennant act like Herbert West.