Review of No Good Deed by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky 

No Good Deed is a B-movie thriller earning top dollars from all the social media hype.  The film, written by Aimee Lagos and directed by Sam Miller, tells the story of “Colin” (Idris Elba) a murderer denied parole who terrorizes the home of former D.A. mom, “Terri” (Taraji P. Henson).

Colin, a serial killer who murders prison guards to escape a Tennessee prison, shows up to his girlfriend Alexis’ (Kate Del Castillo) house to see she’s involved with another man. Blinded by rage, he murders her and drives his stolen car down a suburban road, crashing into a tree. If he murdered a prison guard, you’d think this maniac would be smart enough not to leave his crashed car in the middle of the road with the lights on. But no, the “malignant narcissist” Colin knocks on the door at the house of lawyer turned homemaker Terri, whose husband is conveniently away on a golf weekend with his father. Colin asks to be let into the house to use the phone and, despite her better judgment, she lets him in. But as the title suggests, no good deed goes unpunished.

The predictable chase ensues in typical suspense thriller fashion as Colin’s charms and good looks fail to hide his violent, murderous ways. Terri’s protective, maternal instincts kick in as Colin threatens to kidnap and terrorize not only her but her children. The film cuts between shots of them hitting each other over the head with household objects to shots of lightning and power outages, all leading to that plot twist so heavily advertised. On the heels of the Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice domestic abuse situation, Screen Gems canceled all press screenings of this home-invasion thriller at the 11th hour, explaining “The film contains a plot twist that we do not want to reveal, as it will affect the audience’s experience when they see the film in theaters.”

No Good Deed is inspired by a similar Broadway play The Desperate Hours, which starred Paul Newman. Humphrey Bogart was the lead in the first big-screen adaptation in 1995 and was remade with Anthony Hopkins in 1990.

Actors Elba and Henson are too good for the mediocre material given. From Elba’s past work on The Wire and Henson’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this film seems like a major step down for both. Not only was the film more of the same old, same old for a home-invasion thriller, it certainly didn’t live up to the hype and comes at a time when domestic violence has such a presence in real life, it’s not worth the money to see it on the big screen.

Review © Brigid K. Presecky (9/17/14)

Top Photo: Taraji P. Henson as “Terri”

Bottom Photo: Taraji P. Henson as “Terri” hiding from Idris Elba’s intruder “Colin”

Q: Does No Good Deed pass the Bechdel Test?

Not really. Terri has her best friend “Meg” (Leslie Bibb) but her role is to hit on Colin. The rest of the film is entirely centered on the murderous home invader.

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