Terri (Taraji P. Henson) is a devoted wife and mother of two, living an ideal suburban life in Atlanta when Colin (Idris Elba), a charming but dangerous escaped convict, shows up at her door claiming car trouble. Terri offers her phone to help him but soon learns that no good deed goes unpunished as she finds herself fighting for survival when he invades her home and terrorizes her family.
‘Terrifying’ is the perfect way to describe this film. Feeling almost like an animal wildlife documentary about predators and prey, the film gives us a lead character that is the villain, and we have to decide who we root for. Against dominant opinion, I liked this film, and give it three out of five stars.
No Good Deed begins with Colin Evans (played by the brilliant Idris Elba). He is a killer who is up for parole, but is refused. While being transported under guard, he lashes out, and escapes. It is then that he turns up at Terri’s door. it is raining, it is night-time, and she is alone in the large house with her young daughter. What begins as a good deed, quickly becomes a living nightmare, as Colin makes her into his next victim. Will Terri survive the night, or is Colin just beginning?
The story of No Good Deed was interesting. I love that the lead character is a villain, and that it runs for just under an hour and a half. This latter element was perfect, as the story didn’t stretch out, and it let the characters drive the action.
The most endearing element of these characters - particularly the lead female Terri (played by Taraji P Henson) - was that their actions were realistic. Unlike what is seen in most horrors and thrillers, you will not find yourself screaming at the characters, frustrated as they allow themselves to walk into obviously ruinous situations. For the most part, their actions were logical, and you find you become oddly attached to them, even the homicidal Colin (Idris Elba).
Despite the character’s unnerving actions, the charming Idris Elba did a fantastic job playing him. Over the last few years, he has shown he is capable of playing a range of characters, and it would be interesting to see him go from this, to James Bond.
The film was directed by Sam Miller, who has done television show directing, but this was his first feature film. He got lucky with the great cast, and he seems to know what he is doing.
As an aspiring screenwriter, I love the fact that this film was written by a female - Aimee Lagos. This is technically her second feature film, but the first to be appreciated internationally. She has created real-life characters, and has fixed some of the holes thriller films usually have.
With a film of this genre, it is important for the cuts to be short and sharp. This film did it excellently.
Unfortunately, critic reviews and audience responses haven’t been overly positive. Audiences have reacted more positively, but critiques still focus on its lack of complexity in the story. The acting is an element no one seems to have any issues with, and it all seems to come down to is whether you want an intense thriller, or a film that is just fun and enjoyable.
Overall, I think it is a good film, and would definitely recommend it.