Movie ReviewsMovies

No Good Deed

Idris Elba is single-handedly attempting to bring back the erotic thrillers of the early 1990s (remember movies like Final Analysis, Sliver, Jade and Color of Night, which became popular after Basic Instinct broke big?) but without the R-rated adultness. Obsessed had its campy moments as it pitted Beyonce against crazy Ali Larter. Elba’s latest thriller is not as much fun as Obsessed, though it has its chilly moments, thanks to his sharp turn as a psychotic, escaped convict, Colin Evans. Colin is a bad dude (with a bad accent), who murders his ex before talking his way into the home of former prosecutor and current stay-at-home mom, Terri (Taraji P. Henson). Feeling neglected by her husband, Jeffrey (Henry Simmons), Terri enjoys some mild flirtation with this handsome stranger, who just has to take his shirt off in her kitchen. But the audience knows what Colin is up to, and pretty soon Terri is running from obvious hiding place to obvious hiding place. Her two kids do not make escaping from a madman any easier. Unfortunately, the movie hampers its own exploitative tendencies with its PG-13 blandness. For all of Colin’s menace, the neutered nature of the movie keeps him from ever being truly terrifying. The movie could have ventured into Funny Games-ish torture territory with its “bad guy in the house” premise or extended the duo’s kind of courtship. Instead,it takes a detour into the slasher genre with a last act during which Terri is stalked by the seemingly un-killable Colin. She stabs him twice and repeatedly pummels him in the head, yet he keeps on ticking. Elba’s size makes him a formidable foe, but his charm is what sets apart the movie’s more intriguing first act. Once he kills Terri’s BFF, Meg (Leslie Bibb), the fun is done, though. Strangely, the movie does not even use Terri’s kids to up the tension. How do you have an infant in a thriller and not stage a hiding scene in which the agitated baby’s cries threaten to give the heroine away? Shame on you, screenwriter Aimee Lagos. While No Good Deed shows some initial promise, it climaxes like a boring, derivative B-movie.