Sometimes getting two really good actors to take on a rather run of the mill script can raise the whole thing to new levels. There must have been hope No Good Deed could do the same, but it doesn’t really work.
Colin (Idris Elba) is a very bad man, who police believe is a serial murderer but who they’ve only managed to lock up for manslaughter. After a parole hearing he escapes custody and heads for the house of his girlfriend, whom he promptly kills (just in case we were wondering just how bad he is).
He then ends up on the doorstep of wife and mother Terry (Taraji P. Henson) after having car trouble. After some initial suspicion she invites him in out of the rain to wait for a tow truck. As you might have suspected things don’t go smoothly, and following a little early flirtation things start to get increasingly dangerous, with Terry slowly realising she’s got a complete nutcase in the house.
As many have already suggested, it’s difficult to tell what drew such talent as Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson and Luther director Sam Miller to No Good Deed. It’s the sort of cookie-cutter script that we see hundreds of times every year being released straight-to-DVD, but not normally which such good actors involved – and there’s very little about it that would have made it much better. Everyone puts in their all and it’s obvious Elba and Miller have spent a lot of time trying to give their serial murderer both charm and depth, but it doesn’t really work (not least because it’s difficult to take a killer called Colin seriously).
There are a couple extremely good sequences, with one in particular that involves Henson being unable to tell the police what’s happening being extremely tense (if also extremely clichéd). However the biggest feeling you’ll having watching No Good Deed is that everyone involved should be working on far better material than this, as they’ve got what it takes to make something brilliant.
Oh, and you’ll also learn that if anyone called Colin knocks on you door saying they need help, you should slam the door in their face.
It’s one of my laws of the film world is that if a DVD says on the cover ‘From the producer(s) of…’, the movie that’s on that DVD is going to be rubbish. That’s particularly true here where the only thing they can think of to boast about No Good Deed is that it’s from the producer of Obsessed, a 2009 movie starring Elba and Beyoncé that few people remember and which has an abysmal 4.9/10 rating on IMDB. Is that really something you want to call attention to?
Overall Verdict: The script runs through every cliché and hackneyed moment that a home invasion thriller has ever thrown up, and does it in a slightly dull fashion. Elba and Henson do their absolute best and give decent performances but they’re got virtually nothing to work with.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac