I See the Good in No Good Deed

Finally having finished my MA essay I was looking for a film to chill too when I came across No Good Deed by Sam Miller (who also happens to be the director of Luther and Flesh and Bone – the very two TV series I became addicted to while writing my first MA essay back in November / December!).

It also features Taraji P. Henson (Empire) and Idris Elba (Luther himself!)

Henson plays Terry: once a strong, career-driven woman is now a vulnerable, lonely housewife, craving attention from her dismissive husband while Elba plays Colin (who is described in the opening scenes of the film as a ‘malignant narcissist’ – which becomes very apparent with his first killing of the film), an escaped psychopathic convict. A storm has hit and Colin turns up on Terry’s doorstep claiming to have car trouble. Terry’s husband isn’t home and it’s just her and the kids in the house.

Now this film only received a 5.6 rating on IMDB…. Whyyyyyy???

Obviously there are the cliché thriller “no no’s”:

  • Running upstairs (will they never learn?)
  • Letting the charming stranger into your house – who DOESN’T HAVE A MOBILE PHONE??? (Nowadays anyone without Instagram is a suspicious character!)
  • Mouthing off to the killer once you’ve sussed him out telling him every single thing you are going to do to expose him;
  • Lines dripping with irony (Terry brags of being able to sniff out the criminals in Domestic Violence cases and yet fails to catch the scent of the psycho thirsty for her blood standing right in front of her…)
  • Numerous “is he dead? *scream* he rises and strikes again moments (which there are A LOT of in this film… You have to wonder whether Elba’s character fails to die because he’s either a reincarnation of the dude in Terminator 2 or it’s all that muscle acting as an armour?)

However regardless of this, for me this film deserves more than the low rating it receives on IMDB.

The slow unraveling of Colin’s menacing character and Terry’s realisation and devastation that she has made an extremely stupid mistake (why any woman with two small children would invite a handsome man in need of help into her home is beyond me!) creates a very strong narrative. Once we get to the big reveal at the end, you are hanging off the edge of your seat in anticipation and then leaning back in shock to catch your breath.

It is also SO refreshing to see a film with two strong black leads at the helm. The tension throughout the film between the two antagonists is incredibly palpable – from sexual chemistry to anger, fear and intimidation. The film tagline: “first he gets into your house, then he gets into your head” is the perfect summary for the type of character Colin is. The development of Terry from timid housewife to a woman reclaiming her strength and dignity for herself and her children is a very genuine characterization.

In the end you can’t help thinking that Terry fights so hard in the final battle not only for herself and her children but also to live long enough to give her good-for-nothing husband the wallop he deserves.

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