No Good Script
Some credit is due to No Good Deed for being such a feisty “could be you” film. So much of the movie is doused in paranoia regarding the scenario – a shadowy, wicked Idris Elba meandering around a home in obvious stalker/killer mode while Taraji P. Henson stands oblivious.
Certainly, the movie is not smart. It’s outright stupid. Dumb characters do dumb things like fleeing upstairs, leaving front doors unlocked, or even the set up – letting Elba’s suspicious character into the home in the middle of a torrential rain.
Nothing good has ever happened on such a night.
This one is on all Elba, towering and menacing as he leers over his potential victim. His gnarly psychopathic mean streak is unconscionable, a vicious and hopelessly violent fire meant to instill fear while revealing an unclear end game based on lousy contrivances.
The stormy night, a car crash, strangers at the door who need a phone; this isn’t so much a script as it is a book on commonplace themes.
At some 80 or so odd minutes, No Good Deed is pureed down to the bones of a pedestrian script. Exposition is fired like a rocket during studio copyrights and dialog exchanges are informational for the audience rather than each character. No one speaks particularly natural in this thriller.
It’s all to build into a finale of emotions and outbursts, the type where the villain is apparently invulnerable when struck by a barrage of piercing metal objects. He rises each time like a possessed slasher killer, further lowering his victim’s chance of survival. That’s not tension; it’s predictability.
No Good Deed is a series of broad cliches. The stormy night, a car crash, strangers at the door who need a phone; this isn’t so much a script as it is a book on commonplace themes. Dressings are few. Some angst over the weakness of justice systems and a bit of feminist fire are ultimately menial. Others have done it better than No Good Deed anyway. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Mostly taking place under darkened storm clouds, No Good Deed has limited contrast. It is as if a gray filter was stuck on the lens to enhance the dreary nature, a modern day for night effect of sorts. Light sources are dulled and impact is middling as is underexposed. Depth is instantaneously soured for effect.
Tonal qualities dictate image density, keeping things further muted. Color is likewise strangled with limited force or saturation. The only assist are black levels which absolutely adore the Michael Barrett’s obscuring cinematography. Keeping Elba in shadows is central to what No Good Deed wants, turning his character from creepy to gentleman with a twist of the lighting.
Resolution eventually steps in to rescue the dour mood, offering sharpness and clean fidelity. While a bit on the noisy end of the spectrum, there are few intrusions to the images themselves outside of mild background interference. Beginning shots during a parole hearing indicate the potential for mid-range flatness – seemingly caused by the encode – but this issue disappears and comes under control.
This may not be reference, yet as the night drags on and the dark begins to swell deeper into the interiors No Good Deed keeps the black levels impenetrably heavy. Subtle splashes of light are almost a reprieve. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
While never a mix wandering through the soundfield during action, the presence of gunfire is ferocious. Dynamic range is broad, adding to the terror of each fired round whether they pass through the rears/stereos or not.
This becomes a mix of rain and thunder. Both are persistent. The continuing storm hammers the home to continually pipe in ambiance from pinged windows or the roof. A few claps during a short car ride are especially vibrant.
In terms of narrative importance, Elba experiences a sort of black out prior to snapping, sending voices swirling into random channels. A touch of low end humming adds the dread. Pedestrian or otherwise, such an effect works. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Making of Thriller is bonus number one, 12-minutes of standard behind-the-scenes fluff filling in the story of No Good Deed’s creation. Thrill of a Good Fight details methods, actors, and brawling in explaining what it takes to create a successful on screen rumble. Good Samaritan is the final extra, a short look at Terry which tries to fill in a number of logic gaps. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.