When you’re stressed out with too many school readings to finish, on top of too many just-for-the-fun-of-it readings, and it’s becoming clear that you’ve bitten off way more than you can chew, the only thing to do is stop, step back, and stick your head in the sand. And here, readers, “stick your head in the sand” means pick out yet another film from Idris Elba’s filmography and forget yourself and your anxieties for an hour and half or so.
Today’s lucky winner is: No Good Deed. It’s the domestic thriller in which stay-at-home mom, Terri (Taraji P. Henson), unwittingly lets a stranger into her home to use the phone following a mishap with his car. Little does she know that this stranger is actually, Colin Evans (Idris Elba), a convict who has recently escaped prison and always been off his rocker.
Anyway, here be spoilers.
The movie starts off with Colin Evans being transported in a police van to the scene of his parole. Though he has been convicted of manslaughter of five young girls, he tells the court that he has turned over a new leaf.
He’s intelligent, and well-spoken, and the more he speaks, the more you realize there’s cunning hiding there. It’s clear there’s a whole lot more going on under the surface. The court doesn’t buy his new act, though, and denies him parole which only leads to a creepy stare down from Evans that must surely have those men soiling their pants.
Evans, however, doesn’t plan on waiting another five years. Instead, he ends up killing the two policemen transporting him, and takes off in the van.
Meanwhile, Terri Granger is busy looking after her two kids, and keeping up with the remodelling of her house.
Her husband, who is apparently always working, and only seems to maintain a vague interest in their home life, comes home only to leave again on a trip to see his father. He’s a little bit detached, and more than a little assholish. I don’t trust him too much.
To cheer the obviously downcast Terri, her friend Meg decides that they’re going to have a girl’s night! Which will apparently involve wine, and… that’s it.
We’re back to Colin, who’s looking disturbing as he creeps on a woman at a cafe. It turns out she’s his old girlfriend, Alexis. He surprises her at her home, wanting to know why she hasn’t been keeping in touch, who her new boyfriend is, etc. etc. He yo-yos between charming and slightly deranged, and it’s kind of terrifying. Alexis is clearly scared for her life, but tries to use her wits and not to set him off. It doesn’t exactly work because he ends up killing her too.
On the way back, Evans’ van crashes and he decides to knock on Terri’s door to ask to borrow the phone. Terri cautiously agrees, all too aware that she is home alone with the kids, but after seeing the heavy downpour, she softens and invites him in for a cup of tea. The whole time I’m going “DON’T. DO IT.” but Evans, much like the vampire, has been given the invitation to step over the threshold.
DUN DUN DUN.
At this point, Elba plays Evans so charmingly, and his chemistry with Henson is spot on that I’m confused for a sec. Am I watching a rom-com or a thriller? He’s all caring and attentive, and then stands around with wet shirt sticking to him, and there’s clearly some tension.
At this point, Meg arrives with the much promised wine. She, of course, is very single, and very smitten with Evans. When Terri goes off to see to the kids, Meg gets to chat with Evans, and fearing her growing suspicions Evans hits her over the head with a shovel. At this point, Evans go-to-solution is to just take out anyone who stands in his way. Frankly, it doesn’t seem very strategic, and if he’s going to leave dead bodies in his wake, it’s not going to be difficult for the police to track him down.
Terri returns and is confused when Evans tells her that Meg has to run off. Terri’s no fool, and after noticing Meg’s umbrella is still in the stand she realizes that something’s wrong. She runs to the kitchen to ring the police, but discovers that the phone line has been cut! Of course! And why doesn’t Terri have her cell on her at all times, like every other 21st century being?
After a long and drawn-out tussle that takes place through the house, with winning moves from both parties, (and yes! There are children involved! I was quite scared for them actually), and Terri almost completes a 911 call, Evans takes back the upper hand, and forces her to get into her car with the kids and drive.
And miracle of miracles, a police car ends up driving past, and Terri flashes her lights at it. But, of course, we were hoping for too much, because after a short interrogation during which Terri can’t really reveal much, because after all, the psycho is in the car with her children, said psycho ends up shooting the police officer. That’s five and counting.
Evans makes Terri drive to his old girlfriend’s house. Terri asks him why he’s doing this, and he goes “You’ll find out.” So there’s a mystery involved? And we’re finding this out bout two thirds into the film?
Terri, of course, freaks the hell out when she sees Alexis’s dead body. While Evans is distracted with a fallen tree and the car alarm going off, she runs off to find the first aid kit. That’s when Alexis’ cell rings, which Terri answers.
And surprise, surprise! It’s Jeffrey. That two-timing jerk. Terri realizes he’s been having an affair with Alexis, and that Evans’ attack on Terri isn’t spontaneous, but pre-calculated revenge. After ordering her slimy husband to call the police, Terri takes matters into her own hands, hides her kids, and manages to ambush Evans when he comes back into the house. And she kills that sucker.
After that, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Because not only has that rogue convict been stopped, but Terri now knows that her husband is the actual slimeball that I expected him to be. After a solid punch to his face, Terri takes the kids and leaves, and we cut to … a future Terri with her kids in a new house, who is best friendless, but also cheating husbandless, and predatorless, aka, in a pretty good position.
Honourable mentions go to Terri punching Jeffrey in the face: