A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that No Good Deed is a thriller about women and children being stalked and terrorized by a male killer. There's a pervasive sense of terror, and men are shot with guns, while women are bashed with blunt objects. One woman bashes and stabs the killer several times, but it has no effect. Wounds are shown, but the blood isn't excessive. Dead bodies are also shown. Language is infrequent but includes "f--k" and "s--t." Characters undress, but nothing sensitive is shown; it's all kept below the frame. Characters also dress in sexy outfits, and one talks excessively about sex. Characters drink wine and beer socially, and in one scene, a character gulps his glass of wine. A character smokes a cigarette. The movie's treatment of female characters is potentially offensive, as is its negative depiction of African-American characters.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Colin Evans (Idris Elba) has served five years for manslaughter and is now up for parole, though many citizens are convinced that he was responsible for at least five cold-blooded murders. Sent back for another stretch, he escapes and tracks down an old girlfriend (Kate del Castillo) for some unfinished business. Driving though a huge rainstorm, Colin crashes into a tree and takes refuge in the home of Terri (Taraji P. Henson), whose husband has just left on a trip. At first, Colin seems charming, and Terri's friend Meg (Leslie Bibb) seems to like him, but then his behavior starts to grow more erratic, and Terri begins to fear for her and her children's safety. Her only hope is to wait for the cunning Colin to make a mistake.
Is it any good?
Henson is usually the best thing in whatever project she's working on, and NO GOOD DEED is no exception ... though the rest of the movie is garbage. To start, it's a stupid thriller that depends on all of its characters being idiots. Terri is supposed to be a criminal prosecutor who specializes in cases of violence against women, yet she makes one rookie mistake after another.
When the characters can't rely on stupidity to move the plot forward, a rash of dumb coincidences and cliches gets the job done. Elba plays an indestructible killer who keeps going after many bashes on the head and stabs in the stomach, and poor Bibb gets killed after talking too much about sex. Then there's the fact that the film's worst violence is directed at women. Not to mention that, from the point of view of a white director, it is very poor representation of African-Americans. The first two words of the title effectively sum up this terrible movie.
Talk to your kids about ...
How is the violence toward men and the violence toward women different in this movie? What message does that send?
How did you feel about seeing young children in peril?
What is the fate of the character who seems to be the most sexually promiscuous? Is there a connection between her behavior and her fate?
How are African-American characters treated in this movie? Positively? Negatively?
- In theaters: September 12, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 6, 2015
- Cast: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb
- Director: Sam Miller
- Studios: Screen Gems, Sony Pictures Releasing
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of violence, menace, terror, and for language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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