No Good Deed

Rated 3.0

With Ray Rice dominating headlines in recent weeks, this may not seem like the right time to release No Good Deed, a film that grinds themes of violence against and control over women into low-rent genre mush. But the power of exploitation films is that they can connect more directly and more viscerally with our cultural night terrors, and a lot resonates in this story of an escaped sociopath (Idris Elba) who cons his way into the home of a married woman (Taraji P. Henson). The genuine menace of Elba's seductive psychopath appears to be an expression of the seething contempt that Henson's wealthy husband has for her, and a powerful connection is made between psychological manipulation and physical abuse. However, the time is never right for the sort of cheap scares that take over in the final act, or for the maelstrom of absurd and implausible behavior that whirls throughout.