Coming from Final Destination creator Jeffrey Reddick, the short film Good Samaritan made its US premiere on August 15, 2014, at the TCL Chinese Theatre as part of the 2014 HollyShorts Film Festival. The horror film may check in at only nine minutes, but at the end, I guarantee every light around you will be on, and you won’t even realize you haven’t blinked for the last five minutes.
Good Samaritan stars Toby Hemingway (The Covenant, Black Swan) as Nathan Rome, an agoraphobic man who witnesses–and records–a deadly assault that occurs just outside his home. None of the onlookers intervene, and the victim dies. The short also stars Rainn Wilson (The Office, Super) as George Reed, a television journalist pleasantly reminiscent of Roger Allam’s Lewis Prothero in V for Vendetta; he interviews/grills Hemingway’s Rome about the incident. Also making a cameo appearance is long-time television star Jane Badler who is most-known for her role as Diana in the many iterations of the alien invasion series V. Lest you think I’ve given away the entire film, don’t worry; Reddick has managed to stretch the nine-minute running time to its maximum capacity.
I will say, if you’re one of the millions of Final Destination fans, Good Samaritan should absolutely be right up your alley. The feel of the short is a familiar and comfortable one, while its story and plot are a novel and absolutely welcome idea.
Along with creating the Final Destination franchise, Jeffrey Reddick has written multiple other horror films including 2005’s Tamara and 2008’s Day of the Dead, but Good Samaritan, which is also adapted from a feature-length screenplay he penned, is his first foray into the director’s chair, and frankly, I’d hope it’s not his last. Although Reddick’s writing technically fits into the “horror” genre, it’s more accurate to describe his work thus far as fitting under the “psychological thriller” banner. What’s the difference? Well, I’ll tell you, person who didn’t actually ask a question. The kind of psychological thriller material Reddick excels at depends heavily on its pacing; it’s not a horror film that will just throw frightening shit at you and see what sticks (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Whenever you’re dealing with that kind of material, it’s best to have a director who knows how the pacing is meant to be; what better director, then, than the guy who actually wrote it? That’s what makes Good Samaritan‘s scares work as well as they do; he knows where they’re supposed to be. From the high-impact ballistics of the fatal assault, to the slow burn of a panic-inducing pursuit, everything in Good Samaritan is able to hit its mark because its writer is also its director.
Prior to making its US premiere at the HollyShorts Film Festival, Good Samaritan made its world premiere last month at the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, screening alongside French horror film Aux Yeux Des Vivants, and it will continue to traverse the festival circuit in the coming months, with its next confirmed stop coming at the 2014 Screamfest Horror Film Festival in October. I’m glad it looks like this short is getting the good attention I think it deserves because that means we could get to see a feature-length version at some point, and I’d love to see what this story could evolve into over the course of two hours.