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Review: Doug Bollinger’s “The Samaritans”

Sometimes seeing your coworkers outside of the office can be Hell. Based on the screenplay by Doug Bollinger and the original story by Keith Collins, The Samaritans finds four fellow employees meeting at their manager’s home to discuss the new smartphone app they’re developing. Inadvertently, they end up in the basement, bound by an invisible force and possessed one by one by a maniacal force of evil. As each employee is taken over, their personal histories and deadly kept secrets are revealed. Now, they must see the error in their ways and outsmart their captor if they want to make it out of the basement alive. Directed by Doug Bollinger and shot under Keith Collins Media Inc and Baffled Entertainment, The Samaritans stars Keith Collins, Doug Bollinger, Timothy Laurel Harrison and Annelise Nielsen. Find it on digital and on demand April 16th 2019 courtesy of Viva Pictures. The Samaritans has a cool movie poster and trailer, but I don’t know if they accurately represent this title.

The Samaritans reads like a supernatural, more psychological version of Clue. As the spirit jumps from body to body, there’s another plot twist or character progression/regression. The viewer will subconsciously make decisions and assumptions based on every new piece of information; only to have it confirmed or denied later on in the movie. This is why I don’t think The Samaritans is being accurately represented with a full-bodied horror package. Sure, there’s an evil spirit, a tiny bit of gore and slight elements of torture, but this one is more of a rich story and a psychological drama than anything else. You also need more than one room, four people and a clever script to sell horror to an audience. That’s perhaps The Samaritans’ biggest pitfall. Nothing intimidating or horrific ever really happens, even though there is a strong amount of suspense. With such an easy to film story, if Doug Bollinger and Keith Collins wanted to make this a horror film-horror film, they could have done a lot more with any ideas from the scary movie spectrum. I have a feeling they would have pulled them off well.

Aside from the lack of traditional horror scares and its slow parts, The Samaritans is an expertly filmed movie that looks flawless after post-production edits. It was produced by Doug Bollinger, Keith Collins, Cory Green and Matt Grego; with cinematography from Cory Green and editing from Cory and Matt Grego. If these four guys – Doug, Keith, Cory, Matt – were to collaborate as a team again, I’d love to see them work on an in your face kind of horror film, because it’s quite obvious that they have a lot of talent behind the camera. Speaking of talent, Keith Collins did a much better job in The Samaritans than in the last movie I saw him in, The Meat Puppet. Overall, the acting in The Samaritans is much better than a lot of the movies on an indie horror catalog and all of the characters, despite their flaws, are marginally enjoyable…except for one. What helps this title come off as super cohesive is the fact that so many of the same people worked in front of and behind the camera. Everyone really understood the source material and the equipment needed to bring it to life, and with a professional cast capable of delivering decent performances, well, there was no way this one wasn’t going to hit the mark. And, hey, I’m a fan of a twist ending and The Samaritans has that in store for you, too.

The Samaritans is the definition of a “slow burner.” It’s rich in story but lacks the adequate amount of horror to be considered a scary movie. Well produced and well acted, this movie may not be for everyone. It’s available on VOD April 16th 2019 from Viva Pictures. Peep the trailer below and decide if this could be a story that speaks to you. Final Score: 6 out of 10. 

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)