Did you ever have one of those days? You know, the kind where everything—just everything—goes wrong? Take that day, multiply it by 20, and you’ll maybe come close to what Luke Wilson faces in the 2012 thriller Meeting Evil.
Wilson meets evil in the persona of Samuel L. Jackson, who ramps up the creepier aspects of his on-screen persona and chews up every scene he’s in over the course of this potboiler. Jackson plays Richie, who enters the life of unemployed realtor John (Wilson) when he—seemingly randomly—knocks on his door because his car has broken down, conveniently, in front of his house.
From there, Richie and John go on a road trip through hell during which innocents are killed by Richie, and everything in John’s life goes downhill. In quasi-Hitchcock fashion, innocent man John is accused of Richie’s evildoing and boy oh boy, are things looking bad. The fact that John is having major issues with his wife Joanie (Leslie Bibb) doesn’t help matters when Richie starts threatening his family, all leading to a conclusion with an implied twist that left me saying “Huh? Really?”
Based on a novel by Thomas Berger (Little Big Man), Meeting Evil tries really hard to be an old-school noir chiller with a modern sensibility, but it misses the mark through a laughably over-the-top performance by Jackson and some startlingly implausible plot turns and coincidences (John just happens to run into the woman he cheated on his wife with, and then she just happens to get entwined in all the shenanigans with Jackson? Feh). Wilson and Bibb do their best to make it work, but they’re not well-served by a flawed script and direction from Chris Fisher (who made the poorly received Donnie Darko sequel, S. Darko). By the time is neared its ending, I was just ready to be done with it—didn’t really care how it ended, just wanted the suffering to stop.
I could see Meeting Evil catching on as some kind of cult classic DVD, to be enjoyed in a Rocky Horror kind of way for the sheer badness of Jackson’s performance and the overwrought story and cringe-worthy dialogue. But as a thrill ride, this one’s a miss.Buy Meeting Evil on Amazon