Well..that was a movie. That one sentence will sum up my feelings on “Meeting Evil” better than this entire review. You can now go and watch an entirely different movie, go to the gym, donate to charity, give blood, mow the lawn, read a book, throw a baseball around with your kids, throw a baseball around with someone else’s kids, listen to an amazing podcast on everyonequestion.com, eat a sandwich, play with legos, dig a hole, punch a jerk, get punched by a jerk, learn to juggle, eat another sandwich, tap dance, go back to work, read the “Hobo with a Shotgun” review again, do some push-ups, discover the band “Little People,” write a review of this review, go outside, take some vitamins, write a sonnet to a loved one, give a bum a dollar, give a bum two dollars, start that thing you’ve been talking about, do some yoga, go urban exploring, play with a ouija board, research why the word “oujia” is pronounced “weegee,” stare at a wall, scrapbook, or take a walk. I give you permission to do any or all of those things instead of reading the this review. …still here? …Okay, here we go.
“Meeting Evil” is the story of recently laid off John (Luke Wilson) and his misadventures with the wicked and possibly supernatural Richie (Samuel L. Jackson). One day, when John is down on his luck, he hears a knock at the door. It turns out Richie was having some car troubles and could use some help. John gives Richie a push and then leaves his family, keys, phone, and wallet at home to go for a joyride with Richie. Shortly after that, Richie kills some folks, John is framed for murder, and John’s family is endangered.
My major problem with this movie is it’s potential. If you pitched me this idea, I’d be pretty interested. The cinematography is eerie and slick, Luke Wilson and Samuel L. Jackson are charismatic, and it actually has a pretty damn good score. The pacing, dialog, side characters, and lack of action is just so apparent that it killed any sort of momentum. When I say action, I don’t mean gun battles and round house kicks. There are scenes where the police question John’s wife, leave, and then decide to go back and question her some more. This movie is full of double backing that weighs down the editing to an uneven stumble when it should be a gritty slow burner.
I’m always interested by the representation of police in movies. Some films seem pretty accurate to reality while others seem like John McClain. The “Die Hard” take is fine, because they’re sacrificing entertainment for practicality. The police in “Meeting Evil” are the opposite of entertaining and are not practical at all. It seems like all police research was done by watching cop movies and not the boring-as-hell-show “Cops.”
If there was a passionate and talented creative team behind “Meeting Evil,” it could have been fantastic. I guess you could say that about any project, but “Meeting Evil” seems to have a lot of room for creative muscles to flex. If the Cohen Brothers, Rob Zombie, Martin McDonagh, Chan-Woo Park, Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, or Wayne Krammer directed this, I feel like it would have been an instant classic.
This movie was based on the book “Meeting Evil” by Thomas Berger and I’m probably going to read that book. The subject material seems pretty solid and it’s reviewed well. The concept seems like it would have been a good movie…would have.