As the ending credits rolled for Meeting Evil I vacillated between feelings of “Okay…” and “What the hell did I just watch?” I’m not sure what I expected from this “thriller,” but it was probably slightly better than what I actually watched. Perhaps I’m in the wrong for assuming that Luke Wilson and Samuel L. Jackson could actually make a psychological thriller or maybe I’ve been the victim of a comically bad joke.
Either way, I have a lot to say about this movie because it said so little to me. Be forewarned, there are spoilers and inappropriate language dispersed throughout this review.
I’m going to summarize this really quickly: Luke Wilson is a broke, recently fired real estate agent whose wife has hired a hitman, Samuel L. Jackson, to kill Wilson because she is getting slammed by the pool boy. However, the audience doesn’t know Wilson’s wife hired a hitman until the last 15 minutes of the film, so for the other hour and 15 minutes you think Samuel L. Jackson is just a really mean mortgage collector. So to clarify: Samuel L. Jackson is the hitman, Luke Wilson is the real estate agent, and I am the poorly prepared audience. For some reason, Wilson is a coward who stands up to no one yet has enough balls to sleep around on his wife. Also, Wilson lives in what appears to be a giant dollhouse. When re-reading my notes for this movie, I saw I had written 3 times “The dollhouse is being foreclosed on.” I feel like if that’s in my movie notes, the movie is not good.
I think there might have been a message trying to unmask the “American dream” as some ruthless monster who dwells on unhappiness and adultery but the plot is so desultory and poorly written that no one cares. Anyway, according to the storyline on IMDB Luke Wilson becomes a hero who is just protecting his family. No, no that isn’t what happened at all. His wife does most of the ass-kicking and then a cop pops Jackson full of lead, so really, Wilson didn’t do anything. He was the worst husband and dad in the entire universe. Also, his kids didn’t even fit the role. The kids in this movie were not even remotely believable. Luke Wilson and his wife are clearly Caucasian so someone explain to me why he has a Pacific Islander for a daughter.
This was movie was entertaining in the sense that it wasn’t bad enough for me to kill myself. The writing was terrible. Maybe I should interject here to say I’m not senselessly hating on this movie. I’m not seething as I write this, angry that I spent approximately 90 minutes of my life watching Meeting Evil. But just to show you what I mean by “terrible writing” here are some memorable movie quotes: “..Air is still free, John.” “It looked like she’d been locked up in a doughnut shop her whole life.” My personal favorite is from one cop to another cop, “You know smoking kills sperm cells, right?” I didn’t know that, actually. I Googled it and it seems like a legitimate fact, so thumbs up for educational value. Anyway, cinematography was pretty jerky, clichéd, and I don’t like awkward, unnecessary closeups of unnecessary characters. For example, for some reason you spend at least 5 to 8 seconds staring at a guy pumping gas in his car. Weird. There is also an attention-grabbing scene where a cop takes a Girl Scout Cookie. But that’s it, she just takes a cookie. There’s no follow up.
Again, the plot was difficult to follow because it isn’t cohesive. The movie really is just Jackson running around fighting and killing people. He even kills a kid and his grandmother. Which leads me to the following question: if Jackson were a hitman hired to kill Wilson, why is he going on a rampage and killing everyone but Wilson? Is he being paid extra? Jackson even pistol-whips Wilson’s floozy girlfriend Tammy. (Side note: I feel like if your name is Tammy then being pistol-whipped comes with the territory of being named Tammy). Jackson even threatens to kill Wilson’s family and seems very aggressive towards Wilson’s wife. Hey Jackson, if Wilson’s wife hires you and you kill her you don’t get paid. No one gets paid. You are the worst hitman ever. I’m willing to admit maybe Jackson wasn’t a hired assassin and maybe I misunderstood the entire storyline. In the event this is true, I feel like it’s not my fault I didn’t understand the foundation of this movie. I feel like the movie is to blame for confusion and maybe even anything bad that has happened to me today.
If you try to find a redeeming quality in the soundtrack for this movie, you won’t. The movie has typical, quirky, strange stringy instruments that were so loud and overpowering in some scenes I had trouble hearing the actors. As for the actual acting performance, it was “so-so.” Jackson is believably psychopathic and Wilson is believably pathetic. Everyone else does a shrug-inducing job. I feel slightly bad saying that because I personally have no acting talents but alas, this is an honest review.
Well, overall I think it’s safe to say I didn’t think this movie was very good. If you want to throw back a couple beers with your buddies and get a few good laughs, or if you’re one for offering clever movie commentary, maybe rent this movie. But don’t recommend this movie to someone who loves good, thought provoking thrillers.