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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Chris Fisher
Cast:
Luke Wilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Leslie Bibb, Peyton List, Tracie Thoms, Ryan Lee
Writing Credits:
Thomas Berger (novel), Chris Fisher

Synopsis:
Samuel L. Jackson and Luke Wilson star in Meeting Evil, an intense psychological thriller that will bring you face to face with pure terror. Jackson is Richie, a mysterious stranger who shows up at John's (Wilson) door asking for help with his car. All too soon, the mild-mannered John discovers he has become an unwilling passenger, trapped in a murderous ride through town and deep into the countryside. When Richie decides to pay a visit to John's wife (Leslie Bibb) and kids, John has no choice but to confront this sadistic and unpredictable killer - But saving his family will ultimately come at a terrible price.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$181 dollars on 1 screens.
Domestic Gross
$181 dollars.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Chinese Traditional
French
Korean
Portuguese
Thai
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 7/24/2012

Bonus:
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Meeting Evil (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 20, 2012)

If you want to find the definition of a movie that underwent a limited release, look no further than 2012’s Meeting Evil. According to Box Office Mojo, it opened May 4 – on one screen.

Where it earned a grand total of $575.

Wow. I’d guess that the studio needed to play the movie somewhere as part of a contractual obligation, but even so, you’d think a film with Samuel L. Jackson and Luke Wilson could’ve sold more than the equivalent of about 57 tickets, wouldn’t you?

Real estate agent John Felton (Wilson) finds himself on hard times, as he can’t sell any houses and he gets fired. That leads his family into tough economic straits, as they’re low on funds – and wind up with their own home under foreclosure.

Into this situation steps Richie (Jackson), a stranger who claims his car conked out in front of John’s house. He asks for a push, and John complies, though the circumstance turns out not to be so simple. Richie really just wants an excuse to take John on a ride that leads to bloodshed and mayhem along the way. We follow John’s journey as he attempts to deal with the psychopathic Richie.

Two movies doesn’t make a trend, but I find it interesting that Evil represents the second flick I’ve seen recently that deals with the repercussions of bad manners. In God Bless America, we saw a pair of serial killers who murdered those who they viewed as rude. Evil takes on a somewhat similar theme, as Richie’s craziness largely connects to those who he deems to be insufficiently polite.

Bless lost major points due to its over the top political agenda. That’s not an issue with Evil; it tries to be more of a straight thriller and lacks the other movie’s obvious social commentary.

Which makes me like it a bit more, but Evil still comes with plenty of its own flaws. Its main problem comes from its many, many lapses of logic. John seems stupidly willing to go off with a total stranger – and a stranger who comes across as nuts from minute one. Richie never presents as a likable loony – he’s such a weirdo that we immediately regard John as a dope. Who in their right mind would follow merrily along with someone as obviously batty as Richie?

Someone in a movie, I guess, but real life doesn’t work quite the same way. I get that Evil does attempt its own theme; as mentioned, the concept of civility becomes a running thread, as Richie’s victims tend to be those who don’t treat him with the politeness he demands. On the other side, John’s behavior can be seen as an outgrowth of a part of society that’d perform stupid acts – like going on a drive with a clearly unhinged stranger – rather than behave discourteously.

If Evil had any real point or anywhere to go with these notions, it might’ve been more interesting. As it stands, however, the theme acts as a vague backdrop but nothing more. The movie may pretend to offer this commentary on civility, but it really just wants to be a violent thriller.

Which it is – though not a well-made one. I don’t know the budget on Evil, but despite the name actors in the cast, it looks and sounds cheap. It comes across like something made for low rent cable. Shot on video, the film offers tacky visuals and the score feels like something the composer did on his home synthesizer over a rushed weekend. Overall production values give the project an aura that shouts “warning – this is low-budget TV fodder!”

In addition to the cheap look, Evil lacks a clear narrative. It never makes much about the harrowing journey clear, and it makes storytelling mistakes along the way.

Most of these come from its occasional glimpses of the trail left in Richie’s wake. While these moments offer some mildly interesting information, they disrupt the movie's mood. It would work better if it focused entirely on John’s point of view; that would give it a dark, claustrophobic feel and stick the audience in John’s situation. When the flick leaves John’s circumstances, it gives the viewer a breather that deflates the atmosphere.

I’m not sure how Jackson and Wilson ended up in such a project. Maybe the producers blew all their money on those two and that’s why everything else about it seems so low rent. Whatever the case, they seem out of place, as without them, Evil would provide anonymous basic cable fare.

Wilson may sense that and downgrade his performance. Granted, he doesn’t seem particularly well-cast in the first place; he works best in comedies and doesn’t appear to have the range to play John’s tormented side. The combination of miscast actor and bad material results in a thoroughly bland, awkward turn from Wilson.

On the other hand, Jackson shows a pulse. Of course, he’s played characters like this so often that he could’ve done Evil in his sleep – and he might’ve - but he still adds an actual spark of life to the proceedings. I suspect that Jackson has made enough cheesy stinkers to know one when he sees one. While Wilson looks a bit embarrassed to be here, Jackson greets the circumstances with gusto and delivers scenery-chewing acting from start to finish. Does this result in a good performance? Not really, but at least Jackson’s over the top demeanor keeps us awake.

That’s no small task in a movie as random and often pointless as Evil. Jackson’s hamminess might actually distract the viewer from the film’s inherent absurdity and stupidity – but not often to turn this into an entertaining film.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

Meeting Evil appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie displayed fairly good visuals.

For the most part, sharpness looked fine. Wider shots were a bit tentative, but those weren’t a notable weakness. The majority of the flick offered positive clarity and accuracy for SD-DVD. I noticed a few instances of jaggies and shimmering, but those weren’t a big concern, and edge haloes were minor. No print flaws marred the image.

Colors stayed very subdued. The movie focused on a sepia palette without many examples of bright tones; some chilly blues also materialized. Within the production design, the hues appeared fine. Blacks looked reasonably deep and tight, while shadows were fine; a few low-light elements could be a bit dense, but those weren’t an issue. While not a great picture, this was a solid “B”.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Evil, it stayed rather low-key most of the time. This wasn’t the kind of horror flick that poured on the slam-bang effects. Instead, it tended to favor general atmosphere. Most of the action came in short bursts when Richie went violent. The track popped to life well on those occasions and also involved the surrounds to a satisfying degree, but not a lot of these sequences appeared.

One aspect of the mix created distractions, though: the balance between music and speech. From start to finish, the film featured lots of score, and the music played rather loud in the mix. This meant that some dialogue got a bit buried. This wasn’t a fatal flaw, but it caused some issues.

Despite that imbalance, audio quality was fine. Music seemed full and lively, and effects followed suit; those elements came across as accurate and showed good pep. Speech needed to be louder but displayed appropriate intelligibility. The problems with the music/speech balance were the biggest issue here, and those made this a “C+” track.

The disc opens with ads for The Raid: Redemption, Lockout, 6 Bullets, Detention and Starship Troopers: Invasion. These also appear under Previews. No other extras pop up here.

At its core, Meeting Evil had the potential to provide an involving psychological thriller. Unfortunately, it comes hampered by cheap production values and a poorly-told/often stupid narrative. The DVD offers good picture, awkward audio and no supplements. Leave this low-rent mediocrity on the shelf.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.125 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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