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.
Samuel L. Jackson kicks his trademark brimstone rhetoric into overclock in this bracingly dark thriller, where the line between thought and violent deed is crossed early and often. Adapted from a novel by Thomas Berger (Little Big Man
), the film follows a henpecked real estate agent (Luke Wilson) stewing after a long line of very bad days. As he stands on the verge of losing his wife (Leslie Bibb) and kids, his stasis is interrupted via a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger (Jackson) with a habit of permanently squelching anyone who annoys him. Writer-director Chris Fisher (S. Darko
) cannily leaves the worst of the physical violence to the imagination of the audience, focusing more on the damaging psychological effects that Jackson has on those in his vicinity. (Bibb, in particular, gets a nasty beauty of a police interrogation scene.) Meeting Evil
stumbles a bit, admittedly, with the central casting of Wilson, who convinces in his early scenes, but whose laid-back demeanor can't quite pull off the critical changes the character undergoes as his situation becomes increasingly dire. In Wilson's defense, however, it's difficult to imagine anyone capable of matching up with Jackson when he cranks it to eleven, a state the actor achieves here with hypnotic regularity. Flashing his eyes and moving from purring whisper to scream with jarring randomness, Jackson projects a charismatic menace that infects and amplifies the entire film, even in the moments when he's off-screen. Like all good movie bad guys, it's hard not to wish for a curtain call or two. --Andrew Wright