I’ll pretty much watch anything with Samuel L. Jackson in it. Which is why, when I saw this on the shelf, I grabbed it up.
This particular flick is Jackson and Luke Wilson. Now, I’m not really a fan of Luke…or Owen for that matter. I think there are some much better actors out there that are underrated in comparison to these Wilson boys. This Chris Fisher film happens to be a movie version of the book Meeting Evil by Thomas Berger in 1992.
So, the movie goes pretty much like this:
Meet John Felton (Luke Wilson). A poorly depressed soul who has just been fired from his job. To add insult to injury, the man that fired him is the ex-boyfriend of the woman John cheated on his wife with. This mistress, Tammy, broke up with boss-man boyfriend Trevor to be with John but, John decided to stay married to his wife, Joanie.
John goes home the day of his firing to find a foreclosure notice on his door and a surprise birthday party waiting for him in his house. Obviously, he’s upset multiplied by a thousand by now, so he’s not really in the socializing mood. That being the case, Joanie takes their kids to the park to give John time on his own.
In his solitude, he wanders around the house ending up in the backyard overlooking a giant hole in the ground, the beginning stages of a pool for the family. As he’s staring at the deep pit in the yard (a perfect metaphor for his current situation), he hears someone knocking at his front door.
John goes to the door and opens it to find Richie (Jackson), who is lookin’ wicked slick in his fedora. Richie explains he had car trouble and asks if John could help him push the car, a 1972 Pontiac GTO (OMG could you just die??? What a piece of automotive machinery!!!)
John, seemingly reluctant, agrees to help, walking out the door without his wallet, cell phone or keys. (Okay people, please, if you get nothing from anything I ever write please get this: nature gives you that uneasy feeling for a reason, the hair on the back of your neck stands up for a reason, it’s your own senses telling you something isn’t right. Please, don’t blow that off. Animals have the same instinct, ask a hunter. To ignore such a gift of a warning system like that is just stupid.)
Now, while John is pushing the car from the back, Richie is up front steering. As they are rolling along, Richie starts the car and it backfires, burning John’s knee. Richie stops the car and pops the trunk, walking toward John with a revolver in his hand hidden behind him, talking to John, to distract him. But then, Richie sees a little girl and instead of hurting John further, convinces him to let him drive to the hospital so John can get treatment.
The car ride turns out to be an interesting one. So much so that John starts to wonder about Richie and if he’s really an okay guy. Among other oddities, Richie is constantly whistling “Dixie”…which is just out of place and eerie to everyone. Richie decided to pull into a bar before going to the hospital, he wants to buy John a drink. John declines the drink, thanks him for the ride and walks across the street to a cell phone store to try to call his wife. The lady working at the store, however, is incredibly rude and won’t let John use the phone. And since he doesn’t have his wallet, he has no money. So he leaves the store and goes over to the bar to use the payphone and call Joanie collect to have her come pick him up (how many of you remember using payphones and being able to call collect??? I do).
In the bar, he sees Trevor, the ex-boss and Tammy, the mistress. Tammy walks up to him and starts coming on to him pretty aggressively. He tries to be polite (and a good guy) and decline. (I mean, they’ve already fooled around and his wife already know about it so, let’s not make it worse, right?)
He makes his way to the phone in the back of the bar only to find Richie sitting at a table with his feet up and drinking. They exchange a few words and then seem to go their separate ways, sort of.
Tammy snags John again and offers him a ride home. He knows this probably isn’t a good idea but he takes her up on it anyway. As they are discussing things, they hear sirens. Richie pops up out of nowhere and suggests that it’s time to leave since the cops are on the way.
They all pile into Tammy’s car and take off driving. A little later while they are driving through no man’s land a trucker starts following them and harassing them, forcing them to pull over.
This trucker is apparently the boyfriend of the rude cell store worker…and she is dead. The trucker is certain that John did it and they both get out of their vehicles to confront each other. Instead, as the trucker gets near, Richie hits him with the car, killing him.
This begins the tragic results of encountering someone like Richie. Everywhere he goes, people die. The cops are thinking the killer is John because everywhere John goes, Richie goes. During the mayhem Tammy escapes and runs away. John tries to escape but, instead, has to convince Richie to let him go and that results in Richie threatening to harm John’s wife and kids.
John ends up getting picked up by the police. He tries to explain to the police about Richie and what is going on, that Richie is a killer and a psycho. However, the police don’t believe him and continue to hold him. While he is in custody more murders take place, proving he’s not the killer, plus Tammy shows up and corroborates everything John says.
Now, the diner murders are, of course, Richie’s doing and during the commission of the crimes, it is believed that Richie is shot and killed. But that is a mistake.
Richie returns to the Feltons, forcing himself into their home, forcing them to have dinner with him, expecting to get the same hospitality as any WANTED guest would get, even though no one wants him there at all.
Richie just so happens to be a talker, quite the conversationalist. He likes to play word games and try to puzzle the mind, just psychological kind of stuff. In all his talking, he starts to reveal things. Like how he happened to show up on John’s door that day, how he knew he’d be alone, how he knew to coax John outside…John’s wife.
Richie explains that Joanie has also been having an affair and has actually hired Richie, a hitman, to kill John so she can be with her lover and run off with the life insurance money. Joanie emphatically denies this but, as Richie continues to talk, one can’t help but think it’s entirely possible.
As tension rises, everyone is now yelling and no one is listening. John is pissed. Richie is laughing. Joanie is pissed as all get out. She lunges at John trying to stab him (maybe she thinks she can make it look like Richie did it in a staged crime scene) but, John takes the knife from her and begins to come at her. Instead though, he stabs Richie and Joanie starts whacking at Richie with one of John’s golf clubs. Now they are giving this guy one hell of a beating and yet, Richie is still strong enough to pull John with him as they crash through a large window out into the backyard. They land in the hole for the pool, which is a muddy miniature lake due to pouring rain, and the struggle continues.
The cops, finally figuring it all out, show up at the Felton’s just in time for one of the officers to shoot Richie, actually killing him this time.
The Feltons go to bed that night, together, in the house all this happened in. Joanie asks if everything is going to be okay, John doesn’t answer. They turn out their side table lights as John is whistling “Dixie”, just like Richie.
Now, I originally got this just because of Jackson. And his character was good, he definitely made the movie. I just don’t find Luke Wilson that talented of an actor. He just seems so monotone and bland. And that’s what he was like in this movie. I would have liked a little more of the suspense/thriller feeling. There isn’t a whole lot of build up to a whole lot of anything. And the wife hiring a hitman wasn’t that tight of a twist because when she’s announcing to John she’s taking the kids to the park, she almost lets the secret out before the movie even gets started. She is just suspicious about how she does that whole scene. Now, I don’t know if they are trying to make us suspicious or if she just didn’t play it well but, she should definitely not be a professional poker player.
So, on the back of the box cover it says “Samuel L. Jackson has never been this terrifying.”, said by Ryan McLelland from Ain’t It Cool News. I have to say that while he was good, as always, I don’t think he was terrifying. He plays a great off the wall character but, in all honesty, he’s more terrifying in Pulp Fiction. It’s that calm conversation he has with “Ringo” in the diner that makes him so intimidating. When people act crazy, although that can be a deterrent to wanting to be in their company, it’s not always scary. That whole “I’m gonna talk real soft and clam and slow so you can tell that I am about to wipe your existence from the face of the earth” voice, well, truthfully, it reminds me of my mother when she used to get really mad when I was a kid. You always knew you were in it deep when Mom was calm like that. And the calmer she was, the worse things were going to be for you.
So, all that being said, I did think this was a good flick. I mean, Jackson was what you would expect and Wilson is tolerable. The action scenes are decent and the movie moves quickly, not bogging you down with useless palaver. Samuel L. Jackson fans should like this movie. Though I don’t think it’s a movie for just any horror lover. You gotta be willing to not have an abundance of any of the horror tactics we so often see in the genre. Other than that, I thought it was good.