Monday, April 16, 2012
Meeting Evil - The Ending Explained?
7/30/12 Update: This (for some reason) is the most popular post on my blog. I'd love to encourage everyone to explore my site a little further. I typically post streaming links to the movies I review so you can watch it right then. Visiting the sponsors you see on this page is also a great help.
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Warning: (Obviously) There are spoilers ahead!
Before we get started, here's a link to my original review.
There's a question mark the title because the ending of the film is subject to any number of equally valid opinions.
The reason I'm addressing the ending is to fill a need. My website stats have shown that many users find their way to my review by googling "Meeting Evil Ending Explained". I didn't go into any detail in the review because I didn't realize it would be a hot topic.
Just before the final scene Richie tells John that he was hired by John's wife to kill him. They were in some financial difficulty and she had taken out a life-insurance plan that would've netted her big bucks. In the ensuing battle Richie has been killed and left for dead in a hole full of rain-water. The police believe strongly that Richie is telling the truth about John's wife, but he refuses to believe it. He tells the police not to question her. The final scene sees the couple in bed, as John turns out his light, his eyes are staring directly at his wife, conveying a sense of unease. In the darkness we hear Richie's signature whistling that leads into the credits.
My arguments henceforth work under the assumption that the whistling is not coming from John.
One possibility is that John simply doesn't believe Richie. This guy has been on a murder spree and excels at being manipulative. John (and I) think Richie was just trying to turn them against each other. The looks of distrust in the bedroom along with Richie's whistling on the soundtrack is just showing the viewer that Richie's influence is lingering beyond his death.
My favorite theory is very similar to the first. Except that I believe Richie was of a supernatural origin. If the story about his wife's insurance scheme are untrue, then there's no other explanation for Richie's deep knowledge of John's life. He knows everything about the guy and predicts his every decision. Basically, I think Richie is a demon. Further supporting this argument is the murder spree. A contract killer who's looking to make money doesn't want to be noticed. Richie though, makes sure that he gets the attention of every person in town. Richie also seems to just appear out of thin air. There's no back story. It's like he never existed until the moment he meets John. I'm sure you remember the child with the dog who seemingly always stands in the road. The dog is violently aggressive towards Richie and no one else. The dog cliche turns up in 100's of sci-fi and horror films. It would make sense that the director uses that to give us a subtle clue into Richie's demonic nature. If you look at the movie from this perspective it becomes the antithesis of "It's a Wonderful Life". After all, in a roundabout way, Richie made John's life better.
The problem with the supernatural theory of "Meeting Evil" is explaining Richie's death. Demon's don't die right? Well, I choose to believe that Richie was faking his death so he can move on to his next mission. There's also a chance that he's just inhabiting someone else's body. Or he's just a being of pure evil who can materialize a body at will. There are no wrong answers here.
There's some evidence supporting that John's wife really was trying to have him killed. The police seem partial to the theory. Plus, she had a nasty argument with one of the police officers. She could have been trying to hide something. The best evidence is that Richie is an "honest" person. Everything he says is to manipulate those around him, but do you recall him actually telling a lie? In fact, brutal honesty seems to be his modus operandi.
There seem to be others wondering if it were John whistling at he end instead of Richie. I'm not for that theory, but it's certainly interesting. Richie warns John that they aren't all that different. Richie is trying to get John to let loose and follow a path of evil, an evil that Richie claims was there all along. In this scenario Richie was absolutely honest about everything. Now that John has the information about his wife's plans, he may just be planning to deal with her himself. That would be a good explanation for him sending away the cops.
So, for all of you going crazy trying to figure out this ending, just chill out. I firmly believe that the filmmakers were purposely ambiguous. An ending like that can provide hours of discussion and debate among friends and fellow movie-lovers. Debating something as trivial as a movie ending is actually quite fun for me. That's really what I'm doing in this blog post, having a one person debate. I like one person debates, I'm not much of a mass-debater.
Posted by Dusty