I'd like to bend this mesh into a curve. Basically almost like a U shape. I've set an empty to be the origin of the modifier but the result is skewed. Its like as if its being twisted. I just want it bent. Any suggestions on how to bend this?
You need to align the empty orientation with the object orientation: Select the empty, shift select the object, go into the N panel and right click into the Rotation values > Copy All to Selected:
Now rotate the empty 90° on its own X axis (RXX 90) and play with the SimpleDeform Angle value until you're good: