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Movie Review: The Hitcher

The Hitcher
Directed by Dave Meyers
Written by Jake Wade Wall and Eric Bernt from the 1986 screenplay by Eric Red

The hollow victory the remake of The Hitcher achieves is being a better horror flick than last week’s Primeval.  Most critics are going to do their duty and savage this picture, and some are going to say, “Not that bad,” or “Exceeds the original,” or some nonsense.  All in all, I thought this was average, which is code for “enter at your own risk.”

Taking over for Rutger Hauer as the evil hitchhiker who kills everyone in his path is Sean Bean, playing John Ryder (ha!).  Taking over for C. Thomas Howell is Zachary Knighton as Jim Halsey, but this time Halsey has some trim-in-tow: Grace Andrews, played by the savagely hot Sophia Bush.  Halsey and Andrews are young lovers, traveling through New Mexico, taking a trip to some resort on spring break, and well, you can see now why they have to die.  I think everyone hates those kinds of people.

The couple escapes Ryder on the first try, but then get pulled back into his web of thumbing madness when a family of four pass by carrying the murderous nomad.  When the family turns up brutally stabbed, and the couple tries to get some help, they are of course believed to be the real killers.  With Ryder on the loose, he sort of turns up whenever it’s inconvenient, piling up bodies everywhere he goes.  Luckily, character actor Neal McDonough plays a smarter-than-your-average-redneck lawman and thinks on a higher plane than his simpleton colleagues.

And so, the typical psycho gorefest is what you get, with one particular scene to be the “hook” for the word-of-mouth a movie like this desperately needs.  For me, just a waste of time.

With the original Hitcher readily available on video, and two other fine desert-road thrillers in Breakdown and Joy Ride having come out since, this is your typical carbon copy that comes out every five years or so because we live in an ADD society that can’t respect the movies that came before.  The movie is marketed to people who were very young (or in the case of the 21-year-old original, not even born yet) when those movies came out, so no fear of seeming like a copycat.  It seems new to the younger crowd.  What was that old NBC tagline about reruns?  “If I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me.”


Comment from Jonathan
Time: January 19, 2007, 6:19 pm

Sophia Bush is just way too ugly. I don’t think I could watch this film even if I wanted to with her in it. I mean, Jesus, that perfect body, face, hair, eyes, etc. Who is she kidding with that shit.

Anyways your summary is about what I thought the film would be like, so I’ll pass. It did inspire me to watch the original the other night for the first time in probably ten or so years; it still holds up pretty damn well. Hauer is creepy as hell; probably one of the top five villains of the eighties.

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