The Hitcher

"OK"

The Hitcher Review


As the opening frames for The Hitcher inform us, 48,000 people die each year on the road each year. I know these sorrows have a variety of causes. Some are pure tragic accident, some the fault of inebriation, and some the fault of forgetting a turn signal or not watching a blind spot. Somehow, I doubt being sliced up by Brits in the middle of the New Mexico desert registers in the top five.

After attempting to briefly educate us about the perils of driving, The Hitcher (a remake of the 1986 cable standby) then jumps straight into the action. A guy (Zachary Knighton) waits impatiently for his girlfriend outside her dorm with a 1970 Oldsmobile 442. As he sits by his muscle car and she (Sophia Bush) comes out with nothing but pajamas and a small backpack on, The Hitcher feels like it should turn into a Penthouse story at any moment. They hop in the car, and before we even get their names we get to see Bush changing in the car and going on the road.

I mean I know horror movies aren't really about the characters, but were the writers so lazy they couldn't even come up with a major? A school? A college friend? Any indication of how these two know each other?

In fact, as far as I remember we don't ever find out the answers to any of those questions. The good news is that as soon as we run into the creepy sociopath (a wonderfully chilling Sean Bean), we don't really care.

They first meet him on a dark, stormy night. They're barreling down an unknown state route in the middle of the desert, he's standing in the middle of the road, and from the moment we see him, cinematographer James Hawkinson makes him look like the creepiest thing alive. She begs her boyfriend not to pick the hitcher up, and at the first of many cheaply drawn scare moments the predictable engine trouble almost prevents them from leaving the crazy man in the rain.

They escape to a gas station with the first in a long string of nameless stupid hick side characters. The hitcher has mystically managed to hop another ride to the exact same gas station, and ends up asking his way into hitching a ride.

The brief (and only) scene where they haven't figured out that he's a sociopath is about as much background as we get. We finally learn everyone's name: he's Jim, she's Grace, and the creepy Brit in the middle of the desert is John Ryder. He finds out they're on their way to spring break. Then he decides to break their cell phone and starts trying to kill them.

The amazing thing about The Hitcher is that while you can sit down and rethink its plot and realize what an empty movie it is, it's impossible to take your eyes or mind off of for long enough to let the stupidity sink in. You're soaked into the mess within a few minutes and don't get to leave until the end of the movie. Bean's sociopath is impossible to look away from, even though he's shown just slightly more often than Jaws was. Hawkinson's cinematography manages to make sun-drenched deserts creepy, and only offers brief and horrifying glimpses of the massacres.

While the script leaves much to be desired, it provides a lower number of groan-level disbelief moments then the average horror fare. There are plot holes that you can drive a small semi through, but sweet sociopathic distraction (and destruction) is almost always right around the corner. The Hitcher is simple and suspenseful, solely because of Bean's sociopath and Hawkinson's cinematic craftsmanship. It's worth a late night rental for only those reasons. If you took them away, The Hitcher would probably be just another sad movie by the side of the road waiting for January viewers to grab a ride.

How 'bout a ride?



The Hitcher

Facts and Figures

Run time: 84 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th January 2007

Box Office USA: $16.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $25.4M

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Rogue Pictures (Focus)

Production compaines: Intrepid Pictures, Focus Films, Platinum Dunes

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 21%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 75

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , , Alfred Haber, Alma Kuttruff, , Charles R. Meeker

Starring: as John "The Hitcher" Ryder, as Grace Andrews, as Jim Halsey, as Leutnant Esteridge, Kyle Davis as Takstellen Angestellter, Danny Bolero as Officer Edwards, Jeffrey Hutchinson as Young Father

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.