Monday, July 25, 2011

The Hitcher (2007)

This Hitchhiker Has A Thumb Downward

While watching The Hitcher, a remake of the infamous 1986 horror classic of the same name, you just might find yourself saying villain John Ryder’s nefarious catchphrase: "I Want To Die." This is mainly because the film is an exact replica of the original but with additions that drag it into copious amounts of shit. Let a friend take shotgun this time. You’ll be fine sleeping this one off in the backseat.

The film opens flaccidly enough on a college campus with blaring pop-punk music that no one cared about two years ago. As opposed to the original film where protagonist Jim Halsey is on a lone road trip, we found Jim (Zachary Knighton) picking up his girlfriend (Sophia Bush) from campus in celebration of Spring Break. Party, huh guys? Well, the fun balloons are soon popped when our two love birds pick up John Ryder (Sean Bean, Black Death), a weathered and ominous hitchhiker trying claiming he needs to get back home. Just like in the original, he quickly makes his violent intentions known and is thrown out of the car in a scene that is almost as surprisingly tense as the original’s. Assuming all’s well, our couple keeps heading north until they realize they are stuck in a deadly game of cat and mouse with Mr. Ryder, who will obvious stop at nothing until they are either dead...or begging to be.

So far, it doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, aside from the pop-punk, yeah it’s not. But here’s my problem: I can’t fucking stand Sophia Bush in this movie. I’m not a misogynist, but I couldn’t tell you a single female that I know who would keep her cool in a situation like this movie presents. I’m so tired of the "tough bitch" characters in horror movies. Once in a while, they’ll be used perfectly (Angela Bettis in "May" or Bahar Soomekh in "Saw III") but a little college girl in a mini-skirt? She’d be raped and murdered quicker than she would after having two Zimas in a frat house. Her character gets progressively more annoying throughout the film and finally culminates into a painful aneurism of clichéd dialogue when she steals a cop’s gun and utters: "I’m tired of running." After that scene I found myself "tired of watching."

Knighton’s acting is on par with the better of the cast, but Sean Bean’s portrayal of John Ryder steals the show. He gives the character just as much menace and mystery as Rutger Hauer did in the original. Bean really shows that he has what it takes when it comes to portraying a horror villain and I would definitely pay to see him to do it again.

I also award bonus points for keeping the violence factor alive. There is gore-a-plenty and it’s all well done. You may be surprised to see how many people die in this movie (major or minor). And thank god, the family in the station wagon still meets a grisly demise (including their little children) but this film goes the extra mile and makes them a devout Christian family. With all of these little bonuses that I'm raving about, you would think that I should be positively promoting this movie instead of bashing it. Unfortunately, these additions are only enjoyed out of context and not in relation to the film as a remake.

Bottom-line, though; if you’re going to see The Hitcher, make sure it’s the original. Unless you’re a fan of Sean Bean and want to witness his portrayal as Ryder (which I will personally vouch for as the only redeeming quality of the film), you’ll find everything this version has in the original film, but with more of a self-aware charm to it. The only place you should pick up this Hitcher is on the rental shelf or in a five-dollar bin.

2/5 Stars

Andrew's Hidden Message: Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Unless they have female parts. Then it’s okay.

Remember this cool scene from the original?

No? How about this one?

Wait...NO?! Well how about this one?? Ugh. Fucking "girl power" can blow me


  1. aww poor widdle man's winkie doesn't like a lady with a gun

  2. But hey, I also thought Sucker Punch blew as well.

    just my opinion!