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Published on January 22nd, 2007 | by Erich Becker


Review: The Hitcher

Another week, another remake, and another review pointing out the obvious, Hollywood has run out of ideas and have now run the barrel so dry for even retread material that they have made it all the way to the 1980’s for their remakes. It should be an undocumented rule that if a studio executive is old enough to remember the original hitting theaters, there shouldn’t be a remake in his lifetime. Unfortunately, this rule may never be observed.

The Hitcher is this week’s flashback, the story of a troubled man who hitches a ride with two teenagers on their way to spring break in Lake Havasu (something Arizona residents know not to do). After a violent encounter the title character, assuming the name John Ryder, proceeds to set up the two up in a series of events leading the New Mexico Police to assume they have murdered and killed their way across the state.

This gruesome adaptation of Robert Harmon’s 1986 original written by Eric Red doesn’t seem to really go anywhere during its 83 minute runtime and I found myself mourning over the destruction of the Olds 442 car the couple was driving than I do their impending deaths. The biggest disappointment is the utter lack of any type of character development. Sean Bean’s turn as the violent rider is a great casting choice, there’s just no dimension to the character. Why is he doing this? What are his sinister motives for seemingly hacking and slashing people apart whilst driving through the desert? There seems to be no motivation or anyway to identify why he is doing this. Jason had the fornicating camp counselors to hate, Freddy the parents who burned and murdered him, The Hitcher just seems to be having a bad day.

Other than Bean’s inspiring casting is the eye candy that is Sophia Bush who spends the entire film nearly half naked holding a gun two times to big for her until she unloads a shotgun in the film’s final scene. Her beau (Zachary Knighton) seems to be just along for the ride and to offer another lead character to follow, but anyone who’s seen a horror movie before can guess his fate from the very beginning.

It isn’t that I don’t like remakes of old horror movies, quite the contrary, Dawn of the Dead is a prime example of how to modernize a classic with not only a fresh coat of paint but also reworking the interior mechanics to fit into today’s society. The Hitcher feels like someone spray painted over the top of what would pass as a good horror movie in the late 70’s early 80’s without any regard for making the film actually work in today’s society.

From the very beginning when we see a rabbit decapitated crossing a busy highway you just know the film is going to be gruesome because it can. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, even decent movies are this way (Hostel, for example), but what they have is the pedigree of the director and his or her style coming along for the ride. Music video director Dave Meyers show his pedigree by creating a one-off visual palette that seems to be over as fast as it starts and has no lasting effects on the audience.

Everyone in Hollywood needs to just try a little bit harder, especially on films still being shown regularly on late night cable channels.


About the Author

Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!

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