The Hitcher

There is no point in trying to make sense of a movie like The Hitcher.  Logic is not the goal; the goal is a movie that takes viewers for a ride.  Does it do this?  To a degree.  But the inconsistencies and sheer lunacy inherent in the script are a bit too unbelievable, and bubble to the surface shattering any sense of ignorance the movie was able to lull upon complacent viewers. The movie is relentless, which is a good thing, but the story fails to build upon itself, and instead throws out situations that just get more ridiculous. The plot is simple - a crazy hitchhiker is out to get two kids. Why? Not important. What is important is that he will stop at nothing to kill them. Why them specifically? Not important.

The two kids, Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush, John Tucker Must Die, Stay Alive) and Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton, The Prince & Me, The Mudge Boy) are going home from college for vacation. Halsey is excited because he can meet Andrews' friends for the first time. Like every horror/terror movie, director Dave Meyers (Foolish) begins things slowly. The two banter, flirt, and just relax. They are out in the middle of nowhere, and nobody is around them. At night, during a bad rainstorm, they pass a car on the side of the road. A man needs help, and they almost hit him. Halsey wants to stop, but Andrews feels nervous and they drive on.

Later, they meet him at a gas station, and agree to give him a ride to the next motel. Big mistake. The Hitcher, a remake of the 1986 film of the same name, begins in earnest here. Their passenger, John Ryder (Sean Bean, Silent Hill, Flightplan) quickly reveals a homicidal streak, and a chase across the state begins. Every time they get rid of him, he manages to locate them again. They go to motels, restaurants, even the police station, and Ryder still finds them. Meyers and adapters Eric Red (who wrote the original), Jake Wade Wall (When a Stranger Calls) and Eric Bernt (Highlander: Endgame, Romeo Must Die) try to make everything seem thrilling, but it doesn't work.

The kids are too stupid. Yes, it is a requirement of movies like this for stupidity, but Andrews and Halsey are on a different level. Their reluctance to enlist for help is supposed to extend to their distrust of everything because of Ryder's continuing presence, but the movie takes it too far. Then, near the end, these ordinary kids figure out how to fire guns and shotguns. Somebody also made the silly decision to have Bush run around in a super short skirt and tank top for most of The Hitcher, aside from the parts where she changes in the car and takes a shower. Sorry pervs, the film may be rated R for the nudity is PG-13. And finally, there's Ryder. Bean is a good actor stuck in a bad movie. He even looks annoyed. Ryder is not the antagonist, he's some superhuman force that cannot stop. Because of all this, The Hitcher goes from being thrilling to being funny.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 23 minutes, Rated R for strong bloody violence, terror, and language.

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