The Hitcher (2007)

Film review: The Hitcher (2007), directed by Dave Meyers

This film in a sentence: College kids on road trip pick up psychotic hitchhiker who tries to kill them. Eyecandy (and yucky gore) awaits!

Jim (Zachary Knighton) picks up Grace (Sophia Bush) to go visit her parents in New Mexico. It’s a very long drive, but everything seems to be going well. Then there’s a dark and stormy night and they almost hit a guy standing in the middle of the road by his car. Instead of getting out to talk with him, they get scared and drive off.

At the next petrol station, where they’ve conveniently stopped, the man in the middle of the road turns out to be Sean Bean, who calls himself John Ryder, and asks for a lift to the nearest motel. Oh if only Jim hadn’t agreed to it … because in the car, Ryder turns out to be a creepy killer who wants to, well, kill them. They manage to kick him out of the car and drive off in the night.

And then a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, because Ryder is not satisfied with Grace and Jim still being alive, so he chases after them, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind him, which eventually leads to Lieutenant Esteridge (Neal McDonough) with the state police to join in. And of course, the police suspect the two college kids for the murders.

This is apparently a remake of a film starring Rutger Hauer. I’ve not seen it, nor do I wish to, so judgement is based on this film alone. And having said that, I wasn’t really taken with this film. There were gorgeous landscape shots, gorgeous actors, and … that’s about it.

The plot felt contrived and often ridiculous. Like driving up to a diner with a dead family in the car, the father is still alive (barely), and they run in to get … paper towels from the bathroom. Surely you’d run in shouting “HEEEELP!! WE NEED AN AMBULANCE STAT!!” rather than “Excuse me, please, could you point me in the direction of the lavatory facilities? I wish to get some paper towels. Over there, is it? Why, thank you ever so much, you are very kind.” Ever heard of the Golden Hour, dumbass?

Things like that, all the time, they add up. Although, as the opening credits didn’t just promise Sean Bean (kinda why I recorded it), but also Neal McDonough, I was sitting tight waiting. Not disappointed in the eyecandy department. McDonough as the police who instantly has a hunch about “there’s no way two college kids could’ve done this” and then he’s like some knight in shining armour. A girl could get ideas, man.

Of course, Bean is considerably less Boromir or Ned Stark and more … Chucky. Which is less nice to feast your eyes on. He might be handsome, but he’s deadly and he wants to slit your throat. Yeah, no, doesn’t work for me. Played creepy-as-hell rather well, though.

The two lead actors were okay, but I didn’t like their characters very much. I mean, come on, “I’m just popping out for ten while you’re in the shower and as I don’t have a key, I’ll leave the door unlocked”. If you had had any sense, you would’ve left the shower at the same time, gone and bloody locked the door behind him, and then resumed the shower. You know, reasonable self-preserving behaviour when you’re being hunted by A PSYCHO KILLER.

If you like your men handsome and/or a pretty girl carrying a gun (it gets bigger by the end of the film), fair enough. Plot-wise, more of a yawn. I found myself googling images of Dr. Horrible on my phone for a bit, and updating apps – and installing the super-slow GetGlue app (it’s like the Facebook app, so slow to respond to clicks it would be quicker to boot up a computer and visit the site itself). And when my mobile is more fascinating than the film, it’s not a great film.

1.8 out of 5 broken mobile phones.

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