Friday, April 06, 2007

The Hitcher

Don't Mess With Me

Sometimes you wonder what's the point. The Hitcher is a remake of sorts of a 1986 movie of the same name, where you have a deranged hitchhiker trolling around a highway, taking on innocent, good samaritans who offer him a lift, and sending them to the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps for newbie director Dave Meyers, whose filmography contains only music video productions, it seemed like a safe enough choice to make his first narrative film, a remake, and one riding on the coattails of the recent popular horror-thriller genre.

Sean Bean takes over from Rutger Hauer (from the original) as the psychotic John Ryder, an anonymous man hell bent on stalking teenage couple Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton) and Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush), after a near miss incident and their refusal to assist him, probably pushed some wrong buttons. It's a Jeepers Creepers and Wolf Creek combined type of movie, with the relentless pursuit along the highways of New Mexico on vehicles, as well as on foot.

The morale of the story is to never pick up strangers, even if they look harmless, as you'll never know when something inside them will snap, and they go all ballistic. The Hitcher turns out to be rather mixed, flipping between wanting to build genuine tension, to forgoing it all for the more direct in your face methods. Filled with enough stunts, explosions and gun fights to satisfy its target demographics, these do tire out after a while, especially when the story seemed to plod on with its recycled plot elements.

It's pretty gory and bloody, but none that veterans of the Saw franchise or of other movies in the same genre never saw before. In fact you might find it quite tame, if not for some crucial scenes near the end. If anything, this movie celebrates the return of the strong feminine action character type, with Grace totally calling the shots with her street smarts, guts and decisiveness, as compared to her whiny boyfriend.

Sean Bean looks the part, but could have been more menacing. And this movie, could have not been made in the first place. Watch this only if you have time to fill in between movies, or rent it at most.

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