Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 6 Beans
or a long time, I had heard from people that "The Hitcher" was an excellent, scary movie. Maybe it had been built up too much. Or maybe it just isn't very good. At any rate, "The Hitcher" seems to me like a film that had a good start on it and fell apart because of typical horror movie character idiocy. Either that, or it's an allegorical film whose symbol-system I haven't figured out. But I doubt that.
C. Thomas Howell ("Red Dawn," "Soul Man") plays Jim Halsey, a young man driving a car from Chicago to California for a driveaway company. As the film starts, he's on the road and about to fall asleep. To fend off highway hypnosis, he picks up hitchhiker John Ryder (Rutger Hauer, "Blade Runner"). Before long, this hitchhiker has informed Jim that he killed the last person who gave him a ride and that the same thing is going to happen to Jim.
This is the part that the film does right. It throws the viewer directly into a situation which is not much fun. However, as the film drags on, Jim starts acting incredibly stupid. He pushes Ryder out of the car, but doesn't think to run him over or get to the nearest gas station and call the police. Later, he could have saved himself a lot of trouble by locking himself in a cell in the small town police station he ends up in. As it stands, the police think Jim is a multiple murderer and launch a huge manhunt to find him. He does nothing to change anyone's mind about this. It is terribly frustrating, and after a while I was just waiting for him to die so the idiocy would end.
The film does feature some mildly suspensful scenes, and Jennifer Jason Leigh does a good job with her brief role. Overall, however, this is not the sort of movie that I would watch more than once. I would imagine it's the sort of movie most people wouldn't watch at all.
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