Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Hitcher (2007)

Ah…another day another remake. This time around it is The Hitcher. Was it worth remaking? Was it any good? Did I manage to make it through without falling asleep or yanking my own hair out?

A young couple, Grace (Sophia Bush) and Jim (Zachary Knighton), sets off on a road trip to meet up with friends in Lake Havasu on spring break. Their trip is going smoothly as they drive through the desolate but beautiful desert landscape of New Mexico. That is, until they nearly hit a hitchhiker (Sean Bean) on the side of the road. He doesn’t appear hurt, so they just keep driving. Unfortunately for them, they meet up with him at the next gas station. They feel bad about leaving him on the side of the road, so they offer to take him to the next motel. Things quickly turn ugly as the hitcher starts to get violent and threatens their lives. Jim and Grace manage to throw him from the car, but he continues to track them down and terrorize them, framing them for all the murders he has committed on the highway. Now Jim and Grace are on the run from the law as well as trying to stop the hitcher from striking again.

The Hitcher had its (precious few) moments, but ultimately it was another unnecessary remake that didn’t bring anything new to the screen. My main problem with remakes is that they hardly ever present anything new. It’s the same scenarios played again and again, perhaps given a slicker look and usually including pretty new faces. How am I supposed to be satisfied by that when the original was just fine?

The Hitcher does look great, but other than watching the pretty scenery going by, I was bored. It is almost exactly the same as the original. Sure, instead of one kid and a waitress who joins him as the leads now we have a college couple, but all the major events that took place were just copied and put into this movie. There is nothing new here and therefore there was nothing to hold my attention.

The acting was actually quite good, with the three leads of Knighton, Bush and Bean doing a great job. I still prefer Rutger Hauer in the original as the villain, but Sean Bean gave an okay performance. He just seemed a little too subdued for the role. I guess I was just expecting a little bit more from Bean. Bush and Knighton were believable as a couple, and most importantly, their actions were also believable. Most actors who star in big budget horror usually annoy me, but these two played off each other surprisingly well.

There were some spiffy chase scenes, especially one towards the end which I’d like to nominate for the most gross misuse of a Nine Inch Nails song. If it wasn’t for the horrible misappropriation of that song, that would have been the coolest chase scene in the movie. The gore, blood and violence are amped up in this one, and thank goodness they went for an R-rating instead of PG-13. There’s plentiful blood splatter that will keep you at least mildly entertained.

Come to think of it, The Hitcher is “mild” entertainment. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its brutal parts (it does) but it just feels completely shallow and doesn’t have any weight to it. If you haven’t seen the original The Hitcher, you might find this remake somewhat entertaining, but I still recommend checking out the original. The original may have its goofball and cheesy moments, but at least it has the tension and the unexpected to pull it through!

Available on Amazon!

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