Friday, September 17, 2010

The Hitcher (2007)

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't sleep last night. So my loss of sleep is your gain, lucky readers, as I present one of my rainy day movie reviews.

I'll be perfectly honest here… I was actually hoping that this film would remedy my insomnia. After all, when it comes to playing a cool and calculated bad guy, who could possibly top Rutger Hauer? And that's just what the story of The Hitcher is all about, the most manipulative and downright ruthless monster you'll ever find walking down a lonely highway with his thumb out. You know, the type of hitchhiker that makes Aileen Wuornos look like a Sunday school teacher.

So I expected to hate this remake.

And for the first twenty minutes, I did. The film starts off with two young lovers, Jim and Grace, starting off on a long road trip across New Mexico so that Jim can rack up as many boyfriend points as possible before meeting Grace's friends. They show a fleeting moment of good judgment after encountering a mysterious stranger who is standing in the middle of the road in the pouring rain by leaving his soppy ass behind and continuing on their journey, but this is soon remedied when they meet up with him again at a truck stop down the road. By now the viewing audience is rubbing their hands together and muttering "excellent", after growing a bit tired of the Dick and Jane Road Show.

So enters our hero, the hitchhiker from Hell. While in my opinion, he's no Rutger Hauer, he does make a fairly convincing sociopath in his own ruggedly handsome I'm-going-to-gut-you-like-a-fish sort of way. However, after the first few minutes you begin to wonder if they are going to follow the original movie scene-by-scene and the only "reworking" being two dingbat motorists instead of one. Then you find out that the makers of this film have decided that an audience can stand more horror than they could back in 1986.

This remake, which was obviously better-funded than its predecessor, dares to show you what the original either couldn't or wouldn't. (And those of you who remember a certain scene involving Jennifer Jason Leigh should know exactly what I'm talking about here.) While it stayed fairly true to the original formula, it does go a bit further with some rather impressive high speed chases and pretty ballsy maneuvers on the part of our villain resulting in a much higher body count. There were also two different endings available, and I personally liked the alternative better because it was more believably squishier.

Do I prefer it to the original? No, I'm far too old-school for that. But I do think that it did itself justice for catering to the younger generation of moviegoers. And it didn't cure my insomnia.

Film information: The Hitcher

The Original Film:

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