Director: Dave Meyers
Starring: Sean Bean, Sophie Bush, Zachary Knighton, Neil McDonough
Panned by critics and labelled as a terrible remake, The Hitcher is an enjoyable horror movie. A couple set off on spring break from college and pick up a hitch-hiker whose car has broken down. All seems fine until it turns out that he is a psychopath and tries to kill them for no apparent reason. They manage to get rid of him only for him to follow them for no explainable reason, framing them for murder and pursuing them until they say ‘I want to die’.
Sean Bean stars as the titular character and works well as the nameless murderer who will stop at nothing to terrorise these teenagers. It’s an interesting turn for Bean who is normally the hero and rarely ventures into the horror genre. With his deadpan expression the audience is never sure of what he’ll do next and seeing him in a car with a family using a toy frog to wave at the couple is an image that is not easily forgotten.
It isn’t the best remake as Rutger Hauer (the hitcher from the 1986 original) is more menacing and deals better scares, but Sean Bean steals the show. The other noteworthy face is the female protagonist, Sophia Bush, who plays the whiny girlfriend that can’t do anything for herself until the final scene of the film. She becomes annoying at the midpoint in the film as all she does is blame her boyfriend (Zachary Knighton) for picking up Sean Bean when the audience know it isn’t his fault.
Fans of the original will be disappointed with this. In the original the main focus is on a man who meets the hitcher, he then meets a girl, and the hitcher comes after them both. Here the focus has shifted onto the female character and every scene happens to the opposite person. Most likely this was done due to Bush making this whilst portraying the main actress in the CW television series One Tree Hill and is a more recognised actress than Knighton. The ending is basically the same but with added detail which leads to some horrible continuity errors.
The Hitcher is a good horror movie with countless scares that will please new lovers of the genre and it is worth a watch if you haven’t seen the original. Even if you have you may prefer it, mainly due to the 80’s horror cliché of the apparently dead villain jumping only to be finally killed straight away being omitted. Sean Bean is great in this new role and even Sophia Bush becomes a loved character when she realises she has to take matters into her own hands come the end of the film. With some distrubing scenes and great acting, it wouldn’t be surprising if this film eventually becomes a cult favourite.