The Hitcher (2007)

Any horror film that opens with a statistic about real deaths is only signalling its own desperate struggle for credibility. And considering The Hitcher is a remake produced by Michael Bay and starring uber-ham Sean Bean, it's not hard to imagine why someone might have thought this necessary.

Like every other horror movie in human history, it starts off with some good-looking kids setting off on a road trip. Considering the lack of care taken to draw their characters, both Grace and Jim are oddly likeable, if generic, and so the rampant insanity of John Ryder's campaign against them does seem shocking by comparison. It's also relentless, with plenty of amped-up ominous music and jumpy scenes to keep the audience on their toes.

Actually, it's pretty nerve-jangling stuff. Keeping a body count is all but impossible, and there's a remarkable amount of blood and guts thrown about for a film that only managed to earn a 15 certificate. So it's a fairly competent film (if you consider trotting out every horror cliché in the book competent); it's just lacking any kind or plot or sense. Most of the more memorable scenes from the original film have been excised, or else the gender roles have been swapped, but other than that, this remake doesn't have much new to offer.

After a fairly sensible first half, in which the kids do pretty much what you'd like them to, rather than what the rules of stupid people in movies would have them do, the exact moment at which the film spirals into insanity can be pinpointed almost to the second. It's when Nine Inch Nails's Closer starts playing: in the middle of a multiple-car-and-helicopter chase which ends with Sean Bean running everyone else off the road. Most of the cars he drives into roll over multiple times, with some explosions thrown in for good measure. This scene, more than any other, showcases both the influence of Michael Bay and the director's past in directing music videos -- neither of these being a force for good, since it becomes impossible to take the film seriously after this. Ryder becomes some superhuman force, all but unstoppable, and the fact that he doesn't have any discernible motive doesn't really help matters.

At the end of the day, it's just some nice kids being targeted by a maniac whom they never stand any kind of chance against. After a while, it all just feels faintly dismal and pointless. If nothing else, though, The Hitcher is at least another reason to be glad you live in the UK and not America. There's no way you could drive for very far in this country without encountering some kind of civilisation, or at least a Tesco Metro.

IMDB link

Originally reviewed for 6 Degrees Film.

1 comment:

soulmining said...

I enjoyed this film rather more than I should have done :)