Remakes, remakes, always with the remakes. So when I heard about this remake, I was a little skeptical. I mean, a sequel to the movie had just come out a few years earlier and it was terrible so my expectations were a little low. Then I heard who they cast as the title character. Ok…my interest level might have gone up a little. I mean, Sean Bean does play a pretty good bad guy. So when it finally hit the theaters…I still didn’t see it. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life. However, when it came out on video, I rented it as soon as I could. So here is today’s movie, The Hitcher (2007).
The plot: Jim Halsey and his girlfriend, Grace Andrews, are driving through the New Mexico desert during their spring break. The first night on the road, they almost hit a hitchhiker that is standing on the road next to his broken down car. Jim considers helping the man but Grace convinces him not to pick him up and they leave him. They stop at a gas station down the road and while Grace uses the restroom, Jim sees the hitchhiker climb out of a truck and agrees to give the man, John Ryder, a ride to the motel up the road. As they are driving, Ryder suddenly threatens them with a knife but Jim slams on the brakes, causing Ryder to hit his head on the windshield, and allowing Jim to kick him out of the car. As they are driving the next day, they are passed by a station wagon and spot Ryder in the back of the car. They pull up next to the station wagon to try and warn the family but swerve to avoid hitting an oncoming truck and end up crashing their car. Walking down the highway, they come across the station wagon and find the mother and children are dead and the father dying from his wounds. Jim and Grace use the station wagon to try and get the man to a hospital but Ryder attempts to run them off the road before driving off into the desert. They stop at a cafe to call the police but the man ends up dying and the police, thinking the two kids committed the murders, arrest Jim and Grace. While Jim is locked in a cell and Grace is being interrogated, Ryder shows up and kills everyone at the police station. Jim and Grace run from the station and manage to steal a police car, but Ryder shoots the cop and a second officer, believing Grace killed him, shoots at her before calling for backup. Several police cars and a helicopter give chase to them but Ryder suddenly shows up and takes out every one of their pursuers before continuing down the highway. Jim and Grace find their way to a motel and sneak into a room in order to get some rest. Jim steps outside to try and use the phone but is captured by Ryder. Grace had fallen asleep watching TV but is woken up by Ryder trying to rape her. Grace manages to fight him off and hide in the bathroom until he leaves, then goes looking for Jim. She finds Jim chained between a truck and a trailer, with Ryder gunning the engine to the truck. Grace goes to the truck and threatens to shoot Ryder if he doesn’t turn off the truck but he refuses and orders her to get into the truck instead. Ryder tells Grace to point the gun at his head and shoot him, but with the police surrounding the truck, Grace can’t do it so Ryder grabs the gun from her before releasing the clutch and ripping Jim in half. At the police station, Lt. Esteridge informs Grace that the real John Ryder has been missing since Tuesday and they have no idea who the man that has been terrorizing her is. Ryder is loaded into a police transport van to head to prison while Lt. Esteridge follows with Grace on their way to Albuquerque. Ryder manages to kill his guard and shoot a second officer, causing the van to spin out of control and wreck into another car, which crashes into Esteridge’s truck. With Esteridge’s leg caught in the wreck, Grace grabs his gun and plans on killing Ryder, but Ryder grabs the gun and locks her in the back of the van. He then shoots into the leaking gas, causing the van to explode, but Grace grabs a shotgun and manages to escape. Ryder shoots Esteridge and starts walking away but Grace shoots him in the face, finally ending her nightmare.
The Hitcher didn’t do well with the critics, earning only a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics felt that the movie was interested in “cheap shocks and gratuitous gore and torture.” The audience seemed to agree with the critics as the movie would only spend 6 weeks in theaters before it would be pulled from theaters. Still, it did make it’s $10 million dollar budget back as it would earn over $25 million at the box office.
Well, I will say this for the movie, they did actually show Jim being ripped in half by the truck. I don’t think it was as bad as the critics said but it definitely lacked the suspense that dominated the first movie. The acting of the three stars was decent but while Sean Bean is a good villain, he is no Rutger Hauer. The plot was exactly the same as the original with just a few changes, primarily the fact that Grace would be the main heroine instead of Jim. You see a lot more of the bodies and killing than you do in the original, which actually hurt the movie because it took away the suspense that made the original the classic that it is. There were also more explosions in this movie but I blame that on the fact that Michael Bay produced it. So it is a decent horror movie, but doesn’t quite match up to the original.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5