HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Hitcher, The There's A Killer On The Road
Year: 1986
Director: Robert Harmon
Stars: C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey DeMunn, Billy Green Bush, John M. Jackson, Jack Thibeau, Armin Shimerman, Gene Davis, John Van Ness, Henry Darrow
Genre: Horror, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: Young Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) is driving across America, making some money by delivering a car from Chicago to San Diego. Now he has reached Texas, and driver fatigue is beginning to set in as his eyelids droop - suddenly there's a truck bearing down on him and he is shocked awake. Not wishing to end up a car crash victim, Halsey stops and picks up a man hitchhiking in the pouring rain, thinking the company will revive him. The mysterious stranger calls himself John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) and refuses to tell Halsey where he's going; in fact he starts to make the driver feel uncomfortable, putting his hand on his knee to speed up the car, and when Halsey asks him to get out Ryder pulls a knife on him. Halsey has just entered his own personal nightmare as it becomes clear the hitcher means to kill him...

Written by Eric Red, The Hitcher gained a small but loyal following back in the eighties, partly down to home video, but mainly due to its professionally handled ruthlessness of execution. The desert landscape is reminiscent of the eerie scenes in such films as It Came From Outer Space, but Halsey's close encounter is with someone all too human and completely obsessed with him. At first you could be mistaken for thinking this is a film about homosexual unease as Ryder seductively taunts the driver and holds a knife at his crotch when they are stopped by road repairs: the workman who chats to them certainly thinks they're gay when he notices where Ryder's hand has settled. Yet the hitcher's motives are more complicated than simple sexual ones, even prompting a coming of age for the protagonist.

When Ryder reveals that the last guy who picked him up is now bereft of his legs, arms and head, Halsey fears this may be the end for him, but luckily Ryder has left the passenger door slightly ajar and just as he's about to cut Jim up, he is pushed out of the moving vehicle. Halsey is delighted and relieved, or at least he is until later on when he is overtaken by a family in their car which happens to have a hitchhiker in the back seat - that's right, it's Ryder again, and Halsey panics, trying to alert the family to the danger they are in. Unfortunately he is so engrossed that he almost gets killed by a bus which knocks him off the road and lets Ryder go free.

The plot grows ever more preposterous, which in less sober hands may have led to a general level of hysteria, but everyone manages to keep their cool except, understandably, Howell. The hitcher turns into a well-nigh supernatural force of evil always showing up when least expected and at exactly the right time, or the wrong time from Halsey's point of view. This is a great role for Hauer and he seizes every opportunity to be slyly amusing, with an almost playful quality to his psycho, and dominating the proceedings even though he is offscreen for long stretches of the narrative simply because you don't know when he will appear next, or what he will do. After nearly killing Halsey at a gas station (which is blown up, of course) we know he's capable of anything.

As the bodies mount up, the police hurry around and point the finger of blame at Halsey, cranking up the tension by making him more paranoid. He wins an ally in the shape of Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh), an intelligent waitress stuck working at the family diner who is the only one to believe that he's innocent, especially after Halsey finds a severed finger in his French fries in another fine example of the black comedy that runs through the film. But the hitcher is not afraid to kill off anyone, as Halsey discovers when he wakes up in a police cell after being arrested and wonders why it's gone strangely quiet. Ryder wants one thing, to be stopped, and Halsey is the boy to do it for him, which leads to an oddly disappointing ending which even opts for the "he's dead - oh no he isn't" trick. After the invention of what goes before, a nice twist wouldn't have gone amiss, although there's a decided directness to the finale. Music by Mark Isham.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 9601 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: