The Hitcher (R)

Drama 90 January 19, 2007
By Jim Ridley
What, have we already exhausted the world's reserves of recyclable 1970s schlock? Apparently not -- is that a poster in the megaplex lobby for the goddamn Hills Have Eyes 2? -- but nobody told music-vid whiz Dave Meyers, who sets his wayback machine for dimly remembered 1986 and fetches a beat-for-beat remake of Robert Harmon's sick, scary cult fave about a cross-country driver who picks up a hitchhiking Terminator on a homicide spree. Sean Bean, stubbly and sinister but no match for Rutger Hauer's archangel-of-death gravitas in the original, plays the unexplained psycho, who slaughters cops and civilians aplenty as he dares motorists Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton to retire his opposable digits. (If the idea was to create a reactionary fable of unmitigated evil laughing in the face of dithering appeasement, mission accomplished.) Alas, switching the hero from a lone driver to a couple spoils the original's most intriguing idea: that the mass-murdering jackal may be the driver's own escaped id. That leaves little to fill 83 expendable minutes, which barely register as a movie, even with snazzy KNB gore effects, critic-baiting clips from The Birds, a splattery variation on the ’86 Hitcher's most notorious scene, and some out-of-place Bruckheimerisms on loan from producer Michael Bay. Meyers lays on the shallow focus with a dusting of the art-directed scuzz that passes for grindhouse revivalism nowadays, but to little avail: This Hitcher is all thumbs.
Dave Meyers Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Kyle Davis, Neal McDonough, Danny Bolero, Lauren Cohn, Yara Martinez, Skip O'Brien, Travis Schuldt Jake Wade Wall, Eric Bernt Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Alfred Haber, David Linde, Charles R. Meeker Rogue Pictures (Focus)

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