January 19, 2007 The Hitcher
Studio: Rogue Pictures Rating: R for strong bloody violence, terror and language.
Hollywood reaches into the not-too-distant past to churn out yet another remake.
In 1986, Rutger Hauer tormented C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh in "The Hitcher." He was an unstoppable force of evil and the movie is a creepy, thrill ride.
Director Dave Meyers brings the story to today's audience with his remake starring Sean Bean, Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton.
As college students Jim and Grace (Knighton and Bush) are driving down a lonely road they narrowly avoid hitting a stranded motorist.
Despite initial concerns about picking up someone they don't know, the pair eventually crosses paths with the stranger again at a nearby convenience store.
But it doesn't take them very long to figure out there's something not quite right about the man who calls himself John Ryder (Bean).
This version of "The Hitcher" has all of the cleverness of a slap to the face. The original gave you a feeling of menace and dread but the remake only goes for cheap scares.
Sean Bean has played a villain before with bad guy turns in "Patriot Games," "Goldeneye" and "National Treasure." He's menacing and scary but not very subtle. Eventually the couple learns just how twisted he really is as his psychotic crime wave puts the police on their tail.
Jim and Grace end up having to deal with both the authorities and a nutjob. Unfortunately they don't do it while delivering a very satisfying performance.
There is one notable twist from the original's most famous scene. However it doesn't make the film any better. Instead it's just a tired cliche that shows how desperate the filmmakers were to find something original to say.
"The Hitcher" really isn't scary. It's just sad.
On my rating scale, "The Hitcher" earns a Strikeout.
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