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The Hitcher

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Jan
The Hitcher
from Film Forum, 01/25/07

In 1981, Rutger Hauer demonstrated what a compelling, powerful actor he could be in Ridley Scott's extraordinary sci-fi film Blade Runner. Five years later, he was playing a serial killer in The Hitcher.

In 2001, Sean Bean demonstrated what a compelling, powerful actor he could be in Peter Jackson's extraordinary fantasy film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. And now, six years later, he's playing a serial killer in Dave Meyers' remake of The Hitcher.

Why? Why is this great actor following in Hauer's footsteps, stooping to participate in lousy, excessive horror flicks? Why hasn't anyone given Bean an opportunity to dazzle us as a dramatic lead?

That may be about to change. Bean is starring in several upcoming films, including adaptations of Macbeth (Comes Likes Shadows, with Tilda Swinton) and Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance (for director Bruce Beresford, with Annette Bening and Lindsay Lohan).

But back to the subject at hand: Is this remake of The Hitcher any good?

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says it "starts off promising psychological suspense, but ultimately follows the original's predictable road map of bloody excess and plot implausibility, capped by a flippant act of violent retribution."

Greg Wright (Past the Popcorn) says, "To be honest, Dave Meyers' update of The Hitcher hews pretty close to many of the original's characters, plot devices, and even dialogue. What Meyers mostly seems, though, is impatient with the original's pacing and frustrated at Harmon's reluctance to show all the gore. So right off the bat, Meyers' version becomes rushed and bloody."

Bob Hoose (Plugged In) says, "Most of the 'good' guys die and the one left has been pummeled by relentless evil to the point of numbness, saying, 'I don't feel anything' before blowing another person's brains out. The curtain falls and evil wins. In truth, evil itself is the nonchalant hero here."

Mainstream critics are kicking this remake to the side of the road.

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