Dead End

The Hitcher. Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, and Sean
Bean star in a film written by Eric Red, Jake Wade Wall, and Eric
Bernt and directed by Dave Meyers.

Reviewed by Max Burke

The Hitcher was the only film to enter into general release last
week, as often happens during January, considered the deadliest
month for film releases. It’s the time of year when the studios
dump everything they have left over and audiences ignore it,
choosing instead to catch up on the glut of Oscar-bait flicks
released in the last six weeks of the year.

I was hoping the film would be at least tantalizing, but I found
instead that it was quite tame by violence standards, generally
boring, and mercifully short. The Hitcher has a lot of superficial
similarities to the overlooked Joyride of a few years back: teens
on a cross-country road trip are terrorized by a relentless sadist
of dubious origin. However, everything the truly fun and scary
Joyride got right, The Hitcher gets wrong.

Our two young heroes — Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton, as
Grace and Jim — are flat, boring personages with nothing to do
except run around and scream at each other. Sean Bean plays the
titular villain and although his performance is of a higher caliber
than the two leads, he also suffers from a lack of anything
interesting to do.

Part of the problem with the movie is its pedigree. I’ve seen
the original Hitcher, and my verdict is “watchable ’80s horror
flick” as opposed to “undiscovered cult classic begging for a
remake.” The man responsible for the new version, director Dave
Meyers, has directed some very high-profile music videos (and some
very good ones, including Missy Elliott’s “Get Ur Freak On”), but
dig deeper and you’ll find he was also behind the 1999 urban comedy
Foolish, which united Eddie Griffin, Master P, and Andrew Dice Clay
on-screen for the first, and hopefully last, time.

If you positively need a respite from the grand historical
epics, somber dramas, and understated performances of the
season — as well as an 80-minute vacation from logic and
meaning — then The Hitcher fits the bill. But don’t say I didn’t
warn you.


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