The Hitcher (1986)
Critic Consensus: Its journey is never quite as revelatory as it could be, but The Hitcher stands as a white-knuckle vision of horror, bolstered by Rutger Hauer's menacing performance.
The Hitcher Photos
as Jim Halsey
as John Ryder
as Capt. Esteridge
as Sgt. Starr
as Trooper Donner
as Trooper Prestone
as Interrogation Sergeant
as Trooper Hapscomb
as Trooper Hancock
as Trooper Conners
as Stunt Sheriff #2
as Stunt Nash
as Construction Man
Critic Reviews for The Hitcher
This set-up is intriguing, and you wish director Robert Harmon had made more of it.
A highly unimaginative slasher that keeps the tension going with a massacre about every 15 minutes.
It's a highly competent sick-fright version of the evergreen chase formula.
Mr. Hauer, who has reportedly vowed not to play any more villains or crackpots, is probably making the right decision, if this is any measure of the sort of role that comes his way.
I would have admired it more if it had found the courage to acknowledge the real relationship it was portraying between Howell and Rutger, but no: It prefers to disguise itself as a violent thriller, and on that level it is reprehensible.
Audience Reviews for The Hitcher
In 'Halloween', Michael Myers was simply credited as The Shape because the viewers would project their own ideas of horror onto his amorphous face. In many respects, John Ryder is similar to Myers insofar as he is an oppressive, omnipresent villain without a motive. He appears spontaneously (one example of hysterically irrational gallows humor is his materialization in the back of a family's station wagon) and he could be construed as the personification of Jim's coming-of-age obstacles on the road to manhood. 'The Hitcher' is a taut, exquisitely surreal B-movie with a powerhouse performance from Hauer. At first, Hauer is bedraggled from the rain, sniffling with a cold and intentionally vague about his destination. He unveils his switchblade and almost pleads to Jim "I want you to stop me". Their relationship is like the symbiotic link between the host and a virus with each one goading the other. Every time they rendezvous, Ryder provokes Jim to shoot him but Jim is too sheepish and cowardly. At an abandoned garage, Ryder could easily disembowel Jim but instead he throws him his keys as if to enable Jim to continue the cat-and-mouse pursuit. Hauer is fraught with ambiguous touches such as when he lays next to Nash and slightly whimpers before he cuddles with her. 'The Hitcher' has been enshrined as an unsung gem in 80's horror and based on the evidence, deservedly so.
Jennifer Jason Lee is the actress I dislike the most. No wait, that would be Reese Witherspoon. Rutger Hauer is cool but he's wasted in this lame thriller. Slight upside: Jennifer Jason Lee gets torn in half. Hmmm, maybe there's a movie where Reese Witherspoon gets ripped in half...
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