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Hitcher, The (DVD)

The Hitcher DVD (click for larger image)Starring Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Neal McDonough, Kyle Davis

Directed by Dave Meyers

Distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment


Sigh. Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. Do you know the names? They’re the producers behind Platinum Dunes, along with Michael Bay, who have given us such remakes as The Amityville Horror (review here), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (review here). The duo (or trio counting Bay) have developed their own film technique — faux-grittiness. What does that mean? Well, first you take your typically bad film, the kind void of any logic or reason, then you cover it with a sheen of the good stuff people like such as heavy violence and a grimy hardcore feel. The problem is it doesn’t take very long for the horrific enamel to wear thin, leaving us with what is akin to a rotting cinematic cavity. That, my friends, is exactly the case with their latest needless remake, The Hitcher.

Meet Grace (Bush) and Jim (Knighton). The twosome are off to celebrate spring break in New Mexico when they happen upon a weary and psychotic traveler (Bean) standing on the side of the road during a torrential downpour. After declining to pick him up following a near collision with him, our two lovebirds catch up with the hitcher at a redneck-run convenience store. Of course they get guilted into giving the dude a lift, and within minutes of commencing their ride together, the mayhem begins.

The Hitcher DVD (click for larger image)Remember the original 1986 version of The Hitcher (which you can order here) starring Rutger Hauer? Please go watch that instead. There’s so much wrong with this unbelievably bad film it’s hard to know where to start. This rendition of The Hitcher introduces us to a boatload of ludicrous moments such as the film’s main lawman (McDonough) existing only to comically throw punches into the air while saying “fuck” a lot, the worst usage of a Nine Inch Nails song EVER, and my favorite — a new plague! Nevermind raining frogs, rivers of blood, boils, and all that other stuff! That shit is for babies! Here we get cars that seemingly drop from the sky out of thin air. Thin … fucking … air! Let’s hold onto that for a moment, shall we?

Great. Moving on. There are a couple of things to see here that are okay such as Bean’s performance, which has a lot in common with Terminator 2 and The Number 23 if you can recall Foy’s amazing theories from The Hitcher episode of Dinner for Fiends (listen here), and then of course the infamous semi tug-o-war scene, which has been redone in gory fashion. Yet, no performance or hefty amount of violence and gore can save this knock-off from being the abysmal twenty-car pile-up of a film that it is.

The Hitcher DVD (click for larger image)On the supplemental side of the fence, I have to admit this is a good package. Things kick off with around twenty minutes of deleted scenes that, oddly enough, almost always end with our horny couple doing the nasty in the shower. I swear at least three or four of the eight included scenes has something to do with that one moment in which our heroes are humping in a hotel room. From there we get three making-of featurettes, each clocking in at around the twelve-minute mark, that examine the movie’s filmmakers, car crashes, and of course the aforementioned famous death sequence. And things are then rounded up nicely with a four-minute mock news report detailing the discovery of some of the hitcher’s victims. All in all, not bad, but it’s a sad state of affairs when a film’s special features are a more entertaining watch than the film itself. YAY!

Do yourself a favor … the next time you’re driving somewhere and spy a hitchhiker looking for a lift, pull over and hand him a copy of this movie. If he’s happy you did so, DO NOT GIVE HIM A RIDE. However, if he throws it back at you and curses, at least you’ll know that person has a shred of common sense and is safe.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go thumb my way to the nearest hardware store to buy some steel reinforcements for the roof of my house. You know … in case it starts raining cars again.

Feh.

Special Features
Eight deleted scenes
Road Kill: The Ultimate Car Crash featurette
Fuel Your Fear: The Making-of The Hitcher featurette
Dead End: Killing Zachary Knighton featurette
Chronicles of a Serial Killer mock newscast

Film:

1 1/2 out of 5

Special Features

3 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.