Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Hitcher (2007)

I'm not one to judge remakes on how they stack up to the source material, but this imagination-free thing makes it damn difficult not to do so. This could have been a good thing, really; I think 1986's The Hitcher is one of the most overvalued horror flicks of the '80s, as any attempt at diseased allegory are washed away by the waves of contrivance and silliness that pound through the film. So it's a film that I wouldn't mind being remade. However, I will admit that Rutger Hauer's portrayal of the title psychopath is one of modern horror's most indelible and genuinely creepy portraits of evil, which bodes not well for anyone trying to step into his shoes. Sean Bean is that anyone, and I'd like to say he at least gave it the old college try; however, this new version has abstracted John Ryder to the point where there's no point in Bean trying because he's barely in the film. (If the 1986 John Ryder was a supernatural demon, as the more absurd aspects of the film would seem to suggest, this John Ryder is a forlorn phantom.) As unlikely as it sounds, this redux seems devoted to making me think the original wasn't so bad -- it ports over the plot, down to the last detail, but misses the menace and adds its own layer of retarded. (Example: Remember when Hauer shot down a police chopper with a revolver? That was dumb. Bean doing the same thing to the tune of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer"? Even dumber.) The worst "innovation" is splitting the protagonist into two people, which would diffuse the tension even if the two leads were interesting. But instead of the squirrely jitters of C. Thomas Howell, you get two Teen-Beat bland college-agers who aren't even portrayed as being interesting to each other -- note that their first scene together in the car has them sitting in uncomfortable silence for about a minute before the girl declares she has to pee. Maybe it's for the best that John Ryder came into their lives -- he saved them from a lifetime of spiteful, silent togetherness.

Grade: D+


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was this suppose to be a review of the The Hitcher film from 2007??? Because you ended up talking more about the one from the 80s and acting like as if a it was suppose to be shakespeare...

8:27 PM  

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