Feature debuts don't come much better than director Robert Harmon and screenwriter Eric Red's sleek, dream-like thriller about a naïve college boy who crosses paths with devil in the flesh after taking a wrong turn on some lost highway.
The Hitcher is one of the best road movie ever. A top notch horror thriller with a mesmerizing claustrophobic climax and an one-of-a-kind cold and dark original score by Mark Isham. Haunting performance by veteran Rutger Hauer in what is one of his finest work to date. Do not take any considerations at the reviews of "critics" who claim that this is a mediocre movie, only their opinions are awful here. I only can agree on C Thomas Howell is probably not the best choice as the lead, but definitely feet to the character anyway. All these criminally awful critics are really beyond me, I was expecting a good overall rating from professionals and finally the correct ratings came from the metacritics users. What a joke.
There's a little toying with the old doppelgänger idea of the hero and villain coming to resemble one another, and the ending is rather straightforward; but it's a highly competent sick-fright version of the evergreen chase formula.
Much of the problem lies with Howell, a dilute, rabbity actor in the Tim Hutton mold. Everyone acts Howell off the screen, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, who displays an easeful gruffness as the girl who joins Jim. With Howell's weightlessness, the deeper elements of the story -- the byplay between guilt and innocence, for example -- never accumulate.
It's a cheap, easy rehash of Spielberg's "Duel" and "The Hitchhiker" (which Red may not have seen)--along with grabs from "Halloween" (the unstoppable fiend), "Jackson County Jail" (the innocent motorist driven outside the law) and "Straw Dogs" (manhood through blood rites). Nothing is original.
On its own terms, this movie is diseased and corrupt. 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.
This easily qualifies for my all-time most frightening movies list. Rutger Hauer is incredible as the evil character who can't be reasoned with and will stop at nothing to commit mayhem, etc. C. Thomas Howell seemed exactly right in the role. An absolute recommendation for late-night streaming (in a group... with "finger" food)
I appreciate the uniqueness of it but my god, This is a pretty slow and boring movie. The "action" fails to excite and there isn't much dialogue to really get a top-notch performance out of the cast, although they do try their best.