The Hitcher (2007)

Genre(s): Action / Drama / Horror / Thriller
Rogue Pictures || R - 84 minutes - $29.98 || May 1, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-05-08


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Dave Meyers
Writer(s): Eric Red and Jake Wade Wall and Eric Bernt (screenplay)
Cast: Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Neal McDonough


Theatrical Release Date: January 19, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Dead End
  • Road Kill: The Ultimate Car Crash
  • Fuel Your Fear: The Making of The Hitcher
  • Chronicles of a Killer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot (from DVD Back Cover): A road trip takes a deadly turn in this terrifying thriller about a young couple (Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton) tormented by a psychotic hitchhiker (Sean Bean) who forces them to face their fears head-on.

The Hitcher is producer Michael Bay’s latest remake of a classic horror-thriller that began in 2003 with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and continued with The Amityville Horror with The Birds next in his sight for 2009. Now, I don’t find his remaking of these classics a form of blasphemy because in some ways, I kind of liked those remakes a bit (about a 3/5 on my scale for each). However, with The Hitcher, this comes across better as a direct-to-DVD flick than one made for theaters.

If anything, though, any success The Hitcher has it because of the incredibly underrated Sean Bean playing hitchhiker John Ryder, a drifter with no home and no identity to speak of. Much like Leatherface, Ryder is merely there to terrorize and kill people for, apparently, no reason.

The two victims played by the lovely Sophia Bush (John Tucker Must Die) and Zachary Knighton (The Prince & Me) are suitable for these roles that aren’t given much else except to run, scream and be terrorized. Nothing more, nothing less. And quite frankly, I don’t think anything more was needed from the parts since the primary focus of the film is on either the blood and mayhem and/or the cars (in the classic vein of Vanishing Point).

Director Dave Meyers makes his feature film debut and, much like the two college students on the run, makes the most of what he could. Say what you will about Bay and his remakes, he does give aspiring filmmakers a chance and even though I don’t know if Meyers has a future in Hollywood filmmaking, he does a reasonable job with the thrills and chills of a limited story.

The Hitcher isn’t some great thriller by any means, but given its VERY short runtime (77-minutes without end credits), it would make a fine movie to watch with friends on a Saturday night.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Deleted Scenes (22:52) - 8 deleted scenes including an alternate ending that was “too terrifying for theaters”. A few other scenes were actually alternate edits ranging from Sophia Bush waking up in bed with Bean at her side, another without and other variations on that. These scenes and others also show little additions like Bush getting the jail key and other stuff along those lines. I’m surprised Rogue Pictures didn’t use some of these to create an “Unrated” cut.

Dead End (12:40) - Featurette showing how the infamous truck scene was shot using the real person and a dummy. As its stated here, this scene is actually shown whereas the old version was cutaway and left to the viewer’s imagination.

Road Kill: The Ultimate Car Crash (9:57) - Cool featurette showing off the three main car stunts in the film, focusing primarily on the one in the climax. I become fascinated with these as it lets the viewer in on the “Hollywood Magic”.

Fuel Your Fear: The Making of The Hitcher (10:48) - This is another typical ‘making-of’ stuff with comments from the cast and crew talking about their experience on the set.

The last feature is the Chronicles of a Killer (4:35) which is just a dumb mock-television report covering Ryder’s crimes.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 2.40 OAR, and looks just fine. The black levels are crisp and I didn’t notice any dust or scratches as should be the case for a new movie like this.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is suitable with most of the work done by the center speaker for dialogue and the side speakers make use of car crashes and blood curdling screams.



.::OVERALL::.

The Hitcher might not be a good horror-thriller, nor was it really necessary, but I was at least semi-entertained by it. It makes for a fun short flick to watch with some pals but other than that, I cannot say it’s worth buying. Either rent it or wait for it to become available used at places like Hollywood Video.