Music video director Dave Meyers's debut film is an updated version of the 1986 shocker of the same name, featuring Sean Bean (THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy) in the title role of a chillingly sadistic hitchhiker. Twenty-something couple Grace (a mini-skirted Sophia Bush from ONE TREE HILL) and Jim (Zachary Knighton) embark on a road trip across the American Southwest to meet up with Grace's friends on vacation. Things get off to a bad start when they almost run over a hitchhiker in the middle of a rainstorm, and then leave him to fend for himself. When they later run into the man who calls himself John Ryder (Bean), at a gas station, their consciences get the best of them, and they agree to give him a ride to the next town. The couple's passenger quickly turns on his hosts, and although they manage to escape, he follows them and makes their lives a living hell. Soon, Grace and Jim find themselves framed for John Ryder's vicious crimes, and they are on the run from both the authorities and the Hitcher, of whose existence no one but they are aware. As their flight gets increasingly desperate and the Hitcher's methods of torture more brutal, Grace and Jim struggle desperately to discern what the man wants, and why he has chosen them. The film benefits from its beautiful, desolate desert setting, as it highlights the solitude and desperation of the couple's situation. Despite a few problems of plausibility and the frequent foolishness of the protagonists--of which horror fans are well-accustomed--THE HITCHER delivers fright in all the right places, as well as beautiful women and plenty of gore.
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