Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Hitcher(1986)

This 80's thriller was directed by Robert Harmon and stars C.Thomas Howell and Rutger Hauer. It is a great action/thriller and there are plenty of thrills in it to satisfy a horror fan. It is well-made and the actors are good in it. There was a dodgy remake in 2007 starring Sean Bean, but I think the less said about that, the better. There was no comparison to this great movie.

Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell), is delivering a car from Chicago to San Diego when he picks up a hitch-hiker(not a very smart move) who is called John Ryder(Rutger Hauer). John seems quiet, but normal until they drive past an abandoned car. John tells Jim that the car is left there because he murdered and mutilated the driver and that he is going to do the same to Jim. Jim is understandably terrified by this freak and when John pulls a knife on him, Jim pushes him out of the car. Jim is relieved and he continues on his journey when he is passed by a station wagon with a family inside and Ryder! Jim tries to warn them, but it's too late.
When Jim finally finds the station wagon, everyone has been killed.

He is pursued by Ryder and it seems that he will have to fight to escape with his life. Jim finds him at a gas station. Ryder blows up the place . Jim flees to a diner where he meets a waitress called Nash(Jennifer Jason Leigh). He calls the cops and then has something to eat. He finds a severed finger in his food. The cops arrest HIM as they think that he is responsible and he tries to explain that it isn't HIM, but Ryder who is the killer. Jim is brought to the local station and booked. Of course, Ryder has followed him there and murdered the cops. Jim runs away as cops come looking for him.
Jim takes a cop hostage and demands to talk to someone who will believe his story. This person is the captain(Jeffrey DeMunn) who suspects that maybe Jim is not lying. Here comes Ryder again(does this guy ever give up?) and shoots the cops and the radio. Jim tries to kill himself with a revolver but changes his mind and decides to get Ryder.

Jim confronts his nemesis and asks him why. Ryder doesn't give him a straight answer. He just tells him that he should know. Jim gets onto a bus and finds that Nash is on it. He tries to convince her that he is innocent. She believes his story. Jim is caught by the cops and he and Nash escape in a cop car after he pulls a gun on them. Ryder comes along again and helps Jim to escape. Jim and Nash hide in a motel and of course, Ryder comes back(yes, again!) and he kidnaps Nash. You just know that this isn't going to be pretty! He gets Jim to come to him and tries to get him to shoot him. Jim refuses to, knowing that Ryder will kill Nash if he does. Ryder kills Nash by pulling her apart(Ouch!) The cops come and arrest Ryder(Finally!). Jim is in shock. The cops are baffled as they can't find anything to say who Ryder is. He has no social security number, no driving licence. They put him in the police truck and are going to transport him to prison. Ryder manages to escape (is there no stopping this man?) and Jim is faced with him yet again. Jim runs him over and finally shoots him. He is left alone and smoking a cigarette at the end of the movie.

This is action non-stop with some great scenes. I recommend it to anyone who likes action/thriller/ horror. Rutger Hauer is creepy and very good as the elusive John Ryder. I will give this an 8/10. It is a modern classic.


grottogirl said...

Oh yes, another great movie. This was back when Rutger Hauer was at his best.

Anonymous said...

This movie is just awesome, it really grips your soul and refuses to let go, it's by far the best 80s murder/ thriller film I've seen & I like it far more than the Halloween movies. I agree that Rutger Hauer was in his prime here, he's an excellent and believable madman as John Ryder, the Hitcher.

Rutger is my fav actor now, I've watched quite a lot of his films & stuff from the 80s and 90s. He's been in a lot of direct to video mumbo jumbo but quite a few good uns too. I believe that Mr Hauer is totally underrated as he's a real talent. he deserved better than some of the movies he was in during the 90s.

Mr Hauer is still going strong at 74 & still acting, he's lost none of his charm and quirkiness and still looks like himself ,remained true to who he is & hasn't gone down the stupid surgery route like certain older Hollywood actors...and he's still got those penetratingly unnerving, seductive blue eyes.

To finish, I think the Hitcher deserves 10/10 score just for the sheer mystery of the movie and its wild, raw, frightening desert location and also 10/10 for the excellent cast. A superb movie.

Amanda said...

Thanks for commenting! Yes, he is a great actor and I have enjoyed him in many movies over the years. He has continued to act and he shows no signs of stopping which is a good thing. I love The Hitcher and it is one of the highlights of the 1980's! It is a great movie with some creepy scenes, thanks to Hauer!

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