DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Hitcher
The Hitcher
HBO
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted March 12, 2000 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
CineSchlock-O-Rama

When I think of C. Thomas Howell ... I immediately think of Steve Miner's wacky affirmative action picture, Soul Man. It must be on Comedy Central at least twice a day. It's darn near inescapable. Anyway, the same year Howell would do the movie we'd be tortured with for years to come, he also did an edgy little horror film called The Hitcher (1986, 98 minutes). But, to be honest, he's the least interesting thing in the movie. Rutger Hauer (Bladerunner, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is the REAL star as the homicidal maniac hitchhiker, with a death wish, named John Ryder. Get it? R-I-D-E-R. Let's all join in a collective groan.

The movie: Howell is this total weenie, Jim Halsey, from Chicago driving cross country on his way to San Diego, when he tries to break up the monotony of the open road by picking up a hitchhiker. Something his mother (and mine) warned him against ever doing. Turns out mom knew best, because Ryder starts babbling about the fella he just dismembered and squishie eyeballs and stuff. Halsey manages to dispose of his unwanted passenger, but the hitcher takes a real shine to the boy and commences high speed stalking. He offs a bunch of folks along the way. Including a family in a station wagon. Halsey gets more and more freaked out, but he's in West Texas and there ain't no one but jack rabbits to whine to about it. And anyone he MIGHT have told Ryder gets to first. Except for Jennifer Jason Leigh (as Nash) who makes a mean hamburger and fries. But before Halsey can say much, the police arrest HIM for the highway murders. Shazam! And to fully develop the "cat and mouse" plot, Ryder kills all the jailers and essentially busts the kid out of the joint. Through amazing luck, Nash and Halsey meet up again, and she buys the fact he isn't the REAL killer. Then the Texas Rangers get involved and car chases break out. It all leads up to Nash being strung between a tractor trailer and semi by Ryder, who threatens to gun it if Halsey doesn't shoot HIM in the brainpan. Huh? Oh, wait, he's crazy. I forgot. You'll have to see for yourself how that works out. But my favorite part is when the Hitcher catches his last ride by jumping, from a moving bus, head first through the windshield of a pursuing truck. Then there's the more or less man-o y man-o conclusion. Pretty dang satisfying.

Notables: 18 corpses. Loogie hocking. Exploding gas station. Gratuitous dream sequence. Finger rolls. Puking. Shotgun ventilations. Blood licking. Multiple high speed chases with crash and burn. Helicopter chase. Advanced hitchhiking.

Quotables: Not much really, but Rutger Hauer (as Ryder) asks a couple of great rhetorical questions, "Do you want to know what happens to an eyeball when it gets punctured? You got any idea how much blood jets out of a guy's neck when his throat's been slit?" Um, sure, buddy.

Time codes: C. Thomas Howell emotes (8:55). Hey, you'll need more than ketchup to choke THAT down (29:58). The Hitcher guns down a copter with five rounds and causes a real insurance nightmare (1:05:30). Everyone's favorite tug-a-starlet scene (1:17:00). Ryder catches a ride, the hard way (1:29:00).

Audio/Video: For the first 20 minutes of the movie, I would have sworn I was watching it through the screen door of my grandpa's lake house. A real mess during the nighttime opening. It clears up, more or less, later on. In fact, some of the widescreen vistas (2.35:1) are downright purty. There are two audio tracks: Dolby 5.1 and Dolby surround.

Extras: Cast bios. Trailer. Animated menu. Please, try to contain your excitement. I do like the subtle touch of placing the scene selections in rear-view mirrors, though.

Final thought: Pretty good flick. Shades of Duel. Rutger Hauer is damned convincing. And there are some genuinely suspenseful moments. Poor image quality earns the disc a lower rating. Rent it.

Check out CineSchlock-O-Rama
for additional reviews and bonus features.

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use