Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Hitcher (1986)



Reviews and Comments

Picking up a hitchhiker turns out to be a grievous mistake in this flaky thriller, where a hitchhiker makes a game out of terrorizing someone who picks him up and killing off his companions. He has an irritating habit of showing up wherever he is required, even after his trail should have gone cold. This might have worked, though, if not for the final twenty minutes, which seem deliberately crafted to be maximally unsatisfying. A morbid plot twist seems to exist for no better reason than to stick it to the audience, and this is immediately followed by an absurd series of contrived events. The final scene depends far too much on vehicles starting and failing to start at key moments and people reviving from unconsciousness with dramatically precise timing.

Movies like this are machines, crafted to draw and release suspense. The good ones do so without shattering the illusion of plausibility and exposing the calculation in their construction. The Hitcher begins this way, then pushes too far, overheats, burns off its camouflage, and keeps grinding away long after enough is enough is enough.