Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Halloween reboot #5 The Hitcher

The Hitcher is a road horror/thriller that involves a dude named Jim travelling across country to return a car. Along the way he runs afoul of a psycho hitchhiker that plays all sorts of horrible and deadly games with Jim. It is a damn fun film you can read my previous review of it 
here....1986 The Hitcher review click here!
The Hitcher Movie Poster

Now along comes a music video director and Michael Bay to repackage and release a new version of The Hitcher.
The Hitcher 2007
Here we meet Grace and Zac who are starting their spring break together to drive across country to…somewhere. Along the way they decide to help a hitchhiker on a rainy night, one John Ryder (played by Sean Bean!). This is, of course, a bad idea as John pulls a knife on them and is quickly thrown out of the car. Problem solved. Right? Wrong of course. Now John Ryder is after the couple and leaving a bunch of bodies in his wake.

The Hitcher reboot really tries to stay faithful to the original. There are several scenes that are pulled from the original film with only a few minor tweaks. The story also stays faithful to the original for the most part. Hell, my man crush is also in it. I loves me some Sean Bean. All this being said, it is not really good, thrilling or really fun.

"Hey babe are we terrible characters?"
"Yes we are sweet pants. yes we are."
The first issue is the addition of an extra character from the start. Why? Well this means that you have to give these two people dialogue, and that dialogue is just abysmal. It also doesn’t help matters that these two people are just devoid of likeability. Sure, Grace (Sophia Bush), is easy on the eyes but that is it. Their interactions are terrible. They spend a majority of the time repeating inane dialogue back and forth. I know this is common in all these movies, but it was just grating in this one. They never seem to shut up for more than a minute. You are stuck listening to these two vapid characters prattle on, and repeat dialogue back to each other. Gods they are the worst!
He is making this face because he just realized this movie is shite!
Then there is the villain, John Ryder, played by Sean Bean. He will at least be a fun bad guy! I was hoping for great stuff here, but didn’t really get it. The original John was played by Rutger Hauer. Holy crap did he just exude psychotic in the original film! You never knew what was going to happen with him in that film! He was next level crazy, but with a level head and the occasional bit of gallows humor. Sean Bean’s John Ryder was just sort of really detached and seemed suicidal. Where he seemed like he would rather die than succumb to his murderous impulses. He never felt like a great nemesis and that might be due to the fact that he was playing against a couple the entire film and not just one dude.

The film also gives you the more more more that screams Michael Bay. More explosions! More action! More blood! More noise! There is no restraint! You have to see and experience everything. People still don’t get that less can really be more in some situations. Take the station wagon family from the original film. You know they were dispatched by and all you see is the car on the roadside and some blood on the windows. You know it is awful by the reaction from Jim who stumbles upon the scene. It works so well and is way more creepy than actually showing what was done to the family. Once again a reboot shows everything it can, because it has to for some reason.
Reboot with more extreme reboot event.
There is also the typical trope of people feeling no pain and pretty people staying pretty. If you want the villain to have some crazy level of pain tolerance that is one thing. However to have a couple remain largely unscathed and pretty clean after various car chases, foot chased, wrecks and some gun play. It is just so annoying and is a common theme, “pretty people stay pretty against all odds.”
I'm cute and no matter what happens I'll stay 98% free of dirt, blood and grime.
Now they do give the film a role reversal for some reason. I guess to spice things up or to try and reach a larger audience? Where the original film had Jim facing off against the hitchhiker throughout, the reboot eventually just has the Grace facing down with the crazy road wanderer. Why? Well why not I guess. It is a pretty weak change and falls into either the typical horror final girl, girl power, change for change sake or a mix of these categories. It really doesn’t work well. Well, it might if you never saw the original and like the standard final girl scheme of horror stuff. I found it ultra-lame and even more unbelievable.
"We have these guns but how do we use them?"
"Don't worry babe. Well be experts in a matter of seconds. Duh."
Grace never really faces danger well and all she really does is run, scream, hide, react (kind of) try and get her witless wooden boyfriend killed. Then she is suddenly a bad ass at the close of the film? She is part of the pair that John Ryder has framed as roadway serial killers? Yeah he does that to this dimwitted hapless couple. Really? What person on this planet would believe that? What a load of crap!
"Here's Johnn..." Wait! wrong movie trope.
This movie blows! I know the original isn’t great, but damn it! It is a fun horror/thriller road movie. The reboot of The Hitcher is not fun. It is not fun at all! Even the car chase set to NIN. The reboot Hitcher tries too hard to assault the senses, has the worst opening song that never ends, throws in an unbelievable role reversal 3/4 of the way through, has horrible main characters and ruins an awesome villain. 
Alright the next bit of reboot horror that will inevitably suck is…..The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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