While the rest of Hollywood exhausts the world’s reserves of recyclable 1970s schlock—is that a poster in the megaplex lobby for the goddamn Hills Have Eyes 2?—music-vid whiz Dave Meyers sets his way-back machine for dimly remembered 1986 and fetches a beat-for-beat remake of Robert Harmon’s sick, scary cult fave about a cross-country driver who picks up a hitchhiking Terminator on a homicide spree. Sean Bean, stubbly and sinister but no match for Rutger Hauer’s archangel-of-death gravitas in the original, plays the unexplained psycho, who slaughters cops and civilians aplenty as he dares motorists Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton to retire his opposable digits. Alas, switching the hero from a lone driver to a couple spoils the original’s most intriguing idea: that the mass-murdering jackal may be the driver’s own escaped id. That leaves little to fill 83 expendable minutes, which barely register as a movie even with snazzy KNB gore effects, critic-baiting clips from The Birds, and a splattery variation on the ’86 Hitcher‘s most notorious scene. Meyers lays on the shallow focus with a dusting of the art-directed scuzz that passes for grindhouse revivalism nowadays, but to little avail: This Hitcher is all thumbs.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 16, 2007