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HITCHER, THE

SYNOPSIS:
When holiday-bound high school lovers Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton) and Grace Andrews (Sophia Bush) get stuck with a lone hitchhiker late one rainy night, their reservations are quickly confirmed as their passenger, John Ryder (Sean Bean), turns nasty. However, it's only after the young couple barely escape with their lives that the real trouble begins. Ryder's gone on a killing spree, and he's framing them for the murders. Running from the police while chasing the true killer, Jim and Grace must live as outlaws and vigilantes while trying to stop the slaughter and prove their own innocence.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Distributors know that most critics will write off as bad taste exploitation this remake of the 1986 (dir Robert Harmon) original, so it wasn't previewed, but I didn't expect to be the single audience member at the film's first commercial session at a major Sydney suburban multiplex. I was hoping a crowd of teenagers and 20 somethings would provide some vocal feedback with screams and gasps, but alas, the only sound came from the screen.

Unlike the original film, this remake replaces the single driver with a college couple - and the entiretone of the film. The suggestion of some metaphysical element that is added to the concept of stranger danger on the dark highways - in this case of New Mexico - is risible in its execution. But the film does offer a wonderfully black characterisation by Sean Bean as the hitchhiker from psycho hell. The script is bloodsoaked, predictable as well as meaningless, and there is little else to recommend the film unless you're after mindless shocks and like to be in the company of a couple of youngsters who are made out to be a bit stupid.

The final showdown is meant to carry the metaphysical elements to their ultimate conclusion, but it ends up just like any other violent thriller.

The mayhem is force 10 scale and the intensity of the film is well maintained so even at 83 minutes, if this is what you're after, you'll get your money's worth. I just hope you can share it with a few fellow travellers for greater effect.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

THE HITCHER (R)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Neal McDonough, Kyle Davis,

PRODUCER: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Alfred Haber, David Linde, Charles R. Meeker

DIRECTOR: Dave Meyers

SCRIPT: Eric Red, Jake Wade Wall, Eric Bernt (original story Eric Red)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: James Hawkinson

EDITOR: Jim May

MUSIC: Steve Jablonsky

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David Lazan

RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 8, 2007







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