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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Hitcher

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for strong bloody violence, terror and language.
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Couple kissing in shower, non-explicit
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Intense and graphic violence, brutal killings, disturbing images, torture
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:2007
DVD Release Date:2007
F+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong bloody violence, terror and language.
Profanity: Very strong language
Nudity/Sex: Couple kissing in shower, non-explicit
Alcohol/Drugs: None
Violence/Scariness: Intense and graphic violence, brutal killings, disturbing images, torture
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: 2007
DVD Release Date: 2007

John Ryder returns in this remake of the 1986 horror
film, and this time he has his eyes (and knives, and guns, and fleet
of constantly-changing automobiles-turned-weapons) on not the young
man driving but the young woman in the passenger’s seat. Those who
have seen the original will know the drill: Ryder (originally played
by Rutger Hauer and now by Sean Bean) is a deranged roadster who
follows his target down the long, winding roads of desert highways,
plowing through innocent people and framing his mark for the
resulting murders in an unexplained chase.


The premise sounds simple enough, and indeed it is:
“Don’t pick up strangers.” Unfortunately for this film, the
lesson is one that needs no further explanation, certainly not in the
form of gratuitously violent and frustratingly sub-par filmmaking.

Primarily a music video
director known for his long list of musical clients, Dave Meyers has
shown talent in previous work, but seems to have approached “The
Hitcher” as a formulaic hit for the MTV crowd, foregoing any
sophisticated terror techniques in favor of canned dialogue and
predictable hunt-escape maneuvers. While there are a number of
startling, jolt-inducing moments, by far the most shocking moments
are each time one of the two main characters has a choice to make and
without fail picks the only-in-a-movie worst possible option. There are a few
redeeming moments, most of which involve the skilled pairing of music
and action (especially notable in a car chase), but one
could get all of the benefit of similar skill in Meyers’ music videos, thus
avoiding the unnecessary carnage that litters this dead-end project.


Parents should know that this film is exceptionally
gory, with many deaths including profusely bleeding stab wounds, a
very graphic throat-splitting, and a scene in which a living person
is shown tied between two trucks and torn apart. Granted, they are in
a difficult situation from the beginning, but for purposes of keeping the thin plot going the two main characters,
Grace and Jim (Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton), make disastrously
poor choices throughout the film, including being belligerent with
police officers instead of complying with protocol and then sharing
their story.


Families who see this film should talk about what might
have gone differently had Jim and Grace cooperated with the police
officers; although they were suspects, the two young students could
have appreciated that the officers were following protocol, and
instead of resisting could have talked calmly with the police to
clarify the situation. Parents should also discuss road safety with
teenagers and decide
on procedures to follow in specific situations (what to do, for
example, if they see someone standing on the road with a broken-down
car).


Families who enjoy this film might also enjoy the original and the very
similar film Joy Ride, in which three young people are pursued by a
blood-thirsty trucker (played by Steve Zahn). They should also see how a brilliant director handles a similar story in the made-for-television Duel, the first feature directed by Steven Spielberg.

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