The Red Right Hand
  www.theredrighthand.co.uk





THE HITCHER
Never Pick Up Strangers

Director
Dave Meyers
Starring
Sean Bean
Sophia Bush
Zachary Knighton
Neal McDonough

Mid-long haired, muscled bloke with a 70's Oldsmobile picks up his giddy girlfriend to the sounds of an upbeat pop-rock track, amidst plenty of road-kill shots. Yeah, you know you're in for a good horror movie with that opening combo. Suddenly it's dark and raining and there's no signal on their mobile phones and there's a crazy hitchhiker in the road that they narrowly miss but avoid by speeding away into the night and ARGHHHHHH what a crappy re-make this is turning out to be! On the plus side the crazy hitcher is Sean Bean and his regular "I can't do any accent other than my own to save my life" has improved immensely. Unfortunately, that's about the only plus that I could see. The film's various components are your fairly run-of-the-mill, bulk standard road-horror-movie elements and I had difficulties watching.

Sean Bean plays John Ryder, crazy psycho-killer who gets picked up by an assortment of people and slashes at them all, taking a particular liking to our lead teens, Grace [Bush] & Tim [Knighton]. Only just escaping the crazed Ryder, they head out on the road but pull over for the night. The next day they come across a cute family and start to discuss kids, everything seems to be alright again. BUT WAIT! BEAN! BEAN IN THE BACK OF THE CAR! After failing to warn a family of the dangerous man they've picked up, the teens skid off the road and wreck their car. Why? Crazy phantom truck, that's why! That's right, driving alongside to warn them but who could have predicted that a huge arctic lorry would be coming in the opposite direction? Who, I ask you? Who would have also predicted that on this long, open desert road, that Tim wouldn't have seen the truck until the last minute? I really can't understand re-making classic horror/thriller flicks, especially if the original was good! If it was good, how could you possibly go wrong? For the answer, we simply need turn to director Dave Meyers. Meyers is a director, of sorts - which basically means that he's a music video director; anything after three or four minutes and he starts to panic. On the other hand, the cinematography is pretty well done but the problem is the similarities between this and the producer's other right royal foul-ups: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre & The Amityville Horror. Damn you, Michael Bay.

Two teenagers spend eighty three minutes running from scene-to-scene, narrowly escaping death and 'him.' The whole pointless nature of the film is nothing compared to the unrealistic appearances of Ryder at every possible moment. He successfully takes out a whole family, a police station full of people and a variety of cars. I can't convey to you just how much I abhorred watching this film. There was one highlight that made me exceedingly happy and that was the (possibly somewhat inappropriate) sound of Closer by Nine Inch Nails playing over a chase-scene-gone-wrong. One of the elements that made the original so enthralling was the pacing. Originally, Grace was called Nash (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) but she didn't appear until about mid-way through. This sounds like a simple change but it added to the fear because we had witnessed the hitcher's cat-and-mouse game, we knew what he was capable of and that the introduction of this new element would be catastrophic; you knew it was coming and there was nothing you could do about it. Which is very different from Knighton & Bush in a shower to wash away the blood (from her hands... ah, excuses for nudity) followed by Knighton saying, "I'm gonna call our folks, see if they can sort something out... I'll be back in fifteen minutes" and knowing that there's nothing you can do about it. When the credits finally rolled up I couldn't help but wonder what had been achieved by the end of this film. There was no emotional attachment, no intelligence and absolutely no point. Do you remember the opening scene of an old horror movie, when you'd witness some poor bastards getting chopped up (just so we know the killer is serious) but it wasn't really addressed and nobody else cared? Now imagine it for a good hour and a half. I realise this may appear a short review... but that's only because I had to bite my tongue so often.

Release Date:
6th April 2007

The Scene To Look Out For:
Every one at the police station is dead. Their plan? Well, they don't really have a plan but Ms. Bush feels it's high-time she had a fight. So she turns to her boyfriend and blames him for the whole thing, stating he should have listened to her. I love that stuff. "What was I supposed to do?" Followed by a cold, "You should have listened to me!" and a dramatic turn then walking away from him. Of all the situations you think of storming off, you pick this one? But do they go back to the police? No! They're all dead, he killed them all! He will just kill anyone else they send! They can't go back to the police... who have their records and are the only real help they'll find. This is, however, New Mexico, so the only 'real' help they found was a .38.

Notable Characters:
The big white cowboy hats? Well done, son. You've just graduated the New Mexico state police, here's your badge, gun and HUGE WHITE COWBOY HAT! YEE-HAW! Now, go fight some Goddamn crime! Only kidding, even though his omnipotence pissed me off, Sean Bean did an alright job as the psychotic stalker.

Highlighted Quote:
"Why are you wasting your time in here with me? You should be looking for him!"

In A Few Words:
"Once again, the classic tale of don't go wondering around in the bloody desert is truer than ever, especially not if you're trying to remake an 80's film"

Total Score:
2/10


Matthew Stogdon