It used to be quite common to see two or three people on the side of the road, thumbs in the air and walking backward to make eye contact with drivers and ask for a ride. Every so often, one of those people would get the ride they were after, too. Though effective enough the majority of the time, people were always warned to never pick up hitch-hikers, and to never take rides from strangers. Although hitch-hiking is far less popular in the 21st century than it had been in decades prior, it’s still done, and every once in a while, we still hear those same old warnings. Unfortunately, there will always be those determined to learn things the hard way.
Jim (Zachary Knighton) and Grace (Sophia Bush) are a young, collegiate couple who plan to drive to New Mexico in order to spend their spring break with her friends. Things start off just fine until Jim decides that his life has been going too well thus far and, ignoring his girlfriend’s advice (and her safety and comfort), decides to give a ride to a creepy hitchhiker by the name of John Ryder (Sean Bean), because everybody needs more stress in their lives, right? What starts off as a very calm (albeit awkward) ride soon turns deadly when John attacks and threatens the couple.
For the next hour or so, the audience has to witness John putting Jim, Grace, and various other drivers and passengers through hell. Torture, murder, blackmail, and even framing the couple for a variety of crimes are all on John’s agenda but from start to finish, it’s never made clear why he targeted the them, or what his motivation is. Though The Hitcher is scary in a “There are some dangerous people out there!”, cautionary tale kind of way, has a great soundtrack, and features very well-choreographed action sequences, it’s literally void of all sense, common or otherwise.
I give this one 3 stars.