Thursday, May 3, 2007

May 3rd Log

1986, Robert Harmon, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Having not seen either film, I decided to rent both versions of The Hitcher and watch them back to back. First up, the 1986 original directed by Robert Harmon. I can’t really say I enjoyed this film, but it does at least have some genre qualities that make it watchable. The films greatest strength lies in the performance of Rutger Hauer, who is menacing as “the hitcher” John Ryder. There are certainly ridiculous moments at work here, but Hauer’s performance is consistently strong throughout. The opening sequences are engrossing and in fact it is really the opening scene that sets the entire story in motion). The Hitcher has earned cult status and one of the most discussed scenes is the one in which Jennifer Jason Leigh is tied in-between two trucks. The Hitcher has its qualities and is really a pretty simple horror/thriller. I think the concept of a hitcher-hiker horror film probably works more effectively in the 1960s or 70s yet you get the feeling there are some thematic undertones underneath the simple plot of the film. Perhaps that is why this has grown its cult reputation and attracted none other then Michael Bay to develop a modern-day remake.

2007, Dave Meyers, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Michael Bay seems determined to remake every popular horror/thriller ever made. His latest (as producer) is the 1986 film directed by Robert Harmon. While I can’t say the original is all that much a “classic” to me, I undoubtedly prefer it to this mess. Here Bay hires (big surprise) a music video director. From the opening title card and first shot (a rabbit getting run over) the film seems to force the issue. While the original was not a great film at least it had a sense of some imagination. These Michael Bay remakes seem to completely misunderstand and ultimately disrespect there originals by attempting to out due them as if they were never made. In the end, this version of The Hitcher is a straightforward remake with the minor changes essentially losing the impact of the original narrative. This version is simply set to throw everything at use and force the issue as if we are viewing something groundbreaking. If this film has anything positive it is that Sophia Bush is very attractive, though that hardly does the film any justice. I simply did not enjoy this at all.


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