Starring: C. Thomas Howell, Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jeffrey DeMunn
Director: Robert Harmon
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars
A young man (Howell) driving through a lonely stretch of desert escapes death at the hands of a self-destructive homicidal maniac (Hauer), only to find himself hunted both by the killer and the police.
The original 1986 "The Hitcher" is a movie that wastes no time in getting started--barely five minutes in, our hero, Jim Halsey, picks up the insane hitchhiker John Ryder, setting of a terrying chain of ever-intensifying and expanding mayhem that don't stop until the end credits start to roll. And if you haven't heard much about the film, its one that will surprise you at every plot twist--it really IS as clever and unexpected as the filmakers believed it to be.
In fact, "The Hitcher" is one of those movies that a reviewer can ruin by writing too much about, so I'm just going to say that the film moves at a pace faster than the cars involved in the numerous chases in the film, it's intense and scary witha minimum of on-screen gore, and every actor featured gives excellent performances. In fact, Rutger Hauer creates one of the greatest villains to ever grace the silver screen in this picture.
If you've never seen "The Hitcher" and you are a fan of thrillers and horror movies, you MUST see this film. (If you've seen the remake, some of the surprises may be ruined--based on stills I've seen, some of the "iconic" moments repeat between the two versions--so I'm not sure if it's a must-see in that case. I haven't seen the remake, so I don't actually know how the two compare. But, given how few of the modern remakes are any good, I suspect the original will still blow your socks off.)