Macabre...ish Horror Review: The Hitcher

The Hitcher, 1986/ 98 min. On the road, transporting a vehicle from Chicago to San Diego, Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) makes the biggest mistake of his life by picking up a hitchhiker aka John Ryder(Rutger Hauer). This particular hitchhiker is a serial killer and he likes to play his sick, twisted games with the unsuspecting drivers who pick him up. Terrorizing them with his gruesome stories of his past antics until he finally disposes of them. 


Except Jim, apparently, is intriguing to this guy and makes his game more interesting with the level of fight he puts up and his will to live. As the movie goes on and Jim, runs, hides and thwarts the Hitcher (John), there are a lot more victims as evidenced by a scattering of vehicles on the sides of roads, body parts showing up in Jim’s food, individuals and entire families are wiped out by this maniac.


The game gets more interesting when Jim’s arrested and wakes up in a jail cell, in a police department where all the cops have been murdered. And finally he hooks up with a woman he meets working at her cousin’s diner, named Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and she becomes a part of the game as well, to her own gruesome end.


Clearly there’s only one way to end this game, either Jim dies or John does. Until then, the game goes on.


This is a great story. Eerie as hell. Some blood, bodies and body parts. Not especially graphic but with enough hints that the lack of visual effects is somehow scarier than seeing the detail. This is masterful horror movie making. Also there’s a lot of action in this movie, gun fire, explosions etc.


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