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The Hitcher

Year: 1986
Production Co: HBO Pictures
Director: Robert Harmon
Writer: Eric Reid
Cast: Rutger Hauer, C Thomas Howell, Jeffiner Jason Leigh

I don't remember this being a particularly popular or ground-breaking movie at the time, but it has a kind of cult status now to the extent it was inevitably remade more recently.

C Thomas Howell is a young guy driving across America when he picks up an enigmatic man hitching rides (Hauer). Soon realising the guy is a psycho, the guy gets him out of his car and thinks his problems are over.

But the nightmare has just begun as the hitcher stalks him, leaving bodies in his wake and framing the hero for the crimes.

It was a good idea, but one thing decisively broke my suspension of disbelief and pushed me rudely out of the movie. The pair are coming up towards a broken down car, the hero thinks they should stop and help but the hitcher knows it's the scene of his grisly previous handiwork.

As they approach, he grabs the kids leg and presses it down on the accelerator, making him speed past. The kid protests a little bit, the hitcher ignores him, and they keep driving, the kid shutting up. Would you really do that no matter how scared you were (and I don't think he was by that stage)?

There was at least one great scene - where the kid awakens in the prison cell and finds the door open, the cops all slaughtered and his way clear to go. For a minute I thought the sequence was a dream.

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