Congratulations go to Platinum Dunes for yet another remake that fails to live up to the film that it was based on. The Hitcher lacks the action and suspense of the original and relies on a flood of gore to frighten its audience. Coupled with a surprisingly good performance by Sean Bean this is not much better than the other remakes that the studio produced.
In classic remake fashion the story winds up suffering by comparison to the original film which had enough action to make you question if it really was a horror film at all. Naturally all of the thrills have leaked out of this film and instead we are left with some half-baked scares coated with the usual flood of needless gore. Interestingly the protagonist is the girl this time which doesn’t have a massive impact on the story so why they bothered doing that is a mystery. Then again why did they bother remaking any of these films? Nobody asked Michael Bay to ruin them did they? The story concludes in a similar way to the original, unlike most other remakes which change the ending completely.
There really aren’t any effects here that hadn’t been used before in Platinum Dunes plethora of remakes. A major disappointment comes towards the end of the film. Remember that bit in the original where the girl gets ripped in half by the big truck. Well in this they do the audience the disservice of showing the victim getting torn apart and trust me when I say that it looks really quite pathetic. A bit of CGI comes right at the start of the film, where a hare gets squashed by a car, which is near embarrassing because it is so obviously not a real animal. Of course the studio executives would probably have been castrated if they permitted the killing of a real animal. As for the blood effects they are of the same old quality. Just forget them.
Whether it was a wise decision to make the protagonist a girl depends purely on your view of the main character, Jim, from the first film who is demoted to bland victim in this gore ride. Sophia Bush does the best she can as Grace Andrews and all in all is okay from my point of view, though, I think that Jim was seriously better in the original. Speaking of which here Jim is portrayed adequately by Zachary Knighton who despite what was likely his best effort fails to match C. Thomas Howell who was flat out excellent and not as weak willed. The central performance here comes from Sean Bean who gives his all as the psychotic and madly charismatic Hitcher. Unfortunately the plain and simple fact is despite everything in the end Rutger Hauer was far more impressive which is not at all surprising when you think about it. Generally the acting is okay just nothing special when compared to the old cast.
This is a weak and unimpressive remake which fails to stand up to the incredible original. The effects are embarrassing and the only really redeemable feature is the acting, particularly the remarkable performance by Sean Bean. While it isn’t god awful like the Halloween remake The Hitcher is a limp and feeble effort by Platinum Dunes.