YMMV / The Hitcher

  • Complete Monster: John Ryder, the mysterious vagabond Serial Killer, gains a twisted obsession with the young hero Jim Halsey and begins hunting him down in an attempt to hurt and corrupt him. After terrifying him once, Ryder is given a ride by a family of four and murders them all gruesomely, including the little children. Ryder sets up Jim as the murderer as he continues racking up a body count. Ryder's most infamous act is to tie Jim's love interest, a waitress named Nash, between two trucks and tear her in half. Twisted and monstrous, Ryder is obsessed only interested in turning Jim into as much a monster as he is and killing as many people as possible.
  • Foe Yay
  • Critical Dissonance: The original. To name one example, its one the few films Roger Ebert has given a flat out zero.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Jim is facing off against an extremely smart and resourceful Killer who Murders indiscriminately. C. Thomas Howell would later play an extremely smart and resourceful Serial Killer known as "The Reaper" on Criminal Minds.
    • Character actor Gene Davis plays a a fully-clothed blue denim clad police officer who gets killed by a Serial Killer. Three years earlier, Davis inversely plays a fully-unclothed Serial Killer who gets killed by a police officer played by Charles Bronson in another crime thriller 10 to Midnight.
    • Henry Darrow plays a state trooper who happens to be a vigilante, which is interesting as Darrow would later be well known for his role as the father of the iconic Mexican vigilante Zorro in the 1990 television remake of the 1950s show Zorro.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Trooper Lyle Hancock, who is visibly filled with both a mixture of grief and rage when confronting Jim after thinking he killed two friends of his in the force.
  • Meta Twist:
    • For roughly the first half of the movie we only see Ryder from Jim's point of view and a lot of the killings he makes happen to come right out of the blue in front of Jim. The experienced viewer would think that maybe Ryder is some sort of split personality he has and he's really the killer. Nope. We later see other characters specifically see him in person aside from Jim, meaning he actually is real.
    • It's arguable as we see everything from Jim's point of view throughout the film so other people's reactions to Ryder existing may not be real, notice that Ryder never kills anyone late in the movie without Jim being there so it's still possible Jim could be the killer.
    • Ryder is first seen after Jim's near miss with an oncoming truck, provoking some speculation that Jim was in fact killed, and the film is some sort of purgatory, with John Ryder as a Devil figure who finally tips Jim in the direction of Hell with his murder.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Ryder killing the family with children and tearing Nash in two was simple sadism and unnecessary.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Trooper Lyle Hancock's initial Loophole Abuse to personally execute Jim Halsey ("Wipe it off!") and eventual confrontation with Jim and Nash.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Grace from the remake. An unoriginal, perfect Mary Sue replacing the final boy of the original didn't go over well with fans of the first film.
  • Sequelitis:
    • Yes, this movie had a Direct To Video Sequel, although it did have Jake Busey as the psycho, which is reason enough to rent it.
    • That, and Kari Wuhrer.
      • Or the Narm flowing freely through the movie.
      • Ironically, by virtue of adding Grace in the movie and having killed off both Jim Halsey and Lt. Esteridge, the remake actually ends up feeling more like it's redoing the SEQUEL instead of the original.
  • Special Effect Failure: The tractor pull scene in the remake.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some moviegoers felt that Trooper Lyle Hancock, one of the Inspector Javert policemen pursuing Jim Halsey who is the most vigilante and grief-strickenly ruthless out of the other cops, should have been given a larger pivotal supporting role with more screen time as one of the most frequent and persistent Hero Antagonists on Jim's tail, while acting as the irrational Inspector Javert Foil rival to the more rational Captain Esteridge then just another background character in the original film after blowing the audience members away with his actor's brief, but emotional It's Personal Revenge Before Reason Rabid Cop performance and his Loophole Abuse attempt to commit an act of vigilantism against Jim. Instead, he is cut off from the film's main plot after Nash's Big Damn Heroes moment to save Jim from being personally summarily executed, is left stranded for him and his partner to report their escape and never heard of again.
  • Squick: The remake has a great deal of Gorn, but the scene where Ryder slips his hand out of his cuffs (consisting of snapping his own thumb out of place with a loud "crack", and skinning his hand, resulting in a bloody mess), is especially enough to make the stomach turn.
  • The Woobie:
    • Jim in the original.
    • And in the remake as well along with Grace.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/TheHitcher