The remake of 1986's The Hitcher starts off with a CG jack rabbit making all cute and twitchy before it hippity hops across a desert highway. Then splat—it's smashed flatter than a flapjack by a speeding car. No less than eight minutes later, the same thing happens to a dragonfly (a CG dragonfly, natch) on the windshield of our heroes' car. Subtlety is apparently not director Dave Meyers' forte. Despite the heavy handedness, the updated Hitcher stays fairly true to the original's storyline, if not the original's quality.
College student Jim Halsey (Zachary Knighton), and his girlfriend Grace (One Tree Hill's Sophia Bush) are on spring break, road tripping through New Mexico. But their good times are soon spoiled when they help out stranded traveler John Ryder (the brilliant Sean Bean). Their good deed is rewarded with knife threats and attempted mutilation. Through some sort of sociopathic logic, Ryder proceeds to hunt them through the desert and endless highways, daring the youngsters to stop him.
The strength of the original Hitcher was Rutger Hauer's deranged Ryder. There was never much of an explanation of why he was so fucked up—he just was, and that was scary as hell. But the remake doesn't have the confidence to let Sean Bean's Ryder scare the pants off us with his intensity, without resorting to "scary add-ons," like Nine Inch Nails (ooooh, scary) as the soundtrack to his stalking. Disregarding the cheesy flourishes, Bean could have outclassed Hauer by a mile.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Hitcher is a needless remake that befouls the good name of the original, and it's not worth seeing just for the sake of Bean's performance. Rent the 1986 version with goofy C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh, then close your eyes and imagine how Sean Bean could scare you as much as Rutger Hauer, if only he didn't have "Fuck You Like an Animal" playing every time he was trying to be murderous.