Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rip-Off Cinema?: Hitcher in the Dark

You just wanted to pretend to rip-off a bad movie?  The movie The Hitcher is famous for being made for Showtime and actually deemed too violent to air.  On top of that, it has a sequel (which is mostly a rehash), a remake and an Asylum rip-off.  As a bonus, the film's production company had a famous man on the board: George W. Bush.  Yes, this movie was produced by a company with a future President on board!  Speaking that movie, this movie wants you to think it's related to it.  It's not.  This 1989 has both jack and shit to do with the 1986 slasher film.  Instead, we get a guy who kind of looks like Tom Cruise torturing a woman while her boyfriend looks for her.  Yeah, that's nothing like the other film.  Maybe there's something worth salvaging here though.  Get out your flashlight and shotgun for our meeting with the...
The film begins with a random girl being picked up by a guy in an RV.  Things seem nice until the movie awkwardly cuts to him suddenly killing her that night.  He dumps the body in a swamp- which doesn't seem geographically-possible- as some stock footage of an alligator eats it.  In the context of the film, the suddenness of this kill makes absolutely no sense.  It's nice of a film to immediately fail to meet expectations though, huh?  After this, he drives the RV to a campsite where a bunch of people are partying.  In particular, a young blonde is dancing around, causing our guy to leer at her through the window.  For a serial killer, you sure do act very suspicious!  The guy and girl have a fight in the bar as, again, the guy leers in a suspicious manner.  She ends up taking a ride with him out of spite and to get way from the boyfriend.   He starts to act creepy and she wants out, until the boyfriend drives nearby.  Incidentally, the boyfriend here is played by Jason Saucier, who was also the boyfriend in Contamination .07 aka Troll 3.  So, as you see, his career had nowhere to go but down from here!  Our villain decides to keep the blond, something that she doesn't not seem to be on the same page about.
The middle portion of the movie is basically just a bunch of scenes of the villain being creepy and weird.  Other than some scenes of the boyfriend looking for her, that's about all you get.  They almost never leave the RV too, which I'm sure saved on the budget!  We find out that his mother is the most important person to him and that he hates his father.  One night/day (who can tell with all of the windows covered), he knocks her out, dies her hair brown and cuts it to be like his mother.  *cough*Psycho*cough*  She gets over this fairly-easily and actually tries to get along with him.  I guess you don't have to be Swedish to get Stockholm Syndrome!  She even invites him to have sex with her.  Good-bye, logic!  When he, um, can't stay up to the task, he beats her up and she feels bad.  Huh?  The guy keeps looking for her, but has no luck.  Eventually, the guy agrees to let the girl go after his birthday party (just go with it).  Yeah, he lies and she's shocked.
Finally, shit actually starts to really happen to move the plot forward!  The bad guy gets more aggressive, since the girl saw the photos he took of previous girls that he killed.  By the way, he never cut or died their hair, he didn't.  We learn that his mother left the family for a tennis instructor (how cliche!), so he blames the father.  The boyfriend finally finds the RV in the most convoluted manner possible.  The girl floods the engine by trying to run it, so the guy leaves her locked up.  A guy breaks in and steals her Walkman & later tries to sell it to the boyfriend.  He is led back to the RV and...gets caught in five minutes.  The villain taunts and tortures him for a bit.  To make things really odd, this whole scene takes place at a Drive-In that is playing an Italian caveman comedy from six years earlier.  More on that later though.  Eventually, he kills the boyfriend and thinks that he killed her, dumping the body in an auto yard.  He returns home to his rich life as the son & later goes back on the road.  He picks up a new victim, only for it to turn out to be the girl.  Despite a long amount of time going by, she still has the same haircut.  She pulls a gun on him and shoots him, causing the movie to awkwardly-Freeze Frame the ending.
Don't pick me up!  The plot of this movie starts out strong, but quickly peters out.  With only one victim and killer, the movie either suffers or succeeds based on the strength of those involved.  As you probably guessed, it fails.  The killer is not terrible, but he stays in the same, monotone delivery for almost the entire time.  I'm fairly-sure that he was only cast based on his likeness to Tom Cruise.  Incidentally, how come we never got to see him pull off a role like this until Collateral?  The actress is not good, never quite seeming upset enough at her situation.  She manages to cry on cue a couple of times, but it's too little, too late.  Ultimately, this movie will disappoint a lot of people due to its lackadaisical pace, sub-par acting and small body count.  Nothing really stands out too much here.  It just kind of is there.  You can do worse, but you can also do better.
Next up, Instant Trash brings us a movie that we've totally never seen before.  Aliens have arrived on Earth and are taking our place- shocking!  Stay tuned...

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