The Hitcher (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hitcher (1986)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This routine slasher film is greatly enhanced by the ethereal quality of its evocative cinematography and a haunting score that foretells pending doom. Otherwise, the pendulum swings between car crashes and slasher killings all the way through until the predictable end. Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) stops to pick up serial murderer John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) on a long haul through Texas while driving a Cadillac to its destination. Before he gets the car back up to 65 again, Jim realizes he has a wacko for a passenger and throws him out. Revenge is in store as the crazed Ryder starts killing off anyone Jim meets along his way. Desperate for help, Jim's flight from the killer becomes a flight from the police as well, since they think he is responsible for the trail of deaths that follow in his wake.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Eric Red
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 8, 1999
Home Box Office (HBO)


C. Thomas Howell
as Jim Halsey
Rutger Hauer
as John Ryder
Jeffrey DeMunn
as Capt. Esteridge
John M. Jackson
as Sgt. Starr
Billy Green Bush
as Trooper Donner
Jack Thibeau
as Trooper Prestone
Armin Shimerman
as Interrogation Sergea...
Jon Van Ness
as Trooper Hapscomb
Henry Darrow
as Trooper Hancock
Tony Epper
as Trooper Conners
Tom Spratley
as Proprietor
Jophery C. Brown
as Stunt Sheriff #2
Janet Brady
as Stunt Nash
Colin Campbell
as Construction Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Hitcher

Critic Reviews for The Hitcher

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (4)

A highly unimaginative slasher that keeps the tension going with a massacre about every 15 minutes.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

It's a highly competent sick-fright version of the evergreen chase formula.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Hauer, who has reportedly vowed not to play any more villains or crackpots, is probably making the right decision, if this is any measure of the sort of role that comes his way.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

I would have admired it more if it had found the courage to acknowledge the real relationship it was portraying between Howell and Rutger, but no: It prefers to disguise itself as a violent thriller, and on that level it is reprehensible.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A cosmic horror film drawn out of a psychological thriller.

Full Review… | August 2, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

Spare and engrossing original road slaughterfest.

Full Review… | December 15, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for The Hitcher

Jennifer Jason Lee is the actress I dislike the most. No wait, that would be Reese Witherspoon.

Rutger Hauer is cool but he's wasted in this lame thriller. Slight upside: Jennifer Jason Lee gets torn in half. Hmmm, maybe there's a movie where Reese Witherspoon gets ripped in half...

Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

This was an amazing thrill ride one of the best ive ever seen. Rutger Hauer is awesome in this role.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

four stars

MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

The Hitcher Quotes

Jim Halsey: What do you want?
John Ryder: I want you to stop me.
– Submitted by Rocky F (4 years ago)
John Ryder: Gas stations have cigarettes.
Jim Halsey: What about gas?
John Ryder: I don't need gas.
Jim Halsey: What do you want? What's so funny?
John Ryder: (stops Laughing) - That's what the other guy said.
Jim Halsey: What other guy?
John Ryder: That guy back there, the one we just passed. The guy who picked me up before you did.
Jim Halsey: That was him in there?
John Ryder: Sure it was. He couldn't have walked very far.
Jim Halsey: Why's that?
John Ryder: Because I cut off his legs, and his arms, and his Head. And I'm going to do the same to you.
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)
Jim Halsey: (yelling to the family driving in a car beside his; after seeing the Hitcher in their backseat) - Hey! Pull over! Pull over! The guy in your car's a nut! That guy's a fu*king nut in your car! Pull over! That guy will kill you! That guy, get him out of your car!
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)
John Ryder: (John leaps into the police truck that Jim is driving) - Hi kid!
– Submitted by Creep F (4 years ago)

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