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The Hitcher (1986)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 3



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 43,327

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Movie Info

Pretty boy actor C. Thomas Howell stars in this dark, violent suspense film about the strange psychological bond between a traveling serial killer and one of his intended victims. Driving cross-country from Chicago to San Diego, Jim (Howell) narrowly avoids an accident when he falls asleep at the wheel. He picks up a hitchhiker to help stay awake, but within five minutes, the erratic John Ryder (Rutger Hauer) has threatened not only Jim's life, but also his manhood, brandishing a switchblade to

Jun 8, 1999

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (13) | DVD (19)

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

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spare and engrossing original road slaughterfest.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (3)
Common Sense Media

An uncanny frisson, plus a road of endless curves

February 12, 2010 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Feature debuts don't come much better than director Robert Harmon and screenwriter Eric Red's sleek, dream-like thriller about a naïve college boy who crosses paths with devil in the flesh after taking a wrong turn on some lost highway.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Without the original film's subtext of male bonding gone awry, nothing here has a shred of psychological resonance.

February 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus | Comment (1)
Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus

A partir de um conceito simples, o diretor cria tensão e transforma seu vilão (muito bem vivido por Hauer) em uma figura quase alegórica.

April 29, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Rutger Hauer is so menacing as the title fiend that you'll never pick up a hitchhiker. An absolutely relentless horror-thriller.

October 10, 2005

...essentially entertaining throughout...

October 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

This film is the reason Rutger Hauer is still a name that movie fans know.

June 28, 2005

Hauer's lunatic performance is the only thing that keeps The Hitcher from completely running off the road.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Pretty nifty little thriller that falters at the end.

September 13, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Effective '80s horror movie. A relentless villain and some horrific scenes.

July 14, 2003

It's like a sadistic version of Duel, instead of a semi you get Hauer in all his creepy manic splendor.

March 19, 2003

Fairly effective little thriller.

March 4, 2003
Juicy Cerebellum

A gruesome cult classic.

January 17, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Creepy, moody, implausible and impossible to take your eyes off of.

August 8, 2002
IGN Movies

Contrived, unbelievable, and ultimately dull thriller is one more film to waste Rutger Hauer.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

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...
September 14, 2007

Super Reviewer

In 'Halloween', Michael Myers was simply credited as The Shape because the viewers would project their own ideas of horror onto his amorphous face. In many respects, John Ryder is similar to Myers insofar as he is an oppressive, omnipresent villain without a motive. He appears spontaneously (one example of hysterically irrational gallows humor is his materialization in the back of a family's station wagon) and he could be construed as the personification of Jim's coming-of-age obstacles on the road to manhood. 'The Hitcher' is a taut, exquisitely surreal B-movie with a powerhouse performance from Hauer. At first, Hauer is bedraggled from the rain, sniffling with a cold and intentionally vague about his destination. He unveils his switchblade and almost pleads to Jim "I want you to stop me". Their relationship is like the symbiotic link between the host and a virus with each one goading the other. Every time they rendezvous, Ryder provokes Jim to shoot him but Jim is too sheepish and cowardly. At an abandoned garage, Ryder could easily disembowel Jim but instead he throws him his keys as if to enable Jim to continue the cat-and-mouse pursuit. Hauer is fraught with ambiguous touches such as when he lays next to Nash and slightly whimpers before he cuddles with her. 'The Hitcher' has been enshrined as an unsung gem in 80's horror and based on the evidence, deservedly so.
October 8, 2012
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer


An unforgivably forgotten thriller that remains to this day relentlessly intense and has a few shocks thrown in for good measure. Despite losing a bit of steam in the last 30 minutes, particularly when police cars are seen tossing over and helicopters exploding, Rutger Hauer's terrifying performance as the title character keeps the movie gripping and interesting. Original in every sense and unrecognised for what I think is influential to modern horror cinema, The Hitcher is suspenseful and creative all the way through. It never resorts to childish horror cliche's and unlike countless horor thrillers doesn't end with one last pointless shock. But has a finale that can rightfully be called an ending.
June 24, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Movies Like The Hitcher

    1. Jim Halsey: What do you want?
    2. John Ryder: I want you to stop me.
    – Submitted by Rocky F (2 years ago)
    1. John Ryder: Gas stations have cigarettes.
    2. Jim Halsey: What about gas?
    3. John Ryder: I don't need gas.
    4. Jim Halsey: What do you want? What's so funny?
    5. John Ryder: (stops Laughing) - That's what the other guy said.
    6. Jim Halsey: What other guy?
    7. John Ryder: That guy back there, the one we just passed. The guy who picked me up before you did.
    8. Jim Halsey: That was him in there?
    9. John Ryder: Sure it was. He couldn't have walked very far.
    10. Jim Halsey: Why's that?
    11. 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 (2 years ago)
    1. 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 (2 years ago)
    1. John Ryder: (John leaps into the police truck that Jim is driving) - Hi kid!
    – Submitted by Creep F (2 years ago)
    1. John Ryder: You wanna know what happens to an eyeball when it gets punctured? Do you got any idea how much blood jets out of a guy's neck when his throat's been slit?
    – Submitted by Creep F (2 years ago)
    1. Jim Halsey: (trying to get policemen to help untie Nash from between two large trucks) - Why don't you do something?FUCKING DO SOMETHING!
    – Submitted by Creep F (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • The Hitcher (1986) (DE)
  • The Hitcher (UK)
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