Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) is driving from Chicago to San Diego when he picks up hitchhiker John Ryder (Rutger Hauer). Ryder has just finished a murder spree, and now he wants Halsey to kill him. When Halsey manages to escape Ryder begins to play a game of cat and mouse, leaving the bodies of his latest victims for Halsey to find. And when Halsey finds a friend in truckstop waitress Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the two of them find the police are also on their tails - Ryder has managed to frame Halsey for all the murders.
Made in 1984, The Hitcher
is an update--in spirit at least--of Steven Spielberg's first feature film, 1971's Duel
. Here C Thomas Howell plays a guy taking a drive-away car from Chicago to San Diego. On a whim, in the rain, and against his better judgment, he picks up a hitchhiker (Rutger Hauer). The hitcher quickly admits to being a murdering psychopath and once Howell finally gets him out of his car, he is pursued with all the vengeance of the ancient furies. We're never sure if the hitcher is a figment of his imagination, making Howell a schizophrenic killer, or if he's real and Howell is the random victim of a wandering madman, which is how his potential new girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) thinks of him. Either way, The Hitcher
is great fun, kinda scary and teetering on the brink of "must see". --Andy Spletzer
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.