Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has been the first choice for villains in American films for years, and after the role of Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s legendary “Blade Runner”, the role of the highway killer in the thriller that has since reached cult status may be second on that list. . “The Hitcher” or “Killer from the highway” achieved neither commercial nor critical success when it appeared in the mid-eighties and was described as a rather poor variation on the theme of Spielberg’s debut “Duel”. However, over time, this typical genre product of the eighties, like many other similar films, experienced a certain recognition and is considered a film worth watching.
It is a definite fact that “The Hitcher” does not belong anywhere near the circle of important films, but Robert Harmon’s feature debut has something diabolical about it. It is as if there is some primal evil in Hauer’s character John Ryder and it is completely unclear what his motivation is for killing all these people he meets on the road. So Ryder, among others, will focus on young Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell), who has the task of driving a car from Chicago to San Diego. Somewhere in West Texas, in the middle of a rainstorm, he will take pity on a hitchhiker and pick him up, and it will be the biggest mistake of his life.
Clearly, that hitchhiker is Ryder, whom Jim will initially manage to escape, but he will continue to kill along the way, and the police will become convinced that the killer is Jim and that the mysterious Ryder is a figment of his imagination. It should be noted that the story here is completely banal, even a bit infantile and silly, but it is Hauer who raises this adrenaline-filled action thriller above the average, ideal for sending the brain on vacation for an hour and a half. Although practically the entire nineties, especially the 21st century, until his death in the summer of 2019, Hauer either had nonsensical roles even in some OK films or more often acted in total trash, when he arrived from Holland in Hollywood at the turn of the seventies in eighties, he was a real face and we will remember him for many interesting roles.