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The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting (2003)

Evil waits again on the side of the road.

Directed by:

Louis Morneau

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Seventeen years after getting himself into all sorts of grisly bother for picking up a homicidal Rutger Hauer on a lonesome dirt road, Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) is at it again – the daft idiot.

As it happens, Howell turns out to be one of the few decent things about this wholly unnecessary sequel to Robert Harmon’s 1986 tale of terror on the highway (sure, The Hitcher was a genre classic, but it didn’t exactly lend itself to a follow-up).

Jim’s now a policeman, but it looks like he’s about to be stripped of his badge for needlessly shooting someone “again” (which must be a little worrying in itself). It turns out he’s still haunted by the traumas of the first flick, prompting handy flashback sequences for anyone inexplicably deciding to watch this despite having never seen the original. So he and girlfriend Maggie (Kari Wuhrer) pack up the car and head off on a much-needed vacation. And, you’ve guessed it, it’s a DRIVING holiday. In the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. During a STORM. Is it just me, or has this guy learned absolutely nothing?

We head even further into déjà vu territory when Maggie, unaware of the events in Jim’s past, forces him to pick up Jack (Jake Busey), a tubby, annoying maniac who, as it happens, wants to kill everyone in sight for no apparent reason. Just how unlucky can our Jim get?

Instead of progressing the story (surely the point of a sequel?), this is basically a sub-standard remake of the first flick, only this time the focus ends up turning to the hapless Maggie and her ongoing roadside battle with the smirking Jake. Wuhrer, as our screaming heroine, is undeniably a bit of a hottie, but her role never stretches beyond yelling, running, and looking in serious need of a good wash. Towards the end she threatens to morph into Sarah Connor circa Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but it turns out to be just one of several potential avenues the screenwriters fail to explore.

A far more interesting idea would have been having Jim as the murderous hitch-hiker this time around – his dark, brooding character is certainly troubled enough to pull it off, and it would have allowed the film to do something a little more ambitious than simply copy its predecessor. Unfortunately, what we end up with isn’t fit to lace the original movie’s boots.

It's Got: A villain who, rather than injecting us with any degree of terror, only succeeds in coming across as an obnoxious turd. Bring back Rutger!

It Needs: To attempt something other than mimicking the original.

DVD Extras Nowt. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

Breakdown, Duel, Jeepers Creepers, The Hitcher

Summary

If you ever see a copy of this DVD lying by the side of the road, DON’T pick it up – not because it’s dangerous, but because it’s rubbish.

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