What the sweet Hell is this crap!?
So, the 2003 film, The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting, is a sequel to the original Hitcher. That’s the film where C. Thomas Howell plays a dumbass who picks up a hitchhiker played by Rutger Hauer and then kicks him out after a few miles because Hauer’s like totally insane. So, Hauer responds by murdering random people and framing Howell. The Hitcher‘s a pretty good film, largely because of the terrifying performance of Rutger Hauer as the title character.
The Hitcher came out in 1986. It got terrible reviews and didn’t do well at the box office but it found an audience when it was released on video. In fact, The Hitcher became a bit of a cult favorite, which is what it deserved to be. Then, 23 years later, a direct-to-video sequel was released and….
Seriously, this movie is so bad.
C. Thomas Howell returns, playing Jim, the same character that he played in the first movie. Jim is still haunted by what happened in the first movie. He’s a cop now but he fears that his encounter with the original Hitcher may have contributed to him using excessive force on a kidnapping suspect. Seeking some time away from the stress of it all, Jim decides to visit a friend in Texas. He and his girlfriend, Maggie (Kari Wuhrer) hit the road and, as they drive through the desert, they see a hitchhiker standing by the side of the road….
Now, I know what you’re saying. “Oh, come on!” you’re yelling. “There’s no way Jim would be make the same stupid decision twice!”
Well, you’re right. Jim doesn’t stop to pick the guy up. Instead, Maggie is the one who decides to pull over. Apparently, Jim has never bothered to tell Maggie about any of the terrible stuff that happened during the first film. Considering that Jim is apparently waking up constantly with nightmares and he’s on the verge of having a mental breakdown, you would think that all of this would be something that he would share with Maggie but no. Maggie is totally shocked when Jim later tells her that he had a bad experience picking up a hitchhiker.
Anyway, in this case, the hitchhiker is named Jack (Jake Busey) and …. wow, shock of shocks! He’s totally fucking crazy! That’s right — it’s happening again! So, Jack is chasing Jim and Maggie across the desert, murdering people and framing Jim and Maggie for the crimes. Does this sound familiar? Jim is eventually killed, giving C. Thomas Howell an excuse to never have to appear in another direct-to-video sequel. Can Maggie beat the new Hitcher at his own game?
Oh, who cares? This version of The Hitcher basically has none of the weird subtext of the first film. Unlike Rutger Hauer’s Hitcher, who seemed to be almost erotically obsessed with Jim, Jake Busey’s Hitcher doesn’t have much on his mind beyond killing people. If Rutger Hauer was all about quiet menace and charismatic intensity, Jake Busey is loud and in your face and so obviously crazy that it’s hard to have much sympathy for anyone stupid enough to pick him up.
The main problem with The Hitcher II is that it gets so damn repetitive. I lost count of the number of times that a cop showed up, refused to listen as Maggie shouted, “STOP! HE’S A KILLER,” and then got gunned down. Seriously, this film featured the stupidest cops that I’ve ever seen. The same thing keeps happening for 90 minutes or so, at which point we get a pithy one liner and then big explosion. And then the movie’s over!