I bet you’re a farm girl, aint ya?
The Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting (2003) is a direct sequel to The Hitcher (1986) that starred the always watchable Rutger Hauer and C. Thomas Howell.
We’ve all seen the very credible remake starring the very watchable Sean Bean, and for any non commonwealth fans of Sean Bean I recommend you check out his role as Major Sharpe in his long running TV series Sharpe.
So in the sequel C. Thomas Howell reprises his role as Jim Halsey from the original (told you it was a direct sequel) and is joined by the always stunning and co-star of Sharknado 2 (2014) Kari Wuhrer (seriously, take one look at her and tell me she isn’t stunning) along with ‘comes across as just as crazy as his dad though is probably far more grounded in reality‘ Jake Busey as the hitcher.
There is a spoiler here so stop reading if you want it to be a complete surprise though I doubt it will ruin your enjoyment of this film.
The film starts with C. Thomas Howell as a cop who rescues a young boy from a kidnapper and in the process kills the kidnapper, this leads to him being kicked of the force and getting an earful from Kari which leads to one problem with this film. C. Thomas Howell is always right yet because he acts like he’s about to come undone everyone thinks he’s crazy.
Honestly the guy can do no right in doing no wrong.
I suspect if everyone listened to him the film would’ve been a 5 minute short and this is a lesson to anyone in this situation. Act sane even if what you know to be true is insane. The second you come across as crazy it doesn’t matter how right you are you might as well shoot yourself in the foot whilst wearing a tin foil hat and singing old music hall hits because no-one will believe you.
He even doubts himself in shooting the kidnapper because everyone tells him he was wrong yet he clearly was right.
Watch the trailer below for an example of this.
So we meet up with Jake Busey who is on top of his crazy game here. He is every bit worthy as a follow up to Rutger Hauer. In fact I cannot think of anyone better. He is perfect casting and I love how he isn’t in the film for too much.
Any other film would have had him in every scene but here they seem to find the right amount of screen time.
Just enough so you want to see more but not too much that he becomes a caricature of the hitcher. You want to see more of him but that simply means when he is on screen his talent is maximised.
The film starts to lose its way when *Spoiler Alert* C. Thomas Howell dies and it comes across as a different film for a while as you get used to the change of it being no longer focused around C. Thomas Howell’s character and then about Kari’s.
I have said in previous reviews that the final girl trope has been done to death and needs to be killed off as a staple of horror films but this is a film which shows how it should be done.
She doesn’t suddenly become a Jane Rambo who can take inhuman amounts of punishment and know how to set up traps and outsmart and out fight someone who’s twice the size of her and has been killing for most of his life while she has spent hers shopping.
She fucks up. She makes bad decisions and you get a sense that she really has no clue what to do which I’m sure is how all of us would be the same in the same circumstance.
She’s not your usual smart arsed, perfect, intelligent survival girl trope and that is refreshing. In fact she spends most of the film on her own on the run outsmarted by Jake Busey with everyone convinced she’s guilty.
This is great so when we get the final confrontation it doesn’t seem as contrived and even though you know she will win as she still is the archetype final girl, you want her too and it is more believable.
I loved this, if we are stuck with the final girl trope then make them more like this though I suspect that would soon become clichéd and too run its course.
Is this an amazing film… well no. But it manages to tread old ground in a fresh way that makes it a decent sequel to an absolute classic where the real star is Jake Busey as the hitcher. A delight to watch who’s motivations are less important to the overall plot of the film which is who the hitcher is. Someone you don’t know anything about and in the process you can’t humanise as you never understand why they do what they do.
No backstory or link to the original hitcher though he does tease as if we should know without explaining.
A fun horror\thriller which if you treat as a sequel and nothing more you will end up being completely entertained