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Parents' Guide to

The Hitcher (1986)

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Spare and engrossing original road slaughterfest.

Movie R 1986 97 minutes
The Hitcher (1986) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+
Honestly, The Hitcher will always be my favourite movie. Everything about this movie is impressive. The idea of picking up a stranger is scary but only to have that stranger turn your world upside down all for fun is a brilliant concept. I'm nineteen now and first watched it when I was thirteen with my dad. Unlike horror movies today, this one captures the psychological unexpectedness that doesn't come from many films today. Indeed a must-watch.
age 15+

Amazing film but too violent for little ones

This is an amazing eighties thriller. You can almost taste the atmosphere in this movie. The story goes like this, a young man named Jim is taking a drive away car from Chicago to San Diego through the desert. He stops to pick up a mysterious hitchhiker who turns out to be a cold blooded murderer who kills several people. The killer (Rutger Hauer) is enigmatic, cold and intelligent -this is the best movie Mr Hauer has ever made. It's violent though I wouldn't recommend this for any kids under about 14-15.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (5 ):

With its vicious, motivation-free violence, this elemental thriller isn't as bad as other exploitation movies trading on rampant sex and brutality. It gives scant background information about characters and relies on minimal dialogue; it doesn't even use background music to set the mood for most of the mayhem. The result is that your imagination fills in a lot of details, and the script turns out to be a lot more cunning than the many teen-oriented 1980s slasher-horror formula flicks that preceded this one.

The Hitcher maintains a disturbing theme: that the terrorized, guiltless Jim, in the course of his relationship with Ryder, learns bloodlust, too. Parents can relate that to the innumerable villains who have told heroes things like "We're very much the same, you and I," in their respective comic books.

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