So here is a new thing that I am going to try. There are a ton of remakes out there. Is the original better, or is the remake better? Let’s settle that debate. I will be going through various remakes of films, different iterations and deciding which ones I like more. I have laid out seven categories, and they are listed below.

  • Story
    • Are the stories the same? Are there differences? How do the differences affect everything?
  • Characters
    • How do the characters differ between movies? Are there new characters? Are there characters flipping parts in the story? Questions like this will be raised.
  • Acting
    • Straight forward here. Which movie had better acting.
  • Screenplay/Pacing
    • This is more of the dialogue and the interweaving of the story. How do the characters interact? Is it natural? Does the movie know what it wants to be? Does it hit the thematic mark it was trying to reach?
  • Entertainment Value
    • This is the overall enjoyment of the entire movie. Was it ever yawn inducing? Was it too long? Just a general vibe here of whether or not you are throwing your popcorn up or throwing your popcorn out.
  • Best Scene
    • This takes the peak entertainment value from each movie. It is one scene in particular, or one moment.
  • Movie Poster & Tag Line
    • Pretty simple here. Comparing the main movie poster and the tagline for the two movies.

Story Pacing

I will preface this category with this. The pacing is much more of a toss up than one would expect.

One of the major negative aspects of The Hitcher 1986 version is that the pacing is uneven. It feels a bit too long. Just maybe five or 10 minutes too long. Now, can you say that this drudging of time added to the dread that John Ryder brought to the movie, but in the end, I give more credit to Rutger Hauer.

In the 2007 remake of The Hitcher, the one part of the movie that you can not tank it for is how fast it movies. The runtime for the movie is less than 90 minutes, including credits. What also helps The Hitcher 2007 version is the sound track. It is much more frenetic, and the punk rock vibes add a bit of adrenalin.

In this first category…I am going with the remake.

WINNER: The Remake, The Hitcher (2007)


Characters

More characters is not necessarily a good thing. Such is the case in the The Hitcher 2007 version. Sophia Bush is fine as Grace Andrews, but her floating on the wave of watchable takes away from the character of Jim Halsey, who is played by Zachary Knighton. The Jim Halsey of 2007 is nothing compared to the Jim Halsey played by C. Thomas Howell in 1986. A younger kid, a better rat to sword-carrying hero story, and a much more satisfying growth.

Also, if we are just going to talk about the character of John Ryder…he is so vicious and brutal. Hauer is so much more menacing that Sean Bean, but now we are delving into the next category.

For the characters category, it is easily going to The Hitcher, 1986 version.

WINNER: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)


Acting

Let’s be real. The only thing we are looking at here is the two impressions of John Ryder.

Sean Bean is done no favors by the script he has to work with. When we first meet him in the car and he asks “She’s a good looking girl… how long have you been fucking her?”, that is really cringe worthy. So for Mr. Bean and his acting skills, we can not hold him accountable for the lines he had to deliver. He had another on in the movie where he says something about being really turned on. It is bad folks.

The one thing that Bean is comparable with to against Rutger Hauer is the glare. The look is menacing, but without the words to back it up, the acting can not be as strong. It is a bit of a reliant system.

Hauer is a menace as Ryder in the best way. He moves slower, more deliberately. In the 1986 version of The Hitcher, we get a sense that Ryder is having more a much more playful time torturing Jim. Hauer has the smiling “what are you gonna do no” vibe in a more profound way.

WINNER: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)


Changes/Discrepancies

Okay, let us list a few differences.

  • The addition of Grace Andrews as a character.
  • The character of Nash doesn’t exist in the 2007 version.
    • With this known, Nash is not torn to shreds by the 18-wheeler. Jim is torn in half in the remake, and you actually see it.
  • The way that John Ryder is picked up; he is a true hitchhiker in 1986 but in 2007 he ends up getting in the car at a gas station after talking with Jim. They tried to add some motives for Ryder with Jim and Grace spurning him on a ride just a few minutes earlier.
  • Grace takes most of the struggles that Jim took in the original. The entire premise of the movie changes.
  • The newer version of The Hitcher is much shinier. It is more glossy, if that makes sense.
  • The newer version is much more gory.
  • There is a showdown between Ryder and the police in a trailer park that involves Ryder being a dead-eye shot. Don’t remember that ever being a thing.

Among these small things and these small differences, the biggest difference between the two is the aesthetic of the movie and the way it looks. The shimmer of the newer version does jive with the desert, isolated, “where the hell are we” vibes. The car wax that is put on the environment also makes the characters more slippy to grab onto. The Ryder of the rustic looked grimy, while the Ryder of 2007 looked muddy, yes, but still looked like a a sheen.

WINNER: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)


Entertainment Value

Arguably the most subjective category?

I will admit, if you want to just throw on a movie for background noise and for easy brain-numbing entertainment value, then I am going to say that the 2007 version of The Hitcher is the version you will be throwing on. It does not require the attention to detail nor the bandwidth necessary for all-attentive viewing.

Some may say this is entertaining, but for the majority that is true. Also, it has to be said that the 2007 version of The Hitcher has Sophia Bush, who is objectively very attractive and that is going to bring more people to the movie. There are more explosions, there is more blood and there are songs that everyone recognizes. It has the mass appeal to be more entertaining.

The old version of The Hitcher is better directed, better acted and better written, but the chaotic “what the fuck is happening” ethos around its reboot attempt does dwarf it.

WINNER: The Remake, The Hitcher (2007)


Best Scene

Again a subjective category (as they all are), but let’s go with

This is where we meet John Ryder for the first time and we get the vibe of menace that Rutger Hauer brings to the role. It is awesome. It takes you aback in the best way. It is glorious.

There are not a lot of great scenes in the remake, but this one one scene is the most memorable. This is how you know the 2007 version of The Hitcher is heavily influenced by Michael Bay. It is so absurdly loud. The Blues Brothers might be jealous. It is just bonkers.

WINNER: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)


Movie Poster & Tag Line

TAGLINE FROM 1986

  • “The Terror Starts The Moment He Stops.”
  • “Never Pick Up A Stranger”
  • “Whatever You Do, Don’t Stop For The Hitcher”
  • “The Terror Stars When He Stops”
  • “He Came From Hell. Don’t Ask Him Where He Wants To Go.”
  • “Out On The Desert Highway, The Rule Of Them Has A Different Meaning”

TAGLINE FROM 2007

  • “Never Puck Up Strangers”

The CLEAR winner here is the original. The main catchlines are the same…but the secondary tagline of “The Terror Starts The Moment He Stops” is absolutely banger. It is true on many levels. It is true when Jim is driving Ryder, it is true when he is running from Ryder, and it is true when he is chasing after Ryder. It is this movie on a whole; you are constantly pushing the gas.

Also I am a sucker for 80s movie posters, so yes, this one goes to the original The Hitcher.

WINNER: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)


OVERALL WINNER

Listen, I think we knew going into the exorcise that the original is going to be better. The Hitcher version of 1986 wins the battle between its 2007 remake.

  • Story Pacing: The Remake, The Hitcher (2007)
  • Characters: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)
  • Acting: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)
  • Changes/Discrepancies: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)
  • Entertainment Value: The Remake, The Hitcher (2007)
  • Best Scene: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)
  • Movie Poster & Tagline: The Original, The Hitcher (1986)

ORIGINAL: 5
REMAKE: 2


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