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By Felix Vasquez Jr. | May 30, 2007

One of my main rules in life is to never be ashamed to laugh at yourself. Taking yourself too seriously opens you up to a rather miserable life, and I never hesitate to laugh at myself every now and then. Asylum’s new wet fart, “The Hitchhiker” is my film debut. No, I’m not an extra, and I’m not the director, I’m not the writer, or the editor, and I’m not one of the main cast, nor am I the maniac that stalks people in this poorly constructed “The Hitcher” piggy back.

I’ll fill you in.

Director Leigh Scott, one of the more prominent directors for Asylum caught wind of my negative reviews months ago, and we engaged in a slight back and forth. My buddy David e-mails me four months ago explaining Scott’s new blog at his page. He explains how he’s created a character out of yours truly. This was Scott’s form of revenge. In a whim, he decided to create a character out of me, named Felix (of course) and features my character in the first five minutes of the film.

“You can sue, you know,” people told me, “I’m going to find that prick and kick his a*s,” said friends. My response: “Why?” Scott, I have a huge sense of humor, and making me a character in a rather unflattering turn in the first five minutes of “The Hitchhiker,” is not revenge. I won’t sue. And he still cares what I think, or else his friends wouldn’t be e-mailing me guaranteeing I’ll end up enjoying one of his films one of these days. I won’t hold my breath. Regardless, I’m able to laugh at myself loyal readers. And I guarantee you’ll be laughing as hard as I was by Scott’s rather blatant homophobic admission. No retaliation from me, Mr. Scott. Your films are painful revenge already.

“The Hitchhiker” is a different kind of Leigh Scott film, and admittedly, it’s a nice looking one. After the pure embarrassments that were ninety percent of Asylum’s catalogue, you have to admit, their films do look nice, even if they feel like an eternity watching. The set-up for this film basically derives from “The Hitcher,” and trash like “Wolf Creek.” Scott makes the distinct choice to combine both concepts, while sticking closely to the conventions that make horror so damn predictable. Four buxom young girls, all with assorted quirks, find themselves out in the middle of nowhere, come across the hitchhiker, and the terror begins.

Along with the giggling and babbling we endure with the foursome, we’re also fed the rather routine set-up. “What would happen?” they ask picking up this mysterious man in the road, “We’re in the middle of nowhere.” Hard to believe in this day and age people still pick up hitchhikers with the best of intentions, but hey, I’m no filmmaker.

Conveniently, the car begins to break down at a pit stop, and with “Jack,” they’re forced to spend the night at a motel where barely anyone looms. Jack, who does everything but furrow his mustache, scowls, and grimaces, and makes suggestive one-liners, all to the ignorance of these four woman, and you can’t help already root for their painful demises. How can you not when they allow this stranger to drive back and forth, and fiddle with their vehicles. Scott, of course, makes sure to squeeze in a sex scene or two, and the film essentially drags on for ninety minutes, with no build-up and sheer lack of pace. “Jack” also has this incredible power to malfunction cars, while instilling trust in his potential victims when no person with common sense would.

Every time he gets into a car with someone it breaks down on the side of the road, and you’re left wondering why he had to kill a tow truck driver instead of actually stealing a tow truck, in the first place. But he’s evil. He gets touchy when people assume he’s not a mechanic, he sneaks about without questioning, and we’re supposed to buy this. One of the redeeming aspects of this film is the competent performances by the female cast, especially Sarah Hall, who are oddly memorable, and perform better than the average Asylum picture star, while the film undercuts any potential of suspense with twists that are broadcast minutes before they happen.

Rather than continuing the piggyback and make Jack a mystery, he’s instead a woman hating p***y. He sleeps with the girls and then punishes them for it. All the while the girls become pin needles for his abuse, and torment, and we drag on through monologues of Jack’s back story, the begging for help, and wholly uneven pacing. I’ve seen better pacing in a porn movie, when all was said and done. When we thought we’ve seen it all, though, Scott goes for vain shock factor, drawing out an inadvertently comical rape scene, zero tension, and characters that make all the wrong moves at every turn.

I literally sat wondering why I was wasting my time watching four morons trying to outwit a moron. Meanwhile, Scott tries to fit a sixty minute premise into a ninety minute film, by squeezing in two more characters that arrive just to die minutes later, and features an awfully laughable shoot out, dragging on to the climax with every bit of padding he can muster up. It’s safe to assume this is a rip-off of “The Hitcher,” but there’s a good chance the remake is much more competent in suspense and story than this is. Scott has no idea how to draw or alleviate tension, nor does he manage to succeed in shocking his audience. It’s just a sheer wasted effort in exploitation.

“The Hitchhiker” however is definite proof that all Leigh Scott had to do to ensure he’d inflict a cruel revenge on me was to make another movie.

Checkmae, Leigh.

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