Hitcher in the Dark (1989)


A young man preys on women along the Virginia coastline, picking them up for rides in his camper only to kidnap, torture, and kill them. When one victim’s estranged boyfriend gives pursuit, things get more complicated for all parties involved. Hitcher in the Dark, shot primarily in broad daylight, is a low-budget, direct-to-video sort of movie directed by Umberto Lenzi (credited as Humphrey Humbert), who cranked out several dozen genre titles through the sixties, seventies, and eighties. It’s not a good movie, but it’s almost a good bad movie.

The acting is terrible at times, but it seems to improve slightly as the film wears on. Not that the actors have a lot to work with. The script passes up the potential for depth and psychology, which is a shame for a movie involving both Stockholm Syndrome and the Oedipal Complex. Location photography adds to the production value, while horrible music subtracts from it. One of the most laughable scenes features a group of teenagers dancing to generic, wordless rock music, bringing back memories of how Scooby and the Mystery gang used to get down at the malt shop.

A few scenes are at least conceptually disturbing — especially when the killer takes photos of his nude, unconscious victims, or when he carves the word ‘pig’ into another man’s chest. It’s too bad director Lenzi doesn’t seize these opportunities. Instead, he drops a random wet t-shirt contest between the second and third acts. And if that sounds like your kind of movie, please know it’s too little, too late.

With Joe Balogh, Josie Bissett, and Jason Saucier.

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