Horror Movie Review: Hitcher in the Dark (1989)

A psychological horror/thriller directed by Umberto Lenzi. Hitcher in the Dark stars Joe Balogh as Mark Glazer. A very disturbed young man who picks up female hitchhikers to fulfil his twisted desires.

Daniela (Josie Bissett) gets into a fight with her boyfriend after seeing him kiss another woman and runs off. She is later picked up by Mark in his RV when she is hitchhiking and he drugs her by slipping a sleeping tablet into a drink. When she wakes, she finds herself handcuffed and discovers that she bears a strong resemblance to Mark’s mother.

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Over the course of the film Mark reveals that his mother left when he was young to go off to Europe with a man. He harbours a lot of resentment about that. Not towards his mother though, in fact he seems to have a sexual attraction towards her.

Keeping Daniela alive because of her resemblance he alternates between being kind and loving to violent and abusive. Meanwhile, Daniela’s boyfriend Kevin (Jason Saucier) bitterly regrets his actions and sets out to try and find her.

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Hitcher in the Dark is a flawed movie, lacking in impact and the performances needed to make this a tension-filled thriller. Balogh and Bissett are not great actors and they needed to be to make their captor/captive story compelling. It’s not, in fact a lot of the time it is downright boring. Not only that but it’s also really frustrating. Many times, Daniela will have clear opportunities to escape or to fight back and she either doesn’t take advantage of them or behaves like an absolute idiot. Mark isn’t the smartest captor; it really shouldn’t have been so tough for her to get away.

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Those hoping for a more exploitative film in the vein of the director’s earlier work might be disappointed. There are moments, such as the opening murder of a naked blonde. Then later nude scenes between Daniela and Mark but it’s few and far between. Near the end we do get some gore with a well shot torture scene. However, you have to get there first and few will.

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Hitcher in the Dark tone is dark so when Mark effectively gets away with what he did, it seems par for the course. Except we then get a tacked on ending that wraps things up in a ‘happier’ way. It is so unnecessary that it should come as no surprise to anyone who sees it, that this sequence was added later for a happier ending.

Such a disappointment as the premise is sound and the setup is solid.


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Hitcher in the Dark
  • The Final Score - 4/10
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