Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Hitchhiker: New Blood – review

Director: Joël Farges

First aired: 1991

Contains spoilers

Sometimes called The Hitchhiker and sometimes Deadly Nightmares, this was a series of short morality plays akin to anthology series such as the Twilight Zone. Most episodes went to the dark side of the human spirit, a few introduced a supernatural element.

This one had a supernatural twist – as it is being reviewed hear you already know what it is! The common theme through them all was the hitchhiker (Page Fletcher), who appeared (in scene) at the beginning and end of the episode, bookending it in a Rod Serling sort of way.

performance art
This episode concerned Leesa White (Rae Dawn Chong) an artiste. It begins with her performing a performance art piece called Darkness (that truthfully was a wee bit rubbish). By the end of it she turns to her suited friend Stephane (Jean-Philippe Chatrier) for his opinion. When his words seem unenthusiastic to her she turns on him and calls their love a joke – that is until she realises she can’t pay the rent. At that point she becomes all-loving, for a cheque.

the hitcher near the theatre
Leesa has a flyer for a production called Songs of Despair. She goes to the theatre, that evening, and sneaks backstage. The rehearsals are on-going and the director (though this was confusing as Leesa meets another man who calls himself the founder and director of the show) is angry with rehearsals. He then spots Leesa, thinking she is press. She says she is an artiste and he gives her a shot – she performs part of Darkness to the cast's hysterical laughter – she runs out.

murder or just manslaughter?
The theatre's door seems to be locked and she meets Varsig (Didier Sauvegrain) – the founder/director I mentioned – he speaks to her about living the part, when the female lead Consuela (Joanna Pavlis) comes over and again disparages the girl. Leesa follows them to a club, collars Varsig and tries to wheedle her way into the company. She is critical of Consuela and flirtatious with Varsig – he offers her a scene audition. She goes to the toilet with the script and Consuela confronts her, there is a struggle and Consuela falls – smashing her head, apparently dead… Leesa scarpers.

In the morning Stephane phones her, she had not met with him as promised the night before. She tells him she has an important audition and puts the phone down on him. She goes to the stage and starts acting the part of “murder” but Consuela appears and laughs at her. Egged on and baited, Leesa stabs the other actress. She is shocked at her action and more shocked when Consuela gets up. However, she has passed the audition and Varsig shows his fangs as he goes to bite the company’s new actress…

And that’s all she wrote. If you know that they will be vampires, which I did and you do now, this is an average short that does little special. The character of Leesa is annoying, and is meant to be, but there is also little in the way of character building and therefore little in the way of audience buy in or character motivation. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


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