Rutger Hauer decides to give driver C. Thomas Howell as really bad day. While ostensibly a thriller about a man pursued by a deranged hitchhiker, in reality it's a secret slasher movie. Hauer has the Jason-like ability to pop up in exactly the right place and time to terrorize Howell at every opportune moment. While doing this, he also has plenty of time to continue his mass-murder spree of families and policemen. And, towards the end like any good slasher picture, Hauer even gets seemingly defeated a couple of times only to rise again for more.
So, yes, at times it's a little silly. Howell's acting doesn't help the situation. I couldn't help but laugh at the exaggerated reactions to the situations he finds himself in. His wailing and gnashing of teeth was impossible to take seriously and hurt the movie a bit. On the other hand, Hauer is completely awesome in the role of the psychotic hitchhiker. He wears this maniacal grin throughout the movie that shouts "I am out of my mind' and looks to be having a blast playing the villain.
I enjoyed the story. It's an interesting idea: a psycho who's tired of it all. The hitchhiker is so good at what he does -- torturing and killing people on the highway -- that he will never be caught. But, it's all too easy for him now. There's no excitement in it any more. The only possible thing left to do is to face his own death. That, in itself, isn't very exciting, either. Pushing a random person to to point where they snap and hunt and kill him... that's might be a good final adventure.
Watched: DVD from WB.