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6 Movies like Duel: Highway to Hell

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Dale Barham itcherThinking of going on a cross-country road trip? Do yourself a favour and watch movies like ‘Duel’, ‘Joy Ride’ and ‘The Hitcher’ – you might want to reconsider your current travel plans! I can suggest a good airline company… ~ Dale Barham

Pedal to the Floor

I can’t think of anything quite as nerve-wracking as a road-trip gone wrong. You see, I’m a stickler or meticulously kept plans and always dreamed of travelling through America in a Cadillac. Imagine doing that, having the time of your life, only to attract the attention of a menacing, merciless beast of a truck. Films like ‘Duel’ prey on that very feeling … oh great!

Hey guys, cancel the road-trip, I might just stay home instead!


Movies Similar to ‘Duel’…

‘Joy Ride’ (John Dahl, 2001)

The late Paul Walker stars in this horror movie dead-set on redefining the term ‘full-throttle’. When two brothers rub a truck driver up the wrong way over CB radio, they unwittingly become entangled in a life or death game of cat-and-mouse with their angst-ridden, psychotic foe.

It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this movie, Rusty Nail still scares the crap out of me. No wonder Roger Ebert likened this movie to the classic ‘Halloween’.

Similarity Match: 90%
It’s another road-rage movie with a killer truck, only this time we’ve got a voice to put to the evil.

‘The Hitcher’ (Robert Harmon, 1986)

Rutger Hauer gives a performance to rival his work in ‘Blade Runner’ as the deranged hitchhiker with a habit of murdering anybody who picks him up. When an unsuspecting C.  Thomas Howell casually pulls over to lend a helping hand, he opens himself up to two hours of non-stop, heart-pounding terror.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like ‘Duel’ this a film set on nothing but the open road, with a deranged lunatic hot on your tail. This has the better villain but I think I’d rather not know who was chasing me to be honest.

‘Jeepers Creepers’ (Victor Salva, 2001)

Justin Long and Gina Philips star in this surprisingly fun horror movie as two siblings who are travelling back from college – only to be pursued by someone (or something) that drives a dirty, disgusting truck.

I’ve been catching the train home ever since!

Similarity Match: 70%
It starts out like ‘Duel’ – a casual road trip gone awry, but then it spins into something a lot more supernatural.

‘Road Games’ (Richard Franklin, 1981)

I actually found this film through (nice one, guys!) and boy, what a thrill ride! It stars Stacey Keach as a trucker high-tailing it through the Aussie Outback to stop a serial killer with a hostage hitchhiker (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Great early 80s popcorn flick!

Similarity Match: 65%
This time the trucker is the good guy – go figure! It loses the anonymity that ‘Duel’ has but retains the white-knuckled, adrenalin-pumping atmosphere.


If You Like ‘Duel’, You Will Like…

The scariest part of ‘Duel’, for me anyway, was the fact you never see who is driving the truck. Poor Dennis Weaver is just driving along only to find himself victim to some unknown’s destructive idea of fun. What a madman … or woman!

Here’s two more films that utilise that nerve-shredding idea of the unknown.

‘Phone Booth’ (Joel Schumacher, 2002)

Colin Farrell does a great job at carrying this movie on his shoulders. He’s the man trapped in a phone booth as a lethal sniper waits somewhere in the skyscrapers above, taunting him over the phone and ready to blow his brains out.

Kiefer Sutherland lends his distinct voice to the sniper – but we never get to see him. Death by truck or death by crazy gunman? The choice is yours.

‘Paranormal Activity’ (Oren Peli, 2007)

My biggest gripe with horror films is that they always show too much of the big nasty. That’s not the case in the ultra-low-budget ‘Paranormal Activity’. There’s a suggestion of what the troublesome demon may look like but for the most part it’s left to your imagination, making this found-footage movie a hell of a lot scarier than its peers.

I’d rather be able to see the bad guy coming like in ‘Duel’ rather than wait for it to drag me out of bed and possess my partner.


You Failed to Stop at the Stop Sign

I don’t think a stop sign is going to prevent the nutters on this list from slowing down, do you? After this movie marathon, you might end up seeking alternative travel arrangements … anything to avoid the glaring headlights of an insane truck driver.

What are some of your favourite road-rage thrillers?

Let me know in the comments below!

Hi, I’m Dale and I’m a Blu-Ray addict. When I’m not obsessively fixating over the ever-growing mountain of movies taking up most of the front room, I’m usually writing about all things Hollywood. Go figure, huh? If I’m not glued to the television watching ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ for the billionth time, you can probably find me crooning in my hard-rocking blues band or having inane conversations with the resident cats.
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