Whilst travelling the desert road, on route to San Diego, Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) decides to pick up a hitch-hiker, who appears to be stuck out in the rain. Unfortunately, his good-deed turns out to be not such a good idea and soon wishes he'd heeded his mothers advice about not picking up strangers.
The mysterious hitch-hiker (played by Rutger Hauer) turns out to be a psychotic killer, who promptly puts a knife against his throat. Although Jim manages to successfully eject the would-be killer from his car, he discovers his troubles are far from over. As what follows is a deadly cat and mouse game along the desert highways, as the hitcher returns to wreak murder and mayhem at every turn.
To make matters worse, the police seem to think that Jim is the one responsible for the slew of brutal killings. Hooking up with a young waitress named Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who knows he's innocent, they attempt to make it to the next county so he can turn himself in and sort matters out. But that proves no easy task, as the state police want him behind bars, the local sheriff wants him dead and the mysterious Hitcher continues to stalk him and stir up matters with the police all along the desert highway.
Undoubtedly one of my favourite road movies from the 1980's. Chilling, suspenseful and action packed, Rutger Hauer is aptly cast as the seemingly unstoppable "Hitch hiker from Hell", in what was arguably his most memorable role. Along with C Thomas Howell, as the unwitting victim who gets dragged into the Hitcher's deadly game. Bloody good stuff all round!!!