C. Thomas Howell stars as Jim Halsey, a young Chicago native driving a car cross-country to California. The Texas road he's currently on is lonely and Jim is tired, but he spies a way he might stay awake in the form of hitchhiker John Ryder (Rutger Hauer). It doesn't take long before Jim becomes unnerved by his new passenger, as Ryder claims he's decapitated viciously the last person to give him a ride and that he will do the same to Jim. Jim finds a way to kick Ryder out of the vehicle, but he keeps showing up again, killing more victims along the way. Things go from horrific to maddening once the grisly body count rises and Jim becomes implicated in the murders, as all signs seem to point to him. Jennifer Jason Leigh gets a supporting role in this stylish and twisted cult thriller.