Eric Red, scriptwriter of The Hitcher, turns his hand to writing and directing for this suspenseful low-budget thriller. Both films revolve around the theme of innocent captured by raving sadist. Travis (Cross) is a nine-year-old boy who has witnessed an underworld killing. Cohen (Scheider) and Tate (Baldwin) are professional killers who must kidnap the boy and transport him from Oklahoma to their bosses in Houston. The nightmarish journey takes place at night, with the jaded taciturn Cohen increasingly angered by the lunatic ramblings of his violent sidekick. Added to this is their young hostage, who sets the men up against each other, and concocts various escape plans. Red does wonders with a simple budget and scenario; the sparsity of props and dialogue enhances the often brutal tension, while balance is struck with hefty doses of black humour. Cohen wears a hearing aid and dreams of retirement, while Tate chews matchsticks and 'has shit for brains': unlikely villains made credible by the context and Scheider's low-key performance.
Cast and crew
Roy Scheider Adam Baldwin Harley Cross Cooper Huckabee Suzanne Savoy