Undoubtedly one of the best movies I have ever seen, Duel, in my opinion, is very underrated in the horror genre. No, it doesn’t contain ghosts, ghouls, and zombies but offers something even better. What’s that? the ability to instill fear like no other. Terror and dread. Duel is a 1971 television film written by Richard Matheson which the film is based on his own short story and directed by the legendary Steven Spielberg. The films main protagonist David Mann is played by Dennis Weaver.
I have a lot to say about this movie. Each time I watch it my mind is refreshed to just how awesome the horror content is within the film without even really trying to be scary. Duel captures horror perfectly because the viewer feels as if they are in a ‘real’ life scenario. A crazy truck driver stalking you on practically abandoned roads, chasing you down in a rusty old, unkempt Peterbilt 281, honking his horn sinisterly at you as he tries to frighten and intimidate you is pretty damn well unnerving. I loved the way that the reveal of the truck driver was never disclosed it gave the film an even more insidious edge. We were always kept guessing if the truck did have a driver or was it something more malicious?
Whereas horror normally focuses on jump scares and scary monsters this forgotten gem deserves to be credited for its ability to scare. Dennis Weaver’s acting was amazing throughout the entirety of the movie. I felt his every emotion, his despair, his pain, his madness, his frustration. He portrayed his character brilliantly. The poor man has been run off the road, pushed onto train tracks, followed everywhere that he stops at, its a constant feeling of suffocation. Every time Weaver believes that he has outsmarted the raging hunk of steel he is always proven wrong. Somehow, somewhere the truck is waiting for him and he can find no means of escape.
Burn Some Rubber!
I love movies like this. It’s exciting, terrifying and truly fills me with dread. The plot is chilling to the core and showcases just what can happen if something like this were to happen in real life. Duel manages to evoke all kinds of emotions within me which is hard to do with modern horror. I felt everything he felt which is a very good scriptwriting. I commend everybody with production. The actors were limited but the film needn’t required any more than the main truck and the Dennis Weaver. There are so many questions left unanswered at the end of this movie but it doesn’t upset that I don’t know the full story. It adds to the heavy atmosphere of the film and I left relieved.
I highly recommend any horror fan to give Duel a watch. Don’t overlook a film simply because it doesn’t contain ghosts and vampires. You could miss out on a great creepy story like this one. Trust me!