Sometimes, distributors don?t know a good film when they see it. Road Kill, which was directed by John Dahl, of Red Rock West and Last Seduction fame, was shot about 3 years ago as Squelch; when I saw it a year ago it was called Joy Ride. Lewis Thomas, Paul Walker, attends university in California and, when he heads home to New Jersey for the holidays, he buys a 1971 Chrysler to make the trip with his friend, Venna, Leelee Sobieski ? actually, he hopes that they?ll become more than friends before he drops her off at her home in Colorado. But along the way he has to stop to pick up his brother, Fuller, Steve Zahn, a no-hoper being held on drunk and disorderly charges in Salt Lake City. When Fuller infuriates a truck driver called Rusty Nail, who he taunts and torments on the CB radio, he gets the trio into a whole lot of trouble. Why the delays and changes of title to what is a pretty good thriller when so many mediocre or worse films have gone into distribution in the meantime? Who knows. This is a latter-day Duel, and for most of its length it?s terrifically exciting. And, unlike many thrillers these days, it?s convincing too; the characters are real, thanks to very good performances. As in uel, the homicidal truck driver is never seen, and Dahl, who uses the wide screen in much the same way John Carpenter did in his heyday, really knows his way around a suspense movie. The ending may be a slight let down, but don?t let that stop thriller-lovers experiencing this very tasty affair on the big cinema screen.