Watching this movie definitely feels like watching a 90 minute episode of the Twilight Zone or Night Gallery. Good thing i love both of those shows.
It wasn't surprising to learn (on the "Conversation with Steven Spielberg" feature) that this was his first feature-length film after successfully directing a couple Night Gallery episodes. Not trying to sound like Dawson, but you can't argue that he hasn't directed some good movies.
What really attracted me to this movie was the screenplay written by the ingenious Richard Matheson. Duel was originally a short story published in Playboy about a crazy truck driver chasing down and driving a businessman mad. This accomplished writer has written some masterful science-fiction, horror, and psychological thrillers (I am Legend, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Death Ship were all adapted for the screen). He was a big influence on Stephen King and ahead of his time.