A serial killer is running down women with a '72 El Dorado. Armed with a fast car and a police scanner, the husband of one of the victims (Jim Caviezel) is obsessively tracking the murderer. For his haunted hubby, Robert Harmon knew from the start that he wanted ''The Count of Monte Cristo'''s Caviezel. ''He has this clear moral standing just [from] the way he looks -- something about his crystal eyes,'' says the director. ''Our character does some questionable things, so we were very anxious that the audience understand that somewhere under there is a good man who's been thoroughly screwed up.''
To ready for the 50-day shoot, the filmmaker watched ''anything to do with cars and mayhem,'' including ''The Fast and the Furious'' and ''Crash.'' But Harmon already knew his subject cold, having directed 1986's ''The Hitcher,'' to which ''Highwaymen,'' he says, ''bears more than a passing resemblance. I felt like getting back to [that image], small figures in a big landscape.'' Rhona Mitra (''The Life of David Gale''), who rode along with Caviezel as the sole woman to survive the killer's attack, describes the movie with one word: ''Relentless. I don't know if there was any respite apart from the day we called wrap,'' she says. ''Then it was like: Oh, here's Rhona! No man chasing me. And no more cars.''