Dead Run - Recap
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Trucker Johnny Davis is on the road and tries to pas a driver in a sport scar. The sports car driver refuses to let him pass. A group of motorcyclists come along and are forced to swerve. The truck goes off the road.
Later, Johnny is drinking in a bar with Pete Siekovich and admits that his temper got the best of him. No insurance company will touch him and Johnny notes that Pete managed to find a job after an accident. Pete says Johnny wouldn’t want that type of job. Johnny notes that his dad told him to go to Pete if he had a problem. Pete agrees and explains he was a drunk, and that guys like him are the only ones who will take this particular job. Johnny admits he’s in a dead end and doesn’t have a choice. Pete tells Johnny to come with him on his run the next day.
The next day, Pete drives along a road that Johnny doesn’t recognize. Pete says that they need to “cross over.” They approach a fenced in cluster of buildings and helmeted guards let them in. Prisoners gathered along the fence watch them in abject horror. Pete pulls up his truck and slips a guard a cigarette: the guard lights it with his bare hand. Pete tells Johnny to keep cigarettes on him for bribes. The prisoners are ushered out of the buildings and into the back of Pete’s truck. The guards roughly shove them along and Johnny protests, but Pete explains that the “prisoners” aren’t alive. Pete stabs one of them in the stomach but the man neither falls over nor reacts. One of the guards comes over, calls Johnny a troublemaker, and pushes him with one burning hot finger. Pete pays the guard off and Pete tells Johnny to shut up and play along.
Pete drives back through the storm and notes that there’s rarely rain on the road to Hell. He talks about how each country has a particular way of driving the dead to Hell. Johnny suggests they cover the cargo but Pete says it doesn’t make any difference to the dead. They pull into a truck stop where one of the truckers, Merle, is discussing how they may end up the same way as their passengers once they’re dead. The other truckers aren’t worried and tell him to keep it cool. Johnny checks the back and the cargo begs Johnny to release him, but Johnny ignores them and goes into the diner. Merle storms off and the other truckers note there’s been disturbances down the line. However, they insist it’s only isolated incidents and warn Pete and Johnny to stay out of it.
Back on the road, Pete explains that the further you go into the city of Hell, the older the dead. They finally arrive at a beautiful city and Pete explains it’s intended to comfort the cargo so they don’t fight back. Dead souls run by the truck as they approach and fires burn as the guards attempt to capture the escapees. Pete notes it’s worse than he thought and goes to drop off the cargo car. Johnny tries to help a downed man but the figure turns to him, his face grotesque, and shoves Johnny away. The guards break up the struggle while a woman tells Johnny that she didn’t raise her children right but she didn’t know better. Johnny says he can’t do anything for her. Another man says he had a family and loved them, but he didn’t believe there was a God. Another dead soul, Gary Frick, comes to take Johnny away. He explains that he used to be a driver, then he was kicked up to management. When he died, he ended up in Hell himself. Johnny wonders why the people who talked to them were in Hell and Frick notes that none of them deserve to be there. Johnny realizes people are being sent to Hell that don’t deserve it, and Frick says that he’s helping to spread the word. “The Boss” isn’t in charge and Frick says that Johnny will understand soon. He found something in management and tells Johnny where to find the High Road. Pete and a guard arrive and Frick runs away. The guard asks Johnny who it was and says that management wants to talk to Johnny.
Johnny is taken to a beautiful landscape where he meets the Manager. The Manager explains that Frick was guilty and is lying about his innocence. He explains that there’s been a moral realignment recently but everyone who isn’t God-fearing ends up in Hell for their “sins.” Johnny points out that the Boss isn’t doing all the choosing, and the Manager agrees, saying he’s in charge of Hell and that God doesn’t handle all the fine details. Finally the Manager notes that in reality it’s humanity that judges itself. He warns Johnny that he could lose his security if he quits and no one ever knows what might happen: he might end up on the Low Road. Johnny smiles and said Frick didn’t tell him anything, and then gets back on the road.
Later, Johnny is driving a load of cargo. He stops and asks the cargo what got them sent to Hell. One man says he killed a cop. Another is a rapist and arsonist. However, one elderly woman says she never did anything wrong. She was a librarian who did what was right, and resisted book censors. Another woman was a junkie but insists she didn’t hurt anyone but herself. Another man was a draft dodger. And another man did nothing wrong but was a homosexual. Johnny releases the four people and gives them directions to the High Road. He admits that he doesn’t know what Heaven is really like, but then again nobody knows what Hell is either. They wonder if he’s in danger but Johnny admits that he’s following the tradition of Jesus in freeing the righteous from Hell. As they leave for the High Road, Johnny gets back in his truck and drives on to Hell.