Rare for an horror film, Dust Devil is an internationally celebrated movie, written and directed by Richard Stanley. It’s setting could have equally been sustained by either Australian or African landscapes, just as the legends of primal native aboriginal magic to which it alludes could very well have been too (perhaps continental drift went a little faster than we thought.) Again we see a demon wishing to manifest its domain from one dimension to another with absolute ruination in store for mankind. But here, with a bit of the flair of John Ryder, from the 1986 version of The Hitcher, by Eric Red. Robert John Burke is the Dust Devil, with an excellent performance and a coolness and skilled determination in going about his most of all carnal acts, that is more than slightly reminiscent of the performance given by Rutger Hauer.
In this film, the lovely Chelsea Field, as Wendy Robinson, is the extended pursuit target of the Devil once the critter has placed her on his designer list, a ritually decorated repertoire replete with aborigine drawings hearkening back to both African and Australian prehistory. And decorated, of course, with blood and body parts (saving the fingers for better things.) Evidently this horror monster has dominion over wind, appearance and movements similar in fashion to that of a Navajo skin walker and the ability to assume the personage of mere mortals. (Though we’re really not sure about that, the ending leaving us all up in the air….as if it were pitching for a sequel.)
The near-leading role of investigator, Ben Mukurob, played by the sinister, Zakes Mokae, is a difficult one to sell, but Mokae makes it convincing enough despite the loose flashbacks that keep getting in his way. Starting out as cynical of black magic, he soon suffers an attitude adjustment becoming eager for a stage right. Complications keep him involved, complications that cost him his life, fulfilling what he must do to end this reign of demoniacal terror.
The ending is not predictable but credible (qualified as an horror flick) and only gratifying to certain tastes, those that want to anticipate more to see later on. But then perhaps a viewer might wish to ignore the way the ending is brought about and that all oddity in any well-made movie must have meaning (it’s usually the stinky parts that hang in the air without any point.)
Ladies will also get to see supreme irony visited upon a stalking husband that refuses to take no for an answer following formal estrangement. A little something for everyone…except kids. Too violent, graphic love scenes (though they don’t end that way) and some especially awful ideas for interior decorating.
An interesting film worth seeing.