DUST DEVIL

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Dust Devil is a 1992 South African horror film set on the desert border of S.A. and Namibia. A shapeshifting demon hitchhiker is out for blood when a runaway woman picks him up. They become lovers but things change when the demon tries to take her life. A policeman is hot on the trail of deaths and is getting close to catching the serial killing shapeshifter, but will he find him in time?

I came across this one while surveying the bottom of the barrel Netflix has to offer. I’m talking about those movies that only show up when you are typing in a search for a different movie. The simplistic cover caught my eye and after reading the synopsis I figured I’d give it a go. After all, if it’s terrible at least it will be an easy review!

Dust Devil isn’t terrible. The beautiful scenery of orange desert canyons is almost dreamlike. The idea of being alone with a complete stranger on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere is eerie yet oddly comforting. The disfigured shaman’s tales about dark magics brings a solid mystical side to the policeman’s standard approach. It is a very reserved film in terms of blood and guts, but when the scene calls for it the special effects team lets loose. Overall, the movie has a unique aura that isn’t comparable to most horror films.

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Dust Devil isn’t amazing. The great sequences are oases in the desert of the movie’s runtime so to speak. I found myself looking down at my phone during scenes with endless strings of repetitive dialogue. The so-called “shapeshifter” barely changes and when he does he doesn’t look that different. In the last act, the movie gets weird. Things stop making sense leading to an ultimately bad ending. It’s a shame, too. A couple simple changes and it would have been a lot better. Still, I would give Dust Devil a light recommendation. Maybe something to put on in the background when it’s not your main focus, because it looks pretty. Almost like a grainy, moving painting of a devil’s landscape.

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3 dirt tornadoes out of 5

★★★☆☆

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