Dust Devil: The Final Cut
Written & Directed by Richard Stanley
Dust Devil...Robert John Burke
Wendy Robinson...Chelsea Field
Mark Robinson...Rufus Swart
Ben Mukurob...Zakes Mokae
Captain Beyman...William Hootkins
A mysterious stranger in an even more mysterious trench coat seduces a woman, snaps her neck just before her sexual climax, and then burns her house down to the warbling strains of a radio preacher. Wendy is a suicidal woman who finally decides to leave her abusive husband Mark, and hits the road in search of freedom. Their paths cross for the first time at Bethany, a “shit-hole” town deep in the desert of Africa. When she sees him hitchhiking a short time later, she offers him a ride, never realizing what she’s getting herself into. It would seem that her new passenger is not just a killer. As the tagline goes, he’s much worse: a shape-shifting supernatural being of the desert that the superstitious locals refer to as the Dust Devil.
The Dust Devil character looks (and is scored) like a neo-western throwback. He is deceptively complex, and you’re really not ever sure what to make of him, especially when he shows his vulnerable side. Is he really evil, or is he just a victim of circumstance, doing only what must be done to insure his own survival?
Ben Mukurob is the obsessive detective chasing the killer, who learns that the mutilation of the body and the symbols drawn on the walls of the crime scene all point to one thing: witchcraft. He’s not much of a believer in magic, but in order to catch his man, he may have to change his views. On top of this, we have Mark trying to track Wendy down, although we don’t know for sure what he’s got in mind once he finds her. The two men of course wind up joining forces.
It’s a grim, atmospheric film with stunning visuals and heavy symbolism that are just as important as the actual story. Rock solid performances are put in by Robert John Burke as the Dust Devil and Zakes Mokae as Ben Mukurob, two characters who are (pardon the pun) as different as black and white. The initial release of the movie was butchered down to 87 minutes by the fine folks at Miramax, but for the full experience, be sure to track down The Final Cut. The truly obsessive, however, may be interested in forking over a little extra scratch for the 5-disc set.
Visual-oriented horror fans—as well as fans of Rescue Me who want to see Burke in a role decidedly different than his Father Mickey Gavin persona—will definitely want to check this out.
South Africa/United Kingdom