Dust Devil is a 1992 British-South African horror feature film written and directed by Richard Stanley (Color Out of Space; Hardware). The film was described as being like “Tarkovsky on acid” by Steve Beard of The Face.
Dust Devil was shot entirely on location in Namibia. The plot was loosely based on the story of Nhadiep, a nama serial killer near bethanie who was believed to have magical powers by the local populace.
Hitch (Robert Burke), a mysterious loner, wanders the deserts of the African nation of Nambia as he searches for the lost and suicidal. Hitch is wanted by the police in connection with the death a woman whose blood was used in a strange magic ceremony. A shaman consulted by the police and a pathologist investigating the killing believe that Hitch is a “Dust Devil,” an evil spirit who can shift shape at will, taking the form of a man when it’s convenient.
Meanwhile, Hitch encounters Wendy (Chelsea Field), a woman who is despondent after the collapse of her marriage. Wendy gives him a ride along a lonely highway, and later that night, as Wendy contemplates suicide, Hitch waits patiently outside her door.
The next day, Wendy runs into Hitch again and casually looks through his bag to discover that it’s filled with human fingers. Convinced that Hitch is no harmless eccentric, she tries to escape, but she discovers that he’s difficult to get away from; meanwhile, Mark (Rufus Swart), Wendy’s ex-husband, is searching for her, convinced that she’s fallen victim to foul play….
Dust Devil has been released in a number of different forms; the original European cut ran 125 minutes, while the American version, which features redubbed voices and a different narration, ran only 87. The “final cut” prepared by director Richard Stanley, meanwhile, is 103 minutes in length.
“Ultimately, Dust Devil is not without its flaws; still it is a truly unique visual experience that is sure to stay with you long after the film has ended.” 10k Bullets
“Dust Devil is a neglected gem, and is well worth seeking out. It’s better than the same director’s Hardware (against which it’s bound to be compared – it shares the same orange-and-blue colour scheme, after all) and the final scenes have to be seen to be believed.” British Horror Films
“Dust Devil is great to look at, it’s got a few solid performances, and it’s actually got a brain in its head (which is a nice switch for a genre flick), but the thing moves like a sand-coated snail, frankly, even with the director’s recent nips, tucks, and additions.” DVD Talk
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