‘It walks among us’
The Dustwalker is a 2019 Australian science fiction horror film about an insidious bug that infects the residents of a small isolated town.
Written, co-produced and directed by Sandra Sciberras (co-producer of Witches of Blackwood), the movie stars Jolene Anderson, Stef Dawson, Talina Naviede and Harry Greenwood.
An alien spacecraft crash-lands in an isolated town in the middle of the harsh desert. It’s protected content is damaged, releasing an insidious parasite that attacks the brain of all creatures including humans, making them disorientated, unnaturally strong, and violent if that’s where the subconscious takes them.
Sergeant Joanne Sharp, long time local cop desperately yearns for the city after being dragged back to the small township with the birth of her nephew. Determined to take her feisty younger sister Samantha and eight-year-old son Simon to the city, wakes to find the township without communication.
Arriving at the local police station to her police officer partner Luke Dawson, they venture into the town trying to solve unexpected events, that at first appear simple, but before long, they both realise are harbingers of horror to come.
Those who have been infected by the spread of the virus search out those they love, not sure of what they’re about to do when they find them. Joanne and Luke soon discover this virus makes no sense, is random, and in the tight time frame impossible to control. With the town purposely isolated from the outside world by unknown sources, Joanne struggles to understand why?
Eventually teaming up with the alien, who mysteriously makes appearances throughout as he tries to destroy the remnants of his mistake, Joanne, Luke and the townspeople all fight to save the township from itself, only to realise the alien is prepared to destroy the virus at no expense – including humans that get in the way.
The Dustwalker shows initial promise. Unfortunately, it then takes a languid route to deliver on its theme of slow-building paranoia in a small town, rather like a soap opera with added alien threat.
What could have been an effective sun-soaked Aussie take on 30 Days of Night gradually descends into an identity crisis drama rather than raking up tension. Ben Mortley is creepily effective as a local taken over by the alien, however, the expected scenes of carnage never really materialise. The Dustwalker is by no means a bad film, it just doesn’t inspire much interest.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“The sci-fi horror stuff […] is not good, from the poor effects to just not having enough to actually do to stretch the film to feature-length. It’s a film that feels like things generally went well on-set and then completely fell apart when it was time to add visual effects and assemble the raw footage into an actual movie.” eFilmCritic.com
“The menace seems vague and ill-defined. More importantly, the zombies (for want of a better word) seem to spend a lot of the film standing about, occasionally running but never seem to do much to put the central characters at threat. This threat only emerges in about the last twenty minutes where Sciberras at least generates some tension…” Moria
“Unlike so many similar films, the characters in The Dustwalker don’t take an “if it moves kill it” approach. These are their friends and family members and they hope there’s a cure for whatever has happened to them. It adds a bit of realism as well. Because for all the tough talk you see in posts, most people wouldn’t easily put a bullet between their mother’s eyes. Even if she was possessed by an alien parasite.” Voices from the Balcony
The Dustwalker was screened at the Cannes film market on May 16th and 18th 2019 and premiered at Monster Fest in Melbourne on October 12th 2019.
Cast and characters:
Jolene Anderson … Joanne Sharp
Stef Dawson … Samantha Sharp
Talina Naviede … Michelle
Harry Greenwood … Paul
Ryan Allen … Anthony
Chloe Brown … Frances
Nina Deasley … Mother
Sam Dudley … Marlon
Ruby Duncan … Ellie
Cassandra Magrath … Angela
John Harvie Morris … Frank Cole
Ben Mortley … Bill
Lawrence Murphy … Infected man
Alexandra Nell … Marsha
Peter Williams … Infected man
Walga Rock, also known as Walgahna Rock and Walganna Rock, near Perth, Western Australia.
Three Feet of Film
Head Gear Films
Kreo Films FZ