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Every so often a film wil come out of left field and surprise me. As in cult film par excellence.
This is one such film. This film is classified as horror but is actually a horrific mystery. It was originally a 16mm school piece by Richard Stanley. The original copy is out there somewhere, having been taken by an ex girlfriend. What I saw was his finished final cut, and it did not dissapoint despite my having never heard of this young (24 at completion) south african director. The set I am viewing also includes another film and two documentaries he produced. What few critics I find on this film seem to pan it; I think they are cracked. But then cult films that are a success generally get panned heavily. Just look at Rocky Horror when it was released. But I digress.
The film centers on a ritualistic serial killer (Robert Burke)who may or may not be an incarnation of a namibian dust devil. Zakes Makae plays Ben, a black dectective who is brought in to solve the murders. Wendy (Chelsea Field), leaves her husband and enters the desert, and into the territory of the hitchhiking killer. Will she survive? Is the hitchhiker really a Dust Devil or just a killer?
The film was shot entirely on location in Namibia, and a small village there called Bethany. There are some gorgeous desert sunset shots. The location is what makes this film work well visually. Especially some of the abandoned buildings used later in the film. However, for the first 30 minutes the view *screams* Australia unintentionally. And that is the one quirk of the costumes- the killer is wearing a Dryzabone and a hat that could pass for ringer with a couple adjustments. And Ben's dog *could* be a blue heeler with just a little imagination and the ability to ignore the favt they used a retriever.
Overall I enjoyed blurring of mysticism verus reality. Ben has given up his cultural superstitions for police work, and having to consult a friend who has knowledge of ritual symbolism makes him uncomfortable. A bit cliche, but it doesn't kill the film like some other movies I have perused. A good cultish waste of time (for me ) in years! Rent it!
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