I don’t recall how this movie hit my radar but it had been it had been loitering in my Netflix queue for a couple of years now and therefore needed to be put down. What I discovered I would like to describe as a “stoner’s delight”. Director Richard Stanley borrowed more than a cup of coffee from both David Lynch (unsettling sounds, creepy dream sequences and steamy sex scenes) and Dario Argento (brightly colored sets and buckets of blood). That is not to say that Dust Devil is on the level with Blue Velvet or Suspiria but their influence was certainly welcome.
The exotic film location of Namibia provides a sound backdrop for this supernatural spaghetti western. The “dust devil” is an evil spirit that inhabits the body of a mysterious drifter. Said spirit gains its power through ritualistic murder. When the film’s equally mysterious heroine (she’s running from… something) offers the vagabond a ride, a series of evil weird things is put into motion. It's all rather baffling, and I'm still trying to figure out how the anti-apartheid message was relevant to the story. In fairness there is a Director's Cut available which may clear things up but I ain't going down that road any time soon.
I have a high tolerance for strangeness and can pretty much sit through any horror movie regardless of gaping plot holes, nonlinear storylines and general absurdity. However, I tend to get irritated by excessive nonsensical blatherings uttered by bad actors, and that's where this film falls flat. One can only take so much of, and I quote, "This is the home of the Great Snake Father Katine Kuru, and the dawn of things who made this place with the lashing of his coils" without rolling their eyes.