Having lived on this Great Southern Land for the past 16 years now, a land that I love to call home, I feel an enormous sense of pride when this country produces some of the stellar horror films that Australians can lay claim to. From The Babadook, The Loved Ones, Razorback, Killing Ground, Lake Mungo, Relic, Cargo, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead, Wolf Creek, and Patrick to highlight just some of the great films produced in the genre over the years.
So when I hear of a new Aussie horror film in the works, I sense that tingling of excitement that brims to the surface and the majority of the time, that feeling is met with satisfaction. More recently The Furies was a gloriously produced hell fire film and proved to have that wicked sense of humour that Australians relish and inject into their films to give them some sense of character.
I say all this to give you, the reader, a sense of my mindset when I approach these films.
So when I heard about The Dustwalker, set in a small isolated town in Australia. Nice.
Infected by an insidious bug. Double nice.
That turns the local residents into killing machines. And there’s the trifecta.
I was triply keen to see how this film would pay out.
Now the cast are no strangers to quality drama. Jolene Anderson (Harrow) plays the town sheriff, Richard Davies (Offspring) plays her deputy, and Cassandra Magrath (Wolf Creek).
So it’s not necessarily the players that are at fault here.
The director, Sandra Sciberras is also into her fourth feature behind the camera and armed with a bucket load of producer credits to her name is no stranger to the industry.
The film never really manages to lift itself off the ground though.
It had plenty of promise as a meteor crash lands and we get our first victim, who comes across the object and is immediately infected.
As the locals slowly become infected, our leads try to figure out what is going on, but the issue arises in the weakness of the writing.
The script offers nothing for the actors to work with, reduced to simple dialogue and when charged with an action sequence, only have it fizzle out into nothing.
I really wish the film was packed with vigour to keep the pace high and the entertainment levels projected up alongside what we are so used to with the calibre of talent that Australians have on show, but the ending says it all as we’re left scratching our head and wondering what it was all in aid of.
It’s hard to tell if Scribberas was trying to pay homage to sci-fi thrillers of yester-year, such as The Body Snatchers, or Tremors to a degree, but she unfortunately misses the mark on so many counts and the audience is left stranded with little or no connection to the movie.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow this one.
Lots of promise, but ultimately there’s no sizzle or bite for any appeal to originate from.
A bland story that could have been so much more.
- Saul Muerte