Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The Dustwalker (2019)

Streaming Services: Hulu, Hoopla
Movie Name/Year: The Dustwalker (2019)
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Length:  95 minutes
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Three Feet Of Film, Head Gear Films, Kreo Films FZ, Metrol Technology, Myth Factory Films, SunJive Studios, Hark, Umbrella Entertainment
Director: Sandra Sciberras
Writer: Sandra Sciberras
Actors: Jolene Anderson, Stef Dawson, Richard Davies, Cassandra Magrath, Talina Naviede, Harry Greenwood, Ruby Duncan, Caleb Sciberras Scott, Ben Mortley, Ryan Allen, Oscar Harris, Lis Hoffman, Jackson Lucas, Shyla Vivian, Alexandra Nell, John Harvie Morris, Chloe Brown, Rayne Moses, Michael O'Brien, Russell Lambe, Sam Dudley, Joyce Penny, Cecile Charles, Nina Deasley, Andrew Bennett, Peter Barron, Ewan Scott, Oliver Wynn
Blurb from IMDb:  One by one the residents of a small, isolated town become infected by an insidious bug that turns them into violent, indiscriminate killing machines.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve probably said it before, but it bears repeating: I am fascinated by Australia. I love the accents, the people are interesting and, aside from the large percentage of lethal wildlife, the nature of the Outback captures my attention as well. When I saw I was going to watch a Sci-Fi movie filmed just outside of Perth with a largely Aussie cast, I was pretty excited. I even convinced my nearly 18-year-old daughter to watch with me last night.
To say that I had a frustrating experience with The Dustwalker is a slight understatement.
I ended up watching The Dustwalker twice, much to my chagrin. My fatigue was worse than usual yesterday. Even with a mid-day nap, I found myself zoning out and dozing off during programming. I was worried that it affected my experience with the movie so I watched it again today before writing. 
Alas, my fatigue wasn’t the problem. Even my teen quickly lost interest and bailed early before the movie was over last night.

Let me offer a positive note regarding The Dustwalker first. The remote location worked in the story’s favor and bolstered the suspension of disbelief to allow the story’s events to unfold as they did. Beyond that, it generally lost me.
Everything just felt strange – but not likely in the way the production was intended. Some character actions were just…odd. A few of the story elements were too vague. The camera work wasn’t consistent. I liked the spunky female lead and her geologist friend – in a broad sense of the word. The spirit of the characters intrigued me, whereas the roles themselves and their execution left a little bit to be desired.
If the intention of writer/director Sandra Sciberras (Max's Dreaming, Caterpillar Wish, Surviving Georgia) was for us to just be flat-out confused by this film, then I’d say she hit a home-run there. Otherwise, I am struggling to grasp the words to convey my disappointment in The Dustwalker. I thought that, perhaps, this might be a freshman offering but she has several projects under her belt.

The soundtrack was repetitive and felt a little clich̩ Рand I rarely say that. You need a certain level of musical or sound ambiance to underscore scenes for the appropriate emotional reactions. In this case, it ended up just a little bit off-putting.
I don’t think the special effects did The Dustwalker any favors. The monster wasn’t very believable-looking in several scenes, especially with its movements. The whole unhinging jaw of the screaming-possessed wasn’t effective for me because of the lack of consistency throughout the movie. The Dustwalker also tried to mash every zombie movement trope together, it seemed. (Even though the people weren’t exactly zombies.) 

There didn’t seem to be rhyme or reason to it at some points, whereas with others the movement seemed intentional.

That point brings me back to disagreeing with part of the IMDb blurb – the killing that happened wasn’t exactly indiscriminate. It’s fairly easy to connect the dots there. Unfortunately, it’s never clear exactly why events happen. It’s possible to puzzle out some of it, but I’m left with more questions than answers and I just don’t understand how the ending of The Dustwalker could leave audiences on the note the production chose. Sadly, without spoilers, I can’t exactly explain that further.
If you have a Hulu subscription and are bored, I wouldn’t call The Dustwalker a complete waste of time – it had some redeeming qualities. There’s just far better fare out there so I wouldn’t steer anyone in this direction on purpose. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 16%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 3.7/10
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2/5
Movie Trailer:

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