The Devil's Rock (R16)

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Review byMatthew Turner10/07/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 83 mins

Enjoyably trashy, well acted horror flick that combines gore, Nazis and topless demons to winning effect, though the story feels a little truncated, as if the money ran out halfway through.

What's it all about?
Directed by New Zealander Paul Campion, The Devil's Rock is set during WWII and stars Craig Hill and Karlos Drinkwater as Captain Ben Grogan and Sergeant Joe Tane, two Kiwi commandos who arrive on one of the occupied Channel Islands in order to blow up a defence gun as a distraction from the imminent Normandy landings. However, when they investigate horrific screams coming from the bunker, they discover dozens of occult symbols and texts, several eviscerated Nazi corpses, a lone Nazi survivor (Matthew Sunderland as Colonel Klaus Meyer) and a manacled woman who looks exactly like Ben's dead fianceé, Helen (Gina Varela).

The Good
Director Paul Campion began his career as an effects specialist before moving into direction (brilliantly, one of his shorts is called Night of the Hell Hamsters), which accounts for the superb effects work on what was obviously a very tiny budget. As a result, the gore sequences are extremely well done and Campion gets the balance exactly right so that they serve the story rather than dominate it.

Hill makes a solid lead as Grogan and Sunderland is superb as Meyer (he has a terrific Nazi face), while there's strong support from both Drinkwater as Joe (who just wants to get back to his busty nurses) and Varela, whose constant switching between beautiful, innocent Helen and scary topless demon is as chilling as it is effective. Similarly, the script works well because the film plays it straight rather than going for laughs, while also grounding the story in real-life rumours about Hitler's fascination with black magic.

The Bad
The only real problem with the film is that at a mere 83 minutes long, the story feels a little truncated, as if the money ran out halfway through (you can tell the budget was low, because despite successfully laying the charges, they never actually blow up the gun). It might have helped, for example, to have one more actor alongside Hill and Drinkwater's characters, which would have at least padded out the story in a knock-them-off-one-by-one sort of way.

Worth seeing?
The Devil’s Rock is an enjoyably trashy horror flick that does a great job on an obviously limited budget. If the prospect of Nazis, gore and semi-naked demons is enough to make you want to see the film, then you won't be disappointed. Worth seeing, if you like that sort of thing.

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Content updated: 23/07/2019 20:52

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