Starring Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland, Gina Varela, Karlos Drinkwater
On the eve of D-Day, two intrepid Kiwi commandos are sent by canoe to one of the small Channel Islands to take out a German gun emplacement. As they set their explosives, they hear inhuman screams from inside the imposing bunker complex and feel compelled to investigate...
The Devil’s Rock is a lo-budget, talky affair which nevertheless manages to deliver some effective and atmospheric chills. Captain Ben Grogan (Hall) and Sgt Joe Tane (Drinkwater) are two commandos from New Zealand who’ve been given the mission of kayaking to one of the Channel Islands and demolishing a large gun emplacement which watches over the English Channel. As they make their way across a mined beach, we’re given a little exposition about Grogan – his fiancé Helena had been killed in a bombing raid a few months earlier, and Tane was trying to get him out of his depression. Still, no time to worry about that now...
The German bunker complex looks very imposing especially with the cliff-face backdrop. Our intrepid commandos infiltrate it easily – perhaps too easily – and plant their explosives. However as they prepare to leave, unearthly screams and gunfire emanate from within.
What they find inside will be familiar to anyone who’s played the Castle Wolfenstien games – mutilated bodies of German Soldiers. The fx work is particularly good here, and quite imaginative. The film manages to avoid padding its running time with characters endlessly walking up and down corridors. Yes there is an element of this but it is kept to a minimum and only occurs when the plot actually needs it.
The Devil’s Rock eventually becomes a three-hander between Grogan and Colonel Klaus Meyer, a German officer who gives him the low-down on what is going on. The Nazi’s Occult division had come to the Channel Islands to obtain a spell-book and have used it to conjure a demon, in the hope of using it as a weapon. However they have bitten off more than they can chew and only Meyer has survived. The demon, a succubus, is currently chained in a nearby chamber. It won’t be a surprise to anyone that the succubus is able to take on the appearance of Grogan’s dead fiancé Helena, but what is refreshing is Grogan’s reaction – the rational side of his brain is just about able to question what his eyes are telling him, preventing him from doing anything too silly like try and free the demon.
The devilish design of the demon in it’s real form is a classic. Cloven feet, pointy tail, bright red skin and horns, it looks very realistic. The story develops into a race against time as the two enemy soldiers must work together to send the demon back to hell before it manages to escape it’s shackles. Can Grogan really trust the Nazi officer with his life?
The production design is excellent. Check out the extras on the disc and you’ll see how the film sets were created, and the director’s home videos of scouting locations.
is guilty of being a little over-talky at times but it remains an effectively atmospheric horror film. In my opinion there aren’t enough supernatural war movies, so this is a welcome addition.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
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