A small cast and one location (for the most part), The Devil’s Rock lives and dies on the former’s performances. Thankfully, Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland and Gina Varela are more than up to the task.
From director Paul Campion who co-wrote the screenplay with Paul Finch, The Devil’s Rock is set in the Channel Islands. Taking place on the eve of D-Day, it follows two New Zealand commandos on a mission to destroy German gun emplacements. The goal being to distract Nazi forces away from Normandy.
It’s a clever setup and we really get to know the pair as they make their way across a mined beach towards a German bunker. Once there, they find no German guards which makes the destruction of gun emplacement all the easier. At least in the eyes of Sergeant Joe Tane (Karlos Drinkwater) but Captain Ben Grogan (Hall) is uneasy.
When he hears the sound of woman screaming from deep inside the bunker he decides to investigate. Much to the reluctance of Tane who just wants to finish the mission and leave.
What follows is arguably the movie’s best moments as the dark and eerie corridors of the bunker are explored. When Grogan comes across bodies, some mutilated and others having committed suicide, it’s clear something isn’t right.
There is one Nazi still alive though. Colonel Klaus Meyer (Sunderland) who captures Grogan and reveals to him the truth of what has been happening in the bunker.
The German forces messed with the occult hoping to unleash a weapon that could help them win the war. What they unleashed was a demon with a serious blood thirst. Now the both sides will have to work together to destroy it.
The Devil’s Rock is a movie that starts off really strong and slips bit by bit, the longer it goes on. Borrowing ideas from many other Nazi-occult horror movies, it still manages to stand out on its own thanks to the demon’s seductive nature.
The problem is that it hits a wall midway and can’t quite climb over it quickly as the finale is on the other side. This does mean we get a lot of exposition and repetitive scenes. Slowing down the pace far too much. Minds will begin to wander…
It’s a pity as the story is well told and as previously stated, well-acted. Not only that, it has a ton of atmosphere and is exceptionally gory at times. The effects look great, very realistic and very visceral.
The positives do outweigh the negatives. It’s just a matter of trying to stay focused when the movie seems to lose its own.
The Devil's Rock
The Final Score - 6/10