Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Devil's Rock (2011)

In 1944, two New Zealand commandos receive a mission: travel to the Channel Islands, sabotage a German gun machine, and quietly kill any Nazi soliders, who might interfere. It’s the eve of D-Day, trouble is looming, but Captain Ben Grogan (Craig Hill) and Sergeant Joe Tane (Karlos Drinkwater) stumble across a horrible secret plot. The Nazis plan to use a powerful demon to win World War II. Grogan is at the mercy of a ruthless Nazi Colonel. Colonel Klaus Meyer (Matthew Sunderland) tortures Grogan for answers, but both men will have to work together, if they want to leave the island alive. The chained demon can break free at any moment, but the situation becomes more complicated, when the demon takes the form of Ben’s dead wife, Helena (Gina Varela). Will Ben trust the Nazi Colonel, who tortured him? Or will Ben succumb to the temptation of starting a new relationship with his demonized wife?

The Devil’s Rock doesn’t feature any true scares, but I still enjoyed Paul Campion’s directing. Campion created a very believable bleak atmosphere, and the eerie silence throughout the bunker (the main setting for this film) really pulled everything together. Plus, the gruesome sight of dismembered dead bodies provides a genuine haunting feeling for the isolated deathtrap. The Devil’s Rock features some good tension every now and then, and Campion’s directing is one the major highlights for this film.

You won‘t see any genuine jump scares, or spooky moments here, but I enjoyed the verbal dueling between Grogan and Meyer. It’s Grogan’s morals and ethics VS Meyer’s loyalty to his country, but at the same time, you can sense the conflict in Meyer. Meyer has to make a choice: he can unleash the deadly demon, and Germany will win the war, or he can put a stop to the demon’s viscous wrath, because Meyer is the only one, who possesses the necessary knowledge, that could destroy the creature once and for all. Meyer and Grogan play a deadly game of cat and mouse, and this film will throw a surprising twist at you towards the end.

The Devil’s Rock is an independent film, and the majority of low-budget effects are noticeably bad. The demon looks like a character from a cartoon show, and this is a MAJOR problem, because 90% of the story revolves around the demon. The demon is suppose to inspire fear, intimidation, and terror, but the sight of the demon almost brought a few laughs out of me. Don’t believe me? Here take a look:

This was a tough rating for me, but I decided to go a with a positive score. Yeah, the cartoonish demon is a problem, but I still enjoyed The Devil’s Rock. This film provides a nice mix of war history and horror, and the unique premise feels refreshing. Plus, Craig Hill and Matthew Sunderland delivered a pair of strong performances, Gina Varela was believable, and you will see some good acting in this film. Also, if you can’t handle bloody stuff, you should avoid this one, because The Devil’s Rock is loaded with graphic gore and gruesome violence.

The Devil’s Rock has its problems (mainly in the make-up/special effects department), but I appreciate the effort to give horror fans something different. The Devil’s Rock brings a thought-provoking approach to the horror genre, and this film should please the bloodthirsty horror fans, who crave graphic violence.

Final Rating: 5/10

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