The Devil’s Rock is the debut feature film from Paul Campion, previously known for his short films Eel Girl and Night of the Hell Hamsters. He carries on in the tradition of quiet gory horror with this, his first foray into historical territory.
Set in a bunker situated on the small island of Nazi-occupied Guernsey, The Devil’s Rock concerns two Antipodean soldiers, far from home, who have been sent to destroy Nazi outposts to distract the Nazis during the Normandy landings, uncover occult happenings and a demonic plan that could destroy the entire world.
Without giving too much of the story away, the film is a gory, but surprisingly satisfying and fun, watch. The performances are played completely straight and this works very much in the film’s favour as it occasionally struggles with logic and comprehension. Craig Hall plays Grogan, our handsome, and essentially good, leading man. He seems to falter when against the powerful, dramatic might of Matthew Sunderland whose eye-bulging, neck-vein-popping performance as the extremely intense Nazi Col. Meyer threatens to steal the show every time he’s on screen. Gina Varela plays Helena, Grogan’s erstwhile wife who has now, sadly, changed for the worse.
The Devil’s Rock has good solid performances, is well shot, and the locations are perfect. The only thing that spoils the film is the presentation of the film’s main antagonist. It’s very difficult to talk about without spoiling the story but the film would have worked a lot better without such a blatant, cheesy, on-camera portrayal. If they had gone for more of an Alien feel and kept it as a hidden, shadowy presence that stalks the movie, then it would have been much more effective. Instead what we given is a corny, sub-A Nightmare on Elm Street creature effect, and it is to the film’s detriment.
That one criticism aside, the film is superb and did interesting things within the staid occult Nazi sub-genre. We can expect big things from Paul Campion.
Best line: ‘Never summon a demon without the proper means to protect yourself’. Duh!
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