THE DEVIL’S ROCK (2011)
Directed by Paul Campion
Written by Paul Finch, Paul Campion and Brett Ihaka
Starring Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland, Gina Varela and Karlos Drinkwater
Set in World War II, two Kiwi soldiers, Ben (Hall) and Joe (Drinkwater), are sent to the Nazi occupied Channel Islands to blow up the Nazi weaponary in order to distract Hitler’s forces away from Normandy. As they arrive at the beach, they notice how quiet it is. Not a single Nazi in sight. Whilst avoiding land mines on the beach, the two soldiers hear screams emerging from a fortification on the island, so Ben decides to go in and investigate, much to Joe’s disapproval who follows him in 5 minutes later.
Inside they find Nazi soldiers lining the corridors, torn to pieces and disemboweled. Ben hears a gunshot and follows the sound into a room where he is knocked unconscious. Ben regains consciousness to find himself tied up and being interrogated by Colonel Klaus Meyer (Sunderland) of the German army. Ben hears screams coming from deep within the chambers and looking panicked, Klaus retrieves some limbs and intestine from the corpse of his comrade and takes them to the imprisoned shrieker.
Klaus tells Ben how he had been sent by Hitler’s regime to investigate the powers of the occult, in conjuring powerful demons and spirits in order to use them to win the war. However, their meddling had caused the deaths of his comrades and Klaus is the only one left, trapped with what is being held in the chamber. Now Ben is trapped with a Nazi and an unknown force. Which is more evil and who should he trust to escape?
The Devil’s Rock is the first feature length film by Paul Campion, who’s short films I have reviewed on this site. Whilst I admire the story and the directing, I felt Paul was a bit lost with having a longer running time (83 minutes). The film has a slow build up and is quite talky in places where it needs to be sharper and concise. The film would have been much better had it lasted 50 minutes.
The visual effects by Weta Workshop, who have worked on such films as Lord of the Rings and Avatar, are excellent with the demon being a true highlight of the film. The costumes and props used, as well as the bodies of the soldiers, were authentic and looked realistic to believe that the film was indeed a WW2 piece. I did however feel that Gina Varela’s character looked a bit too modern to be a woman from that period, especially with the styling. I thought it was nice how it was set on one of the Channel Islands. The Islands get overlooked in many a case, besides from the brilliant Island At War drama series.
Anything to do with the occult and Nazi regime interests me so I was very much gripped by the story. The link between Nazi’s and the occult is a valid one with numerous books detailing the supposed experiments that the regime carried out. Whilst the occult wasn’t thoroughly explored in this film, it was plenty enough to validate the storyline and to keep the interest going.
The Devil’s Rock is an enjoyable film who’s only real downfall is the running time. I think the director needs a couple of feature lengths under his belt to understand how to use the extra time to his advantage.
[pt-filmtitle]The Devils Rock[/pt-filmtitle]