DIABOLICAL DISC: “THE DEVIL’S ROCK”
THE DEVIL’S ROCK
Starring Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland and Gina Varela
Directed by Paul Campion
Written by Paul Finch, Paul Campion and Brett Ihaka
Don’t ask me why, but there’s something about Nazis and the occult in movies that intrigues me, which is why I’ve always loved “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and spent years pining to see Michael Mann’s “The Keep” before finally tracking down a copy last year. Nazi zombies do the trick too, hence my love of “Shock Waves” and even “Dead Snow.”
Likewise, the indie Kiwi horror show “The Devil’s Rock” – about an Allied soldier who stumbles upon a Nazi experiment in devil raising – promised to provide some awful Aryan atrocities.
Craig Hall stars as Grogan, a New Zealand soldier who is part of an Allied sabotage team tasked with disabling German defences on a remote Channel island the day before the invasion of Normandy. He and his partner, who is dispatched early on, discover a bunker splattered with human remains, the only enemy combatant left alive being Col. Klaus Meyer (Matthew Sunderland). Meyer tells Grogan that the creature he has chained up is not in fact his dead wife Linda (Gina Varela) but a carnivorous demon he has summoned from hell in a bid to aid the German war effort. But the demon is seductive, and the power dynamic between Grogan and Meyer slips and shifts as blood is spilled and the truth of the creature’s existence on this remote isle is finally revealed.
Director Paul Campion makes good use of a small budget and impressive locations (including a real decommissioned Nazi bunker) to create an atmosphere of dread. The film is necessarily talky given its tiny cast and limited locale, but I was never bored, and Campion, a former employee at special effects powerhouse WETA (who provided many of the effects), and his team deliver a good-looking slice of Grand Guignol that never betrays its micro-budget roots.