Monday, 10 October 2011



A horror movie set in (on?) the Channel Islands during the Second World War with only four significant speaking parts, that mainly takes place in one underground location - surely this would be a natural for the low-budget British horror industry? It's something of a surprise to find this is actually made in New Zealand! Why didn't we make this? Why did it need people more than eleven thousand miles away to produce something that's so naturally British? Presumably we'd have insisted on a role for Danny Dyer. Anyway, this could have been a perfectly decent, fairly grim and gruesome British offering - not a classic but a solid production - but instead it's a perfectly decent, fairly grim and gruesome New Zealand offering.

Possibly The Devil's Rock is Faroe Island itself, but more likely it's the ugly concrete monolith the German occupiers have constructed upon it. Two Allied soldiers, ordered to blow up the German gun emplacement as part of a distraction from the imminent Normandy landings, hear the sound of agonised screaming, and investigate. But inside, all but one of the Germans are dead, at the hands of a voracious demon conjured up as part of Hitler's ongoing obsession with the occult ("He almost got his hands on the Ark of the Covenant", murmurs the sole German survivor in the film's only humorous moment). Crucially, the demon has shapeshifting powers and can take the form of its prey's loved ones: can our reluctant heroes withstand its/her wiles and complete the banishment ritual as laid down in the Necronomicon?

While there's a lot of blood and entrails, most of the gore is after-the-fact offal rather than the kills themselves, and much of the first two thirds is talk rather than action. But on this occasion it's well enough done. The demonic makeup design is pretty traditional looking - although there is a dodgy CGI distension effect that doesn't really come off - and there's a nice irony in the payoff. Overall it's not bad. I'm just slightly annoyed that we didn't get to do it. (Ignore the critical quotes on the front cover: this is NOT "Saw With Swastikas" any more than it's Carry On Cowboy With Goosestepping.)



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