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3.7 out of 5 stars
Devil's Rock [DVD]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2013
When I bought the DVD, I was fully expecting a low budget movie, average acting and direction, so I wouldn't be disappointed. I was intrigued by the plot of the Allied commandos set out to raid enemy bastions on the eve of the D Day landings infiltrates German occupied Channel Islands to divert Hitler's attention from Normandy. When they successfully plant the bombs, they hear sounds of an apparent torture from the nearby bunker. Captain Ben Grogan (Craig Hall) despite the objection of Sergeant Joe Tane (Karlos Drinkwater), went to investigate assuming it could be a fellow soldier. While Grogan enter the large gun pit - bunker, Tane stands guard rather reluctantly giving the captain five minutes to do whatever he can. Soon hearing a gunshot he also enter the pit-bunker in search of Grogan. What he found was a book of black magic near a bloodied dead German soldier. The book in French, details with signs and symbols of the occult and Lucifer incantations, puzzles Tane who is killed by a someone in German uniform, soon Grogan is also captured.

That's an intro to the plot, which thickens and twists while weaving a web of horror. True, it's a low budget movie, but it's really well made. Great camera, audio, decent special effects, and an engaging story though sometimes the story drags a bit.

The entire cast, including the extras, is may be nine (that counts for characters after the main credits). Three main actors, since the character Tane is killed at the beginning, the story revolves around Craig Hall, the Nazi Colonel Klaus Meyer played b Matthew Sunderland, and Gina Varela's mysterious demonic entity.
Don't miss the epilogue: once the credits roll, wait for ten or so seconds until the film title, and see the epilogue.

About the DVD: DVD has limited features like scene selection, making of the movie and no subtitles.
Great Plot
Decent Special Effects
Good Audio
Low budget but masked very well, thanks to the audio and the camera.

No Subtitles
Only four main actors, and probably all together seven actors in the whole movie.
Still low budget

DVD Features on cover
The Making of the Devil's Rock: Behind the scenes featurette
Interviews with cast and crew.
Certificate: 18 for strong gore
Region: 2
Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound/2.0 Stereo Dolby Digital
Running Time: 82 minutes Approx.
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Anamorphic
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 16 September 2011
This is a well made, small budget flick from New Zealand and it has a setting that is becoming a new sub genre, that is the Nazi's and the occult. It starts the day before D-Day, when two New Zealand commandos have been sent to the Channel Islands as part of Operation Overlord and the subterfuge that was employed by the Allies. They are to blow up gun emplacements in a bid to make the Germans think that the Islands will be the staging post for the invasion of Europe. So far, so plausible, as they near their target they can hear tortured screams coming from the bowels of the cavernous outpost. Captain Ben Grogen (Craig Hall) decides it might be one of their men being tortured and so goes in against the advice of his Sargeant.

In some horrors you always want to know why do the `heroes' go into the big scary mansion where the lights don't work, instead of running as quickly as possible in the opposite direction. What director Paul Campion makes you realise is that it is foolish but heck you would probably do the same thing, so cliché avoided. A word about Mr Campion, he has worked as artist and painter on oodles of films including `The lord of the rings' trilogy but I think this is his first in the directors chair.

Well they go into the pit and to tell you any more would be a plot spoiler.
What I can say is that they do not find any of their comrades and most of the Germans are already dead, so what they do find is a whole lot worse. The German commander is Col Klaus Meyer (Mathew Sunderland) who is a member of the SS on one of Hitler's special missions to investigate the legendary witchcraft of the Islands. His role is pivotal to the plot development and as some have commented he does have a rather English accent, which is forgivable as a lot of Germans were educated in England, but it is really because he is not actually a German actor. This is full of unpleasant gore, scares a plenty and images of the occult as well as more blood than an average abattoir. It is tense and gripping right from the start and does not let up throughout, which is a very big achievement especially as this is 96 minutes long.

I am not a huge horror fan, but this is one that has appeal on many levels, if you liked `The Outpost', or `The Keep' you will want to see this. Scary, claustrophobic, dirty and intense, I think Mr Campion should be rightly proud of what he has managed to achieve.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2012
The Second World War. Widely considered to be perhaps the one and only true war where the forces of good battled evil. From World War II comes cinemas go-to villains: the Nazis. Indiana Jones hated them, Laurence Olivier's fugitive Nazi tortue methods left audiences squirming in The Marathon Man; and they proved to be a supernatural force to be reckoned with in Outpost. So, taking this villainous cinematic staple as its core, The Devil's Rock is a 2011 horror film from New Zealand but set in the German-occupied Channel Islands of World War II.

The Devil's Rock comes to audiences from the mind of British writer, Paul Finch. The backstory is well-researched and this is further fleshed out (for those interested) on the film's website.
Naturally, New Zealand acts as a substitute for the Channel Islands and the fantastically well-preserved Wrights Hill Fortress stands in for a German fortification. Its tunnels and hallways provided a suitably convincing, eerie and claustrophobic setting for this particular story to be told in.

The Devil's Rock plays out with only a handful of characters and once you've read the synopsis, there is little in the way of surprise when the true nature of the "beautiful but Devilish captive" is revealed. However, this does not spoil the film in any way since the focus of the film is more on the inner turmoil suffered by Grogan and questions arising as to where his own and the Nazi officer's loyalties truly lie...

I initially had gripes with the antipodean accents evident in the movie but these are ably explained away in the case of the commando team and the film's website paints a background of having spent time in education in England for the Nazi officer's intonation.

The special effects are largely old school make up: buckets of fake blood etc and I can't think of any blatant uses of poor CGI. A major bonus in my book. The gore is suitable for a tale of this nature and there's probably enough of it going around to keep most of you gorehounds happy for a while!

As stated earlier, The Devil's Rock only has a few core members of cast. I would suggest that this is one of the film's strongest points since it allows the story to develop nicely without having to examine a multitude of characters motives behind their actions and allows the leads to develop further than two-dimensional stereotypes.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and if I am to find fault with it, it would have to lie with the lighting and lack of suspense or scares. At times I felt the set pieces could have used with just a little less light, creating a bit more of a foreboding atmosphere. I would suggest that this is a small complaint and if you like your horror with a bit more story than your usual splatterfest, this film should make its way into your DVD collection.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2011
First of all a call out to whoever decided to emblazen 'Saw with Swastikas' across the cover of 'The Devils Rock'.

Lazy and misleading; it's nothing like Saw at all!

Maybe who ever wrote this just loves alliteration; how about "Finding Nemo with Gnashers" for 'Pirahna', "Parenthood with Problems" for 'The Exorcist' or "Goodfellas with Giggles" for 'The Hangover'.

Anyway, 'The Devils Rock' is a very different horror film which confronts the demon/devil sub-genre in a solid, non-cheesy way. The acting is very good and the claustrophobia of the underground network (in which alomost the entire film is set) works very well.

An original take on the ending of the war, it is exectuted very well with gore a plenty along the way. The downside for me is the abrupt ending and the fact that very little actually happens throughout. Action packed and fast moving it isn't, a slow burner it most certainly is.

The special affects are commendable and the 'devil' looks very realistic. There's not enough good, old fashioned demons in horror these days!

I didn't love 'The Devils Rock' and there are far better horror films out there. That said, there's no huge flaws and the whole film is pretty neat and tidy. Worth a watch for sure, but for me it was just a little pointless, especially with the film grinding to a halt when it seemed to just be getting going.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I'll skip the details as they've been supplied by other reviewers and focus on what's good about this movie to make it worth watching.

It's low budget and much of it's set in one room. For most of the running time there are only three characters. Most of the gore is in the shape of already dead and mutilated German soldiers. There are only a couple of notable onscreen kills. Okay, this sounds as if I'm trying to put you off but I'm not. What is so good about this film is the sheer tension the director builds up between the characters that you can't look away from the screen and you really do not have any idea of what happens next. You have two enemies trapped with a devious man-eating demon who becomes the person you love. It is genuinely suspenseful and scary. The World War 2 setting is also an interesting factor which makes this different from the usual run of horror movies.

Four stars would be too generous, but call it 3.75.
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on 25 August 2015
You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that The Devil’s Rock was not, as I had expected, a live concert of a band called the Devils, but an attempt to cash in on Hitler’s apparent interest in the occult. The apostrophe should have given me a clue of course.

I soon began to realise that the concert film may have been something more worthwhile, even if the music had been as dreadful as one might imagine from a band called the Devils.

Two New Zealand commandos land on one of the Channel Islands on the dawn of D-Day to disable the guns there and so weaken resistance for the invasion. So far so good. The following twenty minutes see them finding their way through a maze of tunnels beneath a German bunker. That’s a sizeable chunk of an 86 minute film. It’s well shot to achieved a sense of claustrophobia (should that be Klaustrophobia?) but any attempt at racking up the tension is not quite so successful. Distant screams indicate that all is not well here and this is also true of the production: the action is supposed to be taking place in 1944 but somehow there’s a rather contemporary feel to it. This is something that is guaranteed to disengage me from the start. But I pressed on.

The two encounter a very nasty Nazi whose ill-concealed Kiwi accent pretty well destroys his credibility as an SS man. But we can go with it. There follows a battle of wits which is peppered liberally with violence and viscera as the Nazi reveals his plan and all kinds of satanic jiggerypokery follow as we fall headlong into silliness with a showdown which is not dissimilar to the one in The Devil Rides Out. Here however, the intent is for the Devil to Ride In. To London in fact.

Gore is in abundance and it seems that this is the real aim of this rather lame effort, hardly surprising as its director, Paul Campion was previously a special effects whizz. And ultimately, it is his in-your-face self indulgence in this area which constitutes the film’s downfall. Still, on the plus side there’s a very attractive young lady whose appearance veers between simply being attractive and being covered in red paint and horned protrusions. I was reminded of Tim Curry in Legend.

Perhaps if it hadn’t have taken itself quite so seriously...
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on 5 April 2014
A pair of Kiwi commandos land on a Nazi occupied island, just off the coast of Guernsey. Their mission is to create as much of a rumpus as possible and take out some strategic points, which the allied forces will use as a semi decoy, before storming Normandy in full force.
However the commando's mission quickly goes off track when they see what appears to be a Nazi run tower of torture, and as they sneak in to investigate, they soon find that things aren't as straight forward as first thought, and that instead of a fortress teaming with the enemy, they discover an unmanned stronghold, which has become the home to something summoned by dark forces...

I, like seemingly many other reviewers, were fairly impressed with this low budget New Zealand production.
Although obviously shot on a shoestring, the acting talents on display are solid and believable, with a core of only a few people to tell the story. The dialogue and where it takes the viewer, is an adult journey and not one given to flights of light heartedness or silly one liners. All this resulting in one of the better Nazi~horror efforts I've seen for a while.
Don't get me wrong, it's not without it's flaws; showing us far too much of the demon (the concept design of, i didn't really care for) and sadly a definite lack in tension and under use of it's potentially creepy location. Plus I maybe wrong here, but does anyone plant anti personnel mines on a beach? Surely they'd get washed away or detonate from debris as soon as the tide came in??

But overall though, as I said, don't let those niggles (along with the totally untrue accolade 'like saw with swastikas' mis~marketing it's way across the bottom of the UK dvd cover!!) put you off watching this, because when taking into account the budget, the cast and the ensuing tale, it's certainly worth a visit, especially if you're partial to low key occult thrillers.

The dvd has a few pre and post~production featurettes including interviews etc. The print, as good as you would expect, considering it's modern production.

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on 25 September 2013
It's a shame really as it started so very well. The scene was set marvellously as two commandos who just happened to be from New Zealand punt their way across the sea to cause all sorts of beastliness on one of the occupied Channel Islands. Long story short, they end up in a gun emplacement and oh my God but if you aren't on the edge of your seat with a cushion in front of your face as they creep around the dark corridors. All the time the sounds of inhuman screams echoing along. Enough to send chills all over the place.

And then there is enough gore to turn pretty much anyone's stomach. And the quality of the special effects is actually pretty damn good. If you like that sort of thing.

And then, right at the end, you get to see the demon and oh man she has got a marvellous bottom, which, at my age is a joy because it's like "yay! I remember being alive!" but it somewhat devalues from the horror element because my mind has been distracted by trying to decide whether a bare bum that is bright red in colour is more or less appealing than a bare bum in any of the more ordinary colours. Mind goes off on a further tangent pondering how long the make up took to apply...and who was the make up artist? I mean, what a great job. But anyway, back to the film.

It's a great film if it could have been cut down to a more compact flick. At over an hour and a half long (longer if you pause it to look at the bare bum so in my case 7 hours long) it gets ponderously tedious. Once you've seen one mutilated corpse with intestines spread all over the place you've seen them all. It just got to the point where I was hurting my hands crossing my fingers hoping there was going to be some sort of denouement that would make the whole thing less corny. But there isn't.

If you like gruesome horror films and if you want a revisit to a pretty hackneyed concept (the Nazis were in league with the Legions of Hell, the Allies were the good guys, but the British actually are a race of Satanists and everyone that fought for the Allies was actually not from Britain at all) then this is a must.

Personally, I recommend you look at the price then ask yourself why it's so cheap.
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Firstly whoever thought that using the tag-line "Saw with Swastikas" was a good idea is an idiot; it was taken out of context from a web-site review. That act of advertising lunacy almost made me avoid this movie and I would have missed what is a perfectly good old-fashioned horror movie.
The Nazi fascination with the occult is well documented and has been used in many movies from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Hellboy etc and in books by many authors including Dennis Wheatley and James Herbert and countless comics over the years.
The plot has been outlined before but basically two New Zealand commandoes are on a decoy sabotage mission the day before D-day, they land on one of the smaller Channel Islands where the Nazi's have a base. After setting their explosive charges they hear screams, fearing it is an allied soldier being tortured, and against the advice from his friend, Joe goes into the tunnels to try and rescue the prisoner. On hearing gun-shots Ben follows him and finds that the truth is far more sinister.
It's a well-paced movie using just four main characters the two NZ soldiers along with a suitably evil SS Colonel (Matthew Sunderland) and the female prisoner (Gina Varela) who happens to look like Ben's dead wife.
The gore lies mainly in the effects of the dead soldiers; it has no relevance to Saw in any way, if anything it actually underplays the gore at times. The creature effects aren't spectacular but they are more than effective enough for what is a lesser demon. There's even a passing reference to H P Lovecraft's Great Old Ones.
The ending even leaves enough scope for a sequel.
After being fooled into watching so many torture movies that were thinly disguised as horror it was a pleasant change to watch a proper horror movie, helped by the fact that writer Paul Finch has done some proper research on the subject. He has also written several of my favourite tales in the Black Books of Horror series and specialises in horror stories with a factual historical background.
This is one film I will definitely be watching again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2013
As a big horror fan, I do love an orginal creepy new film to enjoy.

Purchased this with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised..

Well acted dark and intriguing... For horror fans its well worth a look.
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