Customer Review

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Build Creepiness, As Opposed To All Out Carnage, Make This Demonic Thriller Better Than Expected, February 1, 2012
This review is from: The Devil's Rock (DVD)
I can't say that I really expected much from the New Zealand horror import "The Devil's Rock." I thought it might be a bit of fun. After all, there are lurid visions of swastikas and demons on the DVD cover! So I braced myself for something cheesy and campy. I mean, really, when was the last time someone played demons straight? Perhaps it was lowered expectations that caused this film to catch me by surprise because I found a lot to admire about this relatively low budget endeavor. It surely isn't the greatest film imaginable, but it is solidly constructed and effective. An inspired premise, a claustrophobic setting, and good performances make "The Devil's Rock" stand out from the pack. While the marketing oversells the gore aspect of the picture (with a particularly odd reference to Saw), the movie isn't wall-to-wall carnage by any means. Rather, it has a slow build creepiness that draws you in and connects you to the characters before playing out the final confrontations. That's why the film works as well as it does, the screenplay takes its time and the actors make even the most preposterous scenarios feel real.

The movie takes place on the eve of D-Day during World War II. To distract the Germans from the impending Normandy invasion, Kiwi soldiers are targeting other sites within the Channel Islands. Two Allied soldiers arrive at an unspecified island with the goal of blowing up the German artillery installation. When they hear harrowing screams coming from inside the bunker, they feel compelled to investigate. Wandering the desolate halls, it's not a pretty sight as there is bloody evidence that something very unpleasant has occurred. Before the night is over, one will meet up with a German officer and face unspeakable horrors. Will the sworn enemies be forced to work together? And can anyone survive? I don't wish to reveal too much of what happens. In many ways, I wish the film's marketing hadn't tipped me off to the supernatural element because the movie builds a lot of tension before the big secret comes into play.

When things do veer into the otherworldly realm, I really think that the actors keep things grounded. I enjoyed the verbal interplay between the three central characters. There is a bit of a cat-and-mouse feel as it seems all of them are working their own angle. They have to trust someone, but ultimately they can't. It's a tense standoff with a fairly satisfying payoff. I'm surprised how much I actually liked this movie. Craig Hall is quite effective as the hero as is Matthew Sunderland as his nemesis. Again, don't get caught up thinking this is going to be a full out assault on your senses. It takes time to develop its plot and characterizations--so if you don't have some patience, this might not be the horror film for you. Overall, I'd rate the film about 3 1/2 stars as a solid B-movie but for the inspired idea behind the picture--I'll round up. KGHarris, 2/12.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2012 11:56:17 PM PST
K. Harris--I just wanted to let you know that when I go online 'shopping' for a movie to see, I appreciate a good review that lets me know that I DON'T want to watch the particular movie. That said, your reviews are trusted by so many, they explain enought to let you know if it's something for you or not--saves time and money! Thank you for this write up. Sheryl

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2012 3:50:12 PM PDT
clay says:
I have to agree with you Sheryl.I feel I must point out the fact that anything that Guillermo del Toro directs will be awesome.He has a great track record.Blade 2,Hellboy 1&2 ,Pan's Labyrinth,to name some of his recent work.
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