Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Movie Review: The Devil's Rock

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A scene from The Devil's Rock. Photo / Supplied
A scene from The Devil's Rock. Photo / Supplied

It would be nice not to feel the need to eviscerate yet another New Zealand Film Commission-backed local horror that isn't up to its genre job description.

But in The Devil's Rock, that task has already been done for you. Most of the "cast" have already died through various forms of disembowelment by the time anything happens - the various corpses' entrails expertly rendered by Weta Workshop and director Paul Campion, a Weta alumni himself. So this is a horror film which looks like a bigger horror movie has already been and gone.

Oh that's right, it's a World War II horror flick, one jumping on the Nazi-occult kubelwagen, which has helped carry everything from Raiders of the Lost Ark, to Hellboy and Captain America.

Except here, the black magic amounts to a red demon (Varela) who's committed unspeakable acts on the German soldiers in some Channel Islands bunkers designated for sabotage by a raiding party of Kiwi commandos - Captain Ben Grogan (Craig Hall) and Sergeant Joseph Tane (Drinkwater) - on the eve of D-Day.

Events transpire that Grogan and surviving German devilologist, Colonel Klaus Meyer (Sutherland), must unite to face their mutual satanic foe (why they don't just leave isn't clear), which is complicated because the chameleonic beastie presents herself sometimes as Grogan's dearly departed wife.

Sutherland spends most his time explaining what dreadful evil is afoot and the strain of all that exposition is too much for him to maintain his German accent, while the action amounts to the two soldiers switching one artfully splattered bunker room for another a few times and arguing some more before facing their demons, sorry, demon.

And as the resident nasty, a writhing Varela comes on like a worryingly enthusiastic entry in the "gals-as-ghouls" section of a body art contest.

The film's poster might promise a schlock-fest. But what's inside is dreadfully staid and deadly boring.

Stars: 2/5
Cast: Craig Hall, Matthew Sutherland, Gina Varela, Karlos Drinkwater Director: Paul Campion
Rating: R16 Violence, offensive language & horror
Running time: 83 mins
Verdict: Plenty of gore, strangely no guts.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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