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Devil's Rock, The


Stars: Craig Hall, Matthew Sunderland, Gina Varela, Karlos Drinkwater

Director: Paul Campion

This has to be the first film from New Zealand set in the Channel Islands. A pity, then, that the outcome isn't happier.

It's 1944 and two Anzac commandos (Hall, Drinkwater) land on an island and discover an imprisoned demon. Yes, they do. The (female) demon, who can appear in various human forms to entice her prey, has been summoned by Nazi stormtroopers, but appears to have eaten most of them by the time the Kiwis arrive.

The Germans plan to use the demon to win the war, although how they plan to control her isn't clear, as she can only be kept at bay by a page from an ancient book, worn around the neck. You're right - that's no more convincing than anything else here. For instance, why does the surviving castle commandant (Sunderland) shoot one New Zealander and not the other? To supply the demon with fresh meat perhaps, although, judging by the liberal display of human entrails scattered about the place, she still has plenty to be going on with.

The film is pretty slow to begin with - lots of creeping along corridors - and you long to tell the director to get on with it. The guys are good enough, but Varela isn't much of an actress as the human side of the demon, and the mild twist at the end is a bit of a swiz that only makes you wish the writers could have thought of something better.

Shot in bizarre colour that eschews yellows, blues and greens, the film has an almost ridiculous amount of gore - it varies from red to black - that should please those who like that kind of thing. It's original, I suppose, though that doesn't make it any less ludicrous.

David Quinlan

New Zealand 2011. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Cinecolor.
86 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 05 Jul 2011