World War II-based horrors have sprung up a few surprises over recent years – remember The Bunker or Outpost?

Now I am not for one second saying these efforts were cinematic masterpieces, but at least they tried something different.

The latest to delve into the murky waters of Nazi nastiness is The Devil’s Rock, a New-Zealand produced and financed flick that throws in witchcraft for good measure.

Set on one of the smaller Channel Islands(the only British territory occupied by the Germans during the conflict) shortly before the D-Day landings, this gory tale relates the mission of two Kiwi Commandos who are sent to sabotage a gun emplacement to act as a diversion for the big event.

Expecting a swarming presence of German soldiers, the pair are surprised to find they can pretty much stroll up to the cliff-top bunker at their leisure.

But that delight is short-lived when they hear screams coming from inside and on investigating unveil a gruesome scene of mutilated soldiers, pentagrams and even a chained-up woman.

One Nazi officer is alive to tell the tale – a story that includes demons, ancient books of sorcery and a German plot to uncover the black arts – and that is just the start.

What follows is a battle against both time and the darkness that threatens to envelop them as the foes join forces to combat their united threat.

I must admit I was expecting very little from this offering – which may explain why I found it a lot better than I anticipated.

The small cast are all excellent, and the claustrophobic setting adds to the tension level.

Things do threaten to get out of hand at times, but on each occasion the story straightens itself to keep you interested.

There is some excellent effects work as well (WETA were involved), and there is no shortage of bloodshed for those that like that type of thing.

For a film that at times resembles more of a play with two or three people talking across a desk, The Devil’s Rock was a solid effort that kept me entertained throughout.

 

Extras: A handful of making-of featurettes

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.