Friday, March 30, 2012
THE DEVIL'S ROCK
THE DEVIL'S ROCK (2011)
Directed by Paul Campion
Craig Hall - Captain Ben Grogan
Matthew Sunderland - Col. Klaus Meyer
Gina Varela - Helena
Set in the Channel Islands on the eve of D Day,two Kiwi commandos, sent to destroy German gun emplacements to distract Hitler's forces away from Normandy, discover a Nazi occult plot to unleash demonic forces to win the war.
I like WWII movies a lot, but not a lot of them though. I don't really know why, I just do. Actually, I should put it as war movies instead of WWII movies. It could be because of the action involved in the movies, yet I think it's more due to the drama involved. In general the best film I've seen dealing with WWII was actually a HBO mini-series, Band Of Brothers. If you haven't watched yet, you should go and try to find it. I promise you will not be disappointed with it. Yet it's when you add the added bonus of horror to the mix you have the potential for some really fun horror. In both the aspect of story and visual.
One of the best parts in this movie is the actors. The cast is small so you actually get to know the characters, more so than in other films with bigger casts. Craig Hall, who plays Captain Ben Grogan, does well as a commando who still cannot get over the loss of his wife and is his driving factor of what he does in the movie. Matthew Sunderland, who plays the antagonist Col. Klaus Meyer, though is the true star of the film as he always has thinking ahead as his character, who was the lead in a occult experiment for the Nazi SS. Meyer knows how to use emotions to his advantage here and uses them he does in his tense battle of wits he play with Hall's character Grogan who uses morals to determine his actions. The last of the main characters is Gina Varela who plays dual roles as Grogan's dead wife Helena as well as the demoness in the film. Varela has to play coy and modest when we are first introduced to her character until we find out what she really is in the movie. After that the Helena demon takes over trying to seduce Grogan with love and power. Varela does an excellent job once the veil of humanity is lifted from her character.
The story for The Devil's Rock even though it seems straight forward has quite a bit of meat to it. What most younger people don't understand is that during WWII, the Nazi party controlled by Hitler had multiple divisions within it. The SS was one of the groups, but within that branch were multiple other ones including the Ahnenerbe SS branch dedicated to the search and retrieval of occult items and mysticism. One of the lines in the film has the Helena demon talking about artifacts the Nazi's were after. One was the Spear Of Longinus, which supposedly in reality was taken by them and brought to Austria. Also in the same line was a reference to the classic film Raider's Of The Lost Ark. Another stand out aspect of the story is the battle of wits being played out between Col. Meyer and Captain Grogan. Even though it doesn't seem like they are, they are in fact trying to think ahead of one another. From Grogan switching papers in Meyer's necklace to Meyer having Grogan help him set up his own death trap, it's a battle of wills being played out in a minimalistic level where it's not about big ideas but little moves in a deadly game of chess.
Director Paul Campion, who got his start at Weta Workshop and then moved on to directing. His past with special effects work comes into play in the film as he knows how to set up the shots when there are make-up effects being used and to get the right light on them to make them look the best and not fake. Campion as well knows how to tell a story as he also helped write the screen play. He knows that this film relies on seriousness from the actors in telling of the story as the two main actors are playing a very deadly game while playing off of each other. I should also mention the sound design in the film as once the action heads into the German bunker there's a sound design at work to put the viewer at unease. Even in scenes where there is no music there is still background noises that almost sound like voices all around adding a air of anxiety and restiveness. The effects work is top notch as well with the effects work of Weta in full bloody, messy, and very gory display which is something you would expect from them. In the end The Devil's Rock suprised me by how well it handled itself and was a very interesting watch that had no humor to it what so ever and was a very serious film, but one that I wish would have come to theaters instead of some the other supposed horror movies as this one is very suspenseful and filled with dark atmosphere.
Col. Meyer's pre-masticating severe head trauma.
Their leader has long been searching for so called wonder weapons, magical items with which he will kill your people in multitudes. He already holds the Holy Lance, he had within his grasp the Ark of the Covenant, he tried to awaken the Great Old Ones, and now he has within his reach the power to summon Lucifer himself!
The design of the German bunker is based on the real WW2 German bunker MP4, a Range Finding and Observation Tower which still exists in Guernsey, in the Channel Islands.
The tunnels and gun pit scenes were filmed at Wrights Hill Fortress in Wellington, a real semi-restored WW2 bunker.
The occult black magic ritual at the climax of the film was filmed on Friday the 13th.