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The Devil's Rock


Rod Lott February 3rd, 2012

On the eve of D-Day, British soldiers Capt. Grogan (Craig Hall, "30 Days of Night") and Sgt. Tane (Karlos Drinkwater, TV's "Spartacus") successfully maneuver through mines to infiltrate a cavernous Forau Island fortress that could be on the cover of Architectural Digest, if only the magazine printed an issue devoted to the homes of satanic creatures.

The structure is "The Devil's Rock" of this New Zealand fantasy's title.

Inside, they meet a representative of their Nazi enemy, Col. Meyer (Matthew Sunderland) who warns them of the shrieking woman's voice they hear. Halfway into the film, when we finally see why: She's hot!

See, the imprisoned woman looks just like Capt. Grogan's late wife (a striking Gina Varela, a former Power Ranger). Yet Meyer sees his beloved Helga. What's going on here? As Frank Sinatra once crooned, it's witchcraft. She's a succubus, a she-devil, literally summoned from the bowels of Hell.

I agree: That sounds kinda cool. But the directorial debut of Paul Campion (an effects artist, most recently for current Oscar contender "Hugo") is all style and of little substance. (He co-wrote the lackluster script, too.) A three-man show for most of its running time, "The Devil's Rock" disappoints primarily because of its languid pace and dialogue nearly as labyrinthian as the tale's ever-tunneled venue.

Even with the third act built upon a ritual that would suggest the makings of a decent possession flick, it's not to be. The makeup that turns Varela into a demon is fantastic, but the story circumstances surrounding it are not. When the removal of a bullet is the sequence of most interest, you're best to extract yourself from committing to it. —Rod Lott

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