Directed by Julius Avery.
Starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbaek, John Magaro, Iain de Caestecker, and Dominic Applewhite.
The story of a team of American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day who come across a Nazi stronghold that’s not what it appears to be.
Nazis, zombies, and World War II – this sums up Julius Avery’s gory and fun movie Overlord. Briefly thought to be part of the Cloverfield universe, it has thankfully been spared the shoehorn treatment of The Cloverfield Paradox and is all the better for it. On the day of the D-Day landings a company of soldiers are on a separate mission to destroy a radio tower that’s jamming signals. After a number of casualties a small group remain and as they start their mission they uncover a Nazi lab that’s creating zombies. Led by Corporal Ford (Russell) we see most of the events from the perspective of reluctant soldier Boyce (Adepo).
From the off, Avery throws you into the action with the company on board a plane being bombed. It’s a stunningly tense sequence that immediately allows you to connect with the team and become invested in Boyce. Unfortunately the intensity dissipates quite quickly after this and doesn’t recover until the action packed finale which is suitably gory and violent. There are some attempts at building character depth but the characters feel like clichés. Ford is the gruff corporal hardened by war, Tibbet (Magaro) is the joker, Chase (de Caestecker) is clumsy, and Boyce is idealistic and naïve. We’ve seen all of these characters before in much better war films and mini-series which is frustrating.
Other than the zombies, the plot is quite generic and you can see certain character motivations coming a mile off. Having said this, the performances are all solid and deliver what they need to. Russell in particular stands out and Adepo does well with a paper thin character. The villain of the piece played by Pilou Asbaek (who you recognise from Game of Thrones) is stereotypical but he chews the scenery and is fun to watch.
Ultimately though, Overlord is about the gore and the horror. The Nazi lab is extremely disturbing given what we know from history and there are a few moments early on that feel quite creepy. The zombies themselves have more in common with the rage infected from 28 Days Later than Night of the Living Dead but the makeup is grotesque and the jump scares frequent. Avery doesn’t hold back on the body horror which makes each zombie look unique and otherworldly. The horror or war is also on full display and Avery doesn’t hold back with this either.
Overlord is packed full of plot holes and convenience, but as a gory horror it delivers everything that you’d want to see.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★