Julius Avery’s Overlord is an aggressively violent thriller that takes you back to the horrors of war and secret Nazi experiments.
Overlord starts as a war drama that quickly switches to a full zombie film. The opening sequence is fantastic. It’s a nerve-wracking airdrop sequence that sets the tone as an opener. It’s the night before D-Day when the film introduces a group of American soldiers who banters about their job just before the plane gets shot down and sees the agonizing and horrors of war. The story particularly focuses on Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo), a man who is so innocent and good that he couldn’t even kill a mouse. Then it introduces us to Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), one who makes sure they fulfill their mission, and like many war films we also get to meet other people who are part of the group – a nice and guiltless soldier, a wisecracking prankster, an in-over-his-head war head, and a photographer.
After surviving the crash, the group meets Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), a rebellious French woman who is forced to enter into a sexual arrangement with an abusive Nazi officer. Together, as they approach their mission with Chloe’s aid, they begin to realize that there is more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Later they find themselves fighting against supernatural forces that are part of a Nazi experiment.
Most of the film is spent inside a house with characters planning the rest of their mission, contemplating the trials of war and dealing with Chloe’s little brother—who in fact has a great relief scenes with the wisecracking character of John Magaro. It actually takes a while before the film finally teases us with the flesh-eating zombies.
Director Julius Avery beautifully crafts a moving film despite covering the thriller and the gore—raining with blood, discarded guts, detached heads, and spinal cords flying everywhere. Plus the Nazi experiments uncover a lot of disturbing image for the film. It would really take you to the horrors of war and the thrills of a zombie invasion. Also, it would overwhelm the fans of the zombie-horror genre while preserving an enjoyable comedic cinematic experience. It actually works best when it deals with how the soldiers bond since there is a great chemistry among the cast members. Caring for their characters (despite lack thereof) is something positive to look at. It really shows us the life of being a soldier and how they never leave one another behind. Their friendship from beginning to end makes the film not just entertaining, but also emotionally-grounded.
4 out of 5 stars
Directed by Julius Avery Starring Jovan Adepo, Mathilde Ollivier, Wyatt Russell, Iain De Caestecker, John Magaro, and Pilou Asbaek. Produced by J.J. Abrams and Lindsey Weber. Runtime: 109 minutes