I’ve been excited to check out Julius Avery’s Overlord for awhile after hearing a lot of great things about it. I have a penchant for war movies and horror, so melding both of these genres seems like a smart thing to do. I’ve heard people comparing it to video games such as Wolfenstein, and I can definitely see some similarity, but I wouldn’t judge the film on this alone. It has more to offer.
We get the best of both worlds in Overlord, an action war/horror film set on the eve of World War II. US Airborne troops are dropping into France on D-day to confront the Nazi threat. One particular plane has a group of soldiers whose mission is to destroy a Nazi radio tower. The D-Day drop doesn’t go as planned, as most of the plane’s crew don’t make it, and the plane is destroyed. The opening sequence is a huge but terrifying thrill to behold as the viewer gets a bold look at the resistance the US Airborne faced during their initial campaign. I’m not going on accuracy here, but the filmmakers did put together an amazing ballet of war torn chaos set in the sky during this opening sequence. The scene of private Boyce (Jovan Adepo: Mother! 2017 – read our review here) getting tossed out of the plane and his journey to the ground is unforgettable. The intro is a hell of a way to begin the film, and fortunately, it doesn’t let up much throughout.
Overlord manages to captivate the viewer throughout its close to two hour running time by remaining dead set serious, melding in a little emotion and introducing some likable and not so likable characters. I felt it played out as more of a war thriller than full blown horror vehicle, but the horror elements do come to life as the movie develops.
The effects are plentiful, extremely graphic and simply amazing, from the war violence to the more gory make up effects featuring the various human abominations, most notably the gloriously disgusting prosthetics on Wafner (Pilou Asbæk: Game of Thrones TV series), to the horrifying experiments. It’s an intense picture and one film I would rank as one of the best I’ve seen released in 2018, alongside Panos Cosmatos film, Mandy.
The cast carry Julius Avery’s (Son Of A Gun 2014) film well and keep the pacing brisk and never dull. Chiseled corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell, the son of legendary Kurt Russell) gives a solid and cold performance as a soldier who will do anything to carry out his mission, no matter how ruthless. Private Boyce would be considered the lead character, a very unassuming but competent soldier despite facing difficulties from his fellow comrades. Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier: Boss Level 2019) is a young French woman who, along with her young brother, help to hide the soldiers from the Nazis. Wise cracking sharp shooter private Tibbet (John Magaro: Orange Is The New Black TV series) plays a character viewers will learn to like. Pilou Asbæk puts in a ruthless performance as a Nazi official who comes into close and brutal contact with the soldiers.
Overlord is a wonderful and fresh approach to the action genre, blending the brutality of war with terrifying horror. With nonstop suspense, lots of memorable and intense scenes and a not so recognizable cast who put in some fine performances, I found myself entertained and engaged in the entire film with various jaw dropping moments, some humor thrown in there from time to time and even a couple of heartfelt parts. It’ll see you cheering, swearing and having a generally enjoyable time. I felt like a kid watching it all unfold, so a very enjoyable experience in general.