Director: Julius Avery
Stars: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
When I first heard about this one and the fact that is was produced by J.J. Abrams, I was sure it was going to be a stealth sequel to Cloverfield and a lot of folks shared that view. After all he had just surprised everyone with The Cloverfield Paradox being available to watch RIGHT NOW! And while the first two movies in that in-name-only series (yeah, sorry J.J. but you can’t convince me otherwise) I really liked, I thought Paradox was, well, pretty bad. That said I am a big fan of the rare subgenre that is war horror movies, so I went into this one not knowing what to expect and with mixed expectations. Was it a happy surprise or yet another disappointment? Well, grab your M1 Garand, your jump boots, double check your parachute, and let’s find out.
On the eve of D Day in World War II, American paratroopers jump into France with a mission to destroy a Nazi radio tower. Naturally things go wrong and a company of men is reduced to a handful in short order. They are a mix of your usual war movie clichés such as the tough Italian guy from the Bronx, the timid one who doesn’t fit in (in this case a cameraman), the tough guy in charge, and the sweet guy who has all these great plans when he gets home from the war. Yeah, you know he’s a dead man walking. Anyway the small squad gets to the French town next to the church where the Nazi radio tower is. They meet a local lady who is willing to help them out, capture an evil Nazi (is there any other kind?) commander, and plan their assault on the tower. Then things take a turn for the weird when the G.I.s discover that the Nazis were doing strange experiments in the same church. The result: Nazi zombies. You know, the best kind of zombies ever! Will the Americans accomplish their mission? Who, if any, will survive? And exactly how much like Call of Duty’s Nazi zombie levels is this movie?
Overlord is a blast. It works very well as both a war/action movie and as a horror movie. It has gunfights, explosions, a bit of the good ol’ ultraviolence, a smattering of humor, and some good gory bits. The acting is good by all involved with special shout-outs going to the two leads Jovan Adepo and Wyatt Russell. The direction by Julius Avery is solid and it has me interested in the Flash Gordon remake he is said to be directing. Even the CGI effects are used well and I usually hate them in horror movies. So if you like to mix the horrors of war with the horrors of, uh, horror this movie will do that for you.
On to the extras and special features Paramount Pictures gave us on this new Blu-ray, DVD, and digital combo pack. Sadly there is only one, “The Horrors of War” which is a collection of six smaller featurettes that all together runs for 51 minutes and that is good, that is respectable, but a lot more could have been done here and it’s just sad that it is missing.
Overlord is a good war movie and a fun horror movie mashed together in a way that works well for both sides of that equation. I really liked it; it took me by surprise, I am happy to have it in my home library and I think you will too. So yep, I recommend this one a lot when it comes out on disc February 19th.