Review: Overlord

A platoon of American soldiers during World War II encounter unspeakable horrors a German base in Overlord. On the eve of D-Day, a platoon of American paratroopers, including Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) and Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo), parachute into Nazi-occupied France with the mission to destroy a radio jamming tower at a nearby German outpost, headed by Officer Wafner (Pilou Asbæk). With the help of local woman Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), the platoon break into the outpost and find a secret lab, where the Nazis have been developing a serum to reanimate dead bodies.

From director Julius Avery and producers J.J. Abrams comes a World War II film with a horror twist. This small platoon of paratroopers only have a few hours to pull off their mission, failure of which would jeopardize D-Day. However, these soldiers get much more than they bargained for when they find out that the Nazis have been experimenting with a serum that reanimates the dead. However, the serum is quite unstable and results in monstrous side effects on those injected.

A relatively simplistic description of Overlord is that the film is probably what you would get if you took the video game Wolfenstein and mashed it up with Resident Evil. In other words, Overlord is probably a film that would make a fun video game. However, the question has to be asked if Overlord really needed to have literal horror elements, since war if can be horrific enough. In fact, I would probably argue that the film was already doing OK as a war film, before the horror elements are introduced in the second half.

For a J.J. Abrams production, it is interesting that Overlord went with a cast that doesn’t feature many household names. In fact, probably the most recognizable actors in the film are Wyatt Russell (Everybody Wants Some22 Jump Street) as the de facto platoon leader Corporal Ford and Pilou Asbæk (Ghost in the Shell) as the Nazi antagonist Wafner. In fact, it is Asbæk that gets to chew a lot of the scenery in Overlord and the image of a zombified Wafner missing half his face has been one of the main selling images for the film. Probably the actor that will get the most exposure from his role in Overlord is the lead Jovan Adepo (Fences), which says a lot for diversity in casting.

Ultimately, I would say that Overlord is pretty much what you would expect from a J.J. Abrams produced horror film, which is a loud and glossy picture with a lot of violence and gore. While not a negative in its own right, I did feel that there was something off about the film. While there is a certain level of entertainment watching Overlord, it is ultimately a film that I thought was merely OK.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).