One of the films I’ve been most looking forward to seeing is Julius Avery’s Overlord. It’s just arrived on video on demand and last night I finally got to see it.
The film opened with a scene of a fleet of ships and a squadron of planes headed to the beaches of Normandy. As a battalion of nervous soldiers sit in a plane they are given their mission, to take down a tower in a small village that’s jamming the signals of the Army. As bullets rip through the plane the men scramble to jump, though many never make a safe landing.
Only a few soldiers make it and regroup. Suddenly a woman appears and after talking leads them to her village where Nazis patrol, guarding the church where the tower stands.
This is the first time we really get a chance to get to know the soldiers, most importantly Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Ford (Wyatt Russell). We also learn more about Chloe who has welcomed them into her home that she shares with a sick aunt and her little brother.
When Ford sends Boyce back to the rally point he is chased by a German Sheppard and jumps into the back of a truck carrying dead bodies. Once inside the compound, Boyce discovers what the Nazis are really up to, performing tests on the villagers in an attempt to create ultimate, unstoppable soldiers. Things go downhill for the team from here.
After first seeing the trailers for Overlord I was expecting a gritty, action-packed horror film. That’s what I got and more. Besides featuring some of the real-life horrors that Nazis committed, we get a great story about redemption, duty, hope, and a whole lot of grotesque special effects.
Let’s talk about the special effects, there were a lot of body horror scenes, amputated limbs, dead and dying soldiers, violence, and it was seamless. To say the effects looked real is an understatement. The dead and undead were absolutely amazing. I appreciate that they didn’t go the route of your average zombie, these undead are much more. Speaking of zombies, it did seem they did pay homage to Return of the Living Dead in one scene. Other than that, the undead are big, bad, and completely badass.
Wyatt Russell’s character Ford is very different from his role in “Lodge 49”, but that’s not a bad thing. In Overlord, Ford is cold badass. He has one drive, complete the mission. While he comes across as a prick much of the film, he redeems himself at the end of the movie.
Jovan Adepo stars as the main character, Boyce, a sweet southern boy who was drafted into the war. Boyce is all heart, mourning the loss of his fallen comrades when others don’t. He’s not built for killing, according to his fellow soldiers, but when it comes down to it he will do what he has to. He won’t stop until Chloe’s brother is rescued from the Nazis and his mission is complete. Adepo had a way of getting across emotions in the movie without a word. I never once questioned what his character was feeling and forgot for the duration of Overlord that he was playing a part as I was drawn in and hooked. He did an absolutely amazing job.
Mathilde Ollivier’s Chloe is so ballsy and badass. She went through hell to keep her family together during the Nazi occupation, things a woman should never have to experience. While the soldiers fight around her she joins in determined to overcome evil. While Chloe’s fighting spirit shows though you can’t miss her femininity, and care for others. Chloe is the perfect example of the type of female characters that the horror genre desperately needs more of.
Pilou Asbeak plays the role of Wafner, the Nazi prick who terrorizes Chloe and the village. Asbeak’s goal of making you hate his character is reached and then some. I actually caught myself saying, “You Nazi piece of sh*t” and “Whoop his ass!” under my breath several times. Yes, I’m one of those people who yell at my TV when I get into a movie. But that’s his job as an actor, right? To make you feel something? In this case, it’s disgust and anger. Well done Asbeak!
Overlord is the total package. It’s horrific, action-packed, emotional, and so well cast. To director Julius Avery and writers Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith, producer J.J. Abrams, the cast and crew, I say bravo! You’ve accomplished what very few films do these days, keep me on the edge of my seat, drawn in, and emotionally involved. That’s why I’m giving Overlord 5 out of 5. In my opinion, one of the best horror films of the year, period. Scratch that, it very well maybe one of the best of the decade.