Overlord is a 2018 film directed by Julius Avery starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell (son of the great Kurt Russell), and Mathilde Ollivier. Produced by J.J. Abrams, it has been somewhat successful despite being a genre film not exactly made to attract the masses. It was also presented at the Sitges festival where I saw John Carpenter in concert, something that I always like to repeat whenever I can!
Overlord, I’m here to write about Overlord. Set in the hours immediately before the battle of Normandy (the so-called Operation: Overlord), the film follows a group of US soldiers who, parachuted behind enemy lines, must destroy a radio station in the tower of a church in a French village. Unfortunately, however, their plane is shot down and only the taciturn Ford (Wyatt Russell), young Boyce (Jovan Adepo), the sniper Tibbet (John Magaro), and Chase (Iain de Caestecker) survive. They join beautiful Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) who shares their hatred towards the Nazis. Things get very tense when the group captures the SS officer Waffner (Pilou Asbaek) and begins to discover the terrible things that the Nazi scientists are doing in the base under the tower that they must blow up…
Overlord impressed me because in its first part it’s a perfect war movie with convincing costumes and set designs, and with actors young enough to be credible as soldiers without any experience which constituted the large part of the World War II armies. Then, in the second part, the movie becomes a great horror product with the introduction of the supernatural element of Nazi research on supersoldiers, certainly not a new idea but always facinating (even Marvel’s Red Skull was practically a Nazi supersoldier and it was created in 1941 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby). In particular, I appreciated the use of practical special effects, with silicone prosthetics to deform the bodies of the Nazi scientists’ guinea pigs, and real explosions and fires to destroy the various vehicles and buildings used in the film. In the second part of the movie, what I liked the least is the cartoonish violence of the fight between those who injected themselves with the supersoldier serum, but after all this is in line with the idea of beings with supernatural powers who beat each other to death.
So what about Overlord? In my opinion, it’s a honest modern horror product: it even tries to flesh out the main characters with well-written dialogues! Then there’s a good reconstruction of a war zone, it contains a successful genre change from war to horror (I’ve already written about other films that I they liked with surprising genre changes, like Predator by John McTiernan and From Dusk Till Dawn by Robert Rodríguez)… and I liked the movie because it feels like a role play session of The Call of Cthulhu with its realistic atmospheres with supernatural elements! In short, I recommend watching Overlord: you won’t find great messages in it (well, just one: Nazis must die, which it’s always good to reiterate) nor anything particularly innovative, but it’s a perfect entertainment film for a horror evening. Ciao!