By Jack Dignan
In Cinemas Now
The structure of Overlord is a fascinating one. The film, which takes place on the eve of D-Day, begins not unlike your typical war film. It’s a grueling, testosterone-fuelled battle sequence with one hell of a tracking shot. But as the film progresses, something just feels… off. And as the mission begins to slowly escalate, and we get closer to the hour mark, the film suddenly transitions from straightforward war thriller to “oh, by the way, Nazi zombies.”
It’s a slow burner in all the right ways. We follow a group of soldiers on a make or break mission that could determine the fate of the war. Before things take a turn for the worst, the story of their war mission is an immersive, violent, uncompromising thriller akin to Saving Private Ryan. It’s just a bunch of soldiers going from point a to point b and facing a plethora of enemy soldiers along the way. The war sequences are brutal and shocking. An opening sequence up in the air is, especially, a highlight.
However, the real magic arrives once our protagonist, Boyce (Jovan Adepo), finds himself deep within the walls of a science lab that, well, let’s just say wouldn’t fall under WHS guidelines. Horror elements come to the forefront and Australian director Julius Avery (Son of a Gun) doesn’t shy away from the vile imagery that comes with it. The weirder things get, the bloodier the outcome, and while I wouldn’t consider myself to be squeamish, there are several scenes that have been permanently branded into my brain.
All of this is a true testament to the power of make-up and sound design. Before shooting, many of the actors (one in particular whom I don’t wish to spoil) would spend hours in the makeup chair being worked on and torn apart to achieve the grizzliest of designs, which, when put together with some genuinely unsettling sound design that ensures you hear every crack, snap and squirt, truly earns that R18+ rating. One scene in an attic features bones cracking in ways I never wanted to see bones crack.
Once things start getting underway, it’s not hard to figure out where it’s all leading to, but the journey there is endlessly entertaining, even if you’ll want to look away from the screen at every opportunity. A lot of the dialogue is very generic, and there’s a strange and unnecessary sexual tension between Boyce and Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), but the fact that J.J. Abrams has finally given the world a studio-funded zombie Nazi movie set hours before D-Day overcomes any flaws this film oh so obviously has.
3 1/2 Stars
Like the article? Make sure to spread the word on social media.
You May Also Like: