Overlord is a simple movie, looking to make us squirm and throw as many swear words and gore as the movie will allow. Julius Avery, for the most part accomplishes this even with an unremarkable story and deceiving trailer. I didn’t have much hype for this movie, especially when compared to my friend. I thought it would be a fun watch and that would be it, somehow it still managed to disappoint me. Overlord starts as a Saving Private Ryan type war movie and stays this way for over an hour of the movie. Only then do we get what we were promised in the trailers and even then it doesn’t get anywhere as over the top as I was hoping. Despite all the rumours of this being a Cloverfield movie it turned out to be untrue, I even heard people calling this the Wolfenstein movie we always wanted.
I almost felt betrayed by hearing this, I love Wolfenstein and I never got the feel of it watching Overlord. The gore and action is never as over the top as it should be and the dialogue nowhere near as funny. The movie tries to make itself seem humorous but most of the time it falls flat.
On the eve of D-Day, several American paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a mission crucial to the invasion’s success. Due to the intense enemy fire caused by cannons and machine guns, all the planes are shot down and most of the soldiers die in the landing or are killed by Nazis’ patrols after they take land.
However, a private named Ed Boyce survives to meet Corporal Ford, a last-minute incorporation from Italy and a veteran expert in bombs and explosives; Tibbet, a rogue sniper; Chase, a war photographer; and finally private Dawson. With D-Day approaching, Boyce and the others begin to realize there is more going on in this Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation, having to fight against supernatural forces not only to destroy the radio tower, but destroy the own experiment before Hitler’s gets his Third Reich of thousand years he promised.
The opening is ferocious and gripping, it paves the war as the true horror show it was. The cinematography is also really well done, one of the best scenes being where Boyce is flown out of the fiery plane only to be sucked through a deep cloud of flog and into the deep depths of the sea. This scene is really well shot with the camera never cutting away, the CGI may not be brilliant but there is so much happening in the background that it doesn’t detract the audience from how good the action is. After the amazing opening, the movie takes a step back and moves at a snail’s pace for the next hour.
Most people might not consider this a bad thing as Avery is able to blend both a war drama and Nazi zombie action together quite seamlessly. However, I wanted to see these soldiers fighting waves of Nazi zombies accompanied with tonnes of violence and gore. Considering the movie is 18 rated I didn’t think this was too much to ask for. All the way until the end credits this was never given to me and I felt really disappointed and dare I say bored. The last 30 minutes does get a little interesting but even then we are lucky to see one or two zombies.
The characters are good, Boyce, Ford, Tibbet, Chase and Dawson are all fun and interesting to follow. Their chemistry is one of the best parts of the movie, I really got a feeling that these five ragtag soldiers could fight alongside each other and be friends despite their differences. Boyce and Ford are the serious ones, whilst the others are more there for comedic relief. This is a big issue for the movie as the comedy rarely lands and I chuckled no more than twice throughout.
Everytime Overlord comes close to setting up its true, glorious, grindhouse fashion final act, it holds everything back and only leaves you wishing for more. It’s a fun movie, but the script, unfortunately, takes itself too seriously and isn’t silly dumb fun which is what the movie should have been. There’s rarely enough gore, rarely any zombies and not enough action to make this movie worthy of a second watch.
Overall, Overlord is a fun movie but it could have been a whole lot better. If it didn’t take itself so seriously and gave us more zombie killing action then maybe this would have been a more enjoyable movie. I can see people liking it for its slow build up and the character-driven war drama that it tells. Personally, it didn’t work and I was always left waiting for the movie to take that big step forward but it never came. An enjoyable movie but one I won’t be coming back to anytime soon.
Director: Julius Avery
Runtime: 110 Minutes