Terrified soldiers are blasted out of the sky, their corpses strewn about the trees. What could be more horrible than the already terrifying atrocities of war? Continue reading my thoughts on Julius Avery’s Overlord to find out.
A small group of American soldiers are tasked with destroying a radio-jamming tower which is heavily guarded by the Nazi regime. It isn’t until the men are inside that they realize where the true horrors of this war lie.
My faith in humanity is diminishing on an almost daily basis. Now, there are many small reasons for that, but there is one very specific reason I bring it up at all here. Over the past few days, I have been reading random posts and comments about how Overlord is somehow a bad film. After finally giving the movie a watch for myself, I couldn’t be more confused by these negative remarks.
Overlord is everything I want from an action horror film and so much more. Right from the opening scene, you already know that you are going to get an action-packed hour and 50 minutes of film. Our ragtag group of young, frightened American soldiers is blasted out of the air at outrageous speeds, only a few surviving the attack. From here, the true plot unfolds.
As Avery’s film continues, we are met with tremendous amounts of character development, narrative of a possible budding romance, and of course what we all came for — war and science experiments gone wrong.
Co-writers Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith have created one of the most clever scripts I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. From the witty one-liners delivered by various characters to the beautiful duality of man unfolding before me, I couldn’t keep a smile off of my face.
The character of Ed Boyce, brilliantly played by Jovan Adepo (Mother!), wouldn’t hurt a mouse when it was running amuck in his camp’s barracks. By the end of the film, he had become a heroic figure, pulling all out the stops to make sure the people he cared for were sage. Tibbet, portrayed by John Magaro (My Soul to Take) also went through a similar progression, starting out as a loud-mouth tough guy, ending his journey as a caring soldier who was willing to sacrifice himself for a small child who he declared was only just annoying him the entire time.
If this level of characterization, the beautiful cinematography, the impressive special effects work, or any other of the elements that make for a fantastic film weren’t enough for you, there was also plenty of great horror here, as well.
Enemies heads are smashed to bloody pulps; “Realization” and transformation scenes show the human body twisting and breaking in ways you may have only previously seen in a classic like Carpenter’s The Thing; Heads attached to nothing but a spine are shown lying on a table speaking as coherently as if they were a full-on living being, akin to something out of The Re-animator; Men are impaled and hung up on meat hooks a la a chainsaw-wielding maniac from Texas. Brutish and deformed monsters are running rampant through Nazi Germany, ripping apart anything that opposes them. Is this not enough horror for you?
Overlord is a blast of a film. I was expecting to like it going in, but after the first watch of what I can only predict will become many, I can honestly say I love it.
It is a fair assessment to say that it was not like you expected. I can accept that. To say it is anything but a good film, however, is doing it and cinema in general a huge disservice. It is beautiful and violent and so much fun.
Be sure to pick up your copy, available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Paramount Pictures on Tuesday, February 19.
Overlord gets a well-deserved 4.5 thousand-year soldiers out of 5 from yours truly.