That old saying, “War is Hell,” is given new meaning in this horror flick set during WWII.
I’m not a big fan of war movies, at all, but the previews for Overlord intrigued me. In June of 1944, on the eve of D-Day, planes carrying American paratroopers on a crucial mission are shot down over the coast of France. (This opening scene, introducing us to some of the main characters, quickly became nerve-frying.)
A handful of men survive, avoiding enemy troops on the shore.
Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) is green, and isn’t happy about being drafted. He literally couldn’t hurt a mouse when the opportunity arose in his barracks during basic training. Of course, he ends up being the “moral compass” of the group.
And then there’s the obligatory wise-cracking character, a sniper named Tibbet (John Magaro), along with young war photographer Chase (Iain de Caestecker) and jaded leader and explosives expert Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell – who looks just like his dad, Kurt).
The small band of soldiers tries to avoid the German night patrols, determined to fulfill their mission: destroy a radio transmitter the Nazi’s have installed in a medieval church’s tower. They get unexpected help along the way from a young French woman named Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), who helps guide them to her Nazi-occupied village where the radio tower is located.
The men hide out in Chloe’s home, where she lives with her kid brother, Paul, and an ailing aunt. The older woman’s strange suffering is their first clue that there’s more going on in the village than just a military operation.
Nazi (Aryan) leader Wafner (Pilou Asbaek), who has taken a shine to Chloe, complicates and compromises their mission immediately. But when Private Boyce manages to infiltrate the stronghold while doing reconnaissance, the true scope of the Nazis’ nefarious plan is revealed. Boyce’s exploration of the underground labs leads to gruesome discoveries of horrifying experimentation. Hitler’s main goal: reanimate the dead to create an army of super soldiers.
Oh, is that all? The stakes are raised and the battle becomes even more vicious.
The amount of gore in this R-rated film should come as no surprise to viewers. Warfare + Nazi atrocities = bloody carnage. Even though I’m not keen on splatter-fests, it didn’t seem gratuitous to me. Familiar tropes are present, however, and as often happens, I questioned the actions of certain characters who were in threatening situations. I wanted to yell, “Don’t do it! Don’t go in there!” But they always do.
All that being said, I felt satisfied at the end of the story (directed by Julius Avery). I was never bored and I thought the writers (Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith) did a great job of keeping the middle from dragging with the right amount of suspense-filled action and intrigue. And the cast was commendable – no acting greenhorns present.
People who know me will probably be surprised, but I’m giving Overlord four out of five goblins.
Next month on the blog: Guilty Pleasures – Part III: Monsters & Aliens