Three words. Action, Gore… and Zombies, Nazi Zombies to be exact. If you came to test your action-loving souls on this R-Rated film, then you've come to the right place. The concept of Nazi zombies may appear as a rerun from previous films to some, but director Julius Avery finds a way to make Overlord a mad, disturbing, gruesome; but yet all exciting and enthralling film to be entertained by this Spring! Horror fans will exclaim at the suspense and gore, while the rest of us will still be in awe at the body of work and talent that is the up-and-coming-cast.
Overlord stays true to the formulaic man-on-a-mission narrative along with the classic good vs. evil storyline where the hero protagonist and his team try to save the world but are constantly faced with trouble and adversity... you know how it goes. Jovan Adepo plays Private Boyce, an American paratrooper, who was a civilian no more than three months ago in the film; has been appointed to go behind enemy lines, while working closely with his fellow soldiers and a young French villager, to destroy a radio transmitter placed by the Germans on top of an archaic French church. Now this may present as a mediocre plot coming from Australian director Avery, but Private Boyce and his crew are going to discover that getting rid of the radio transmitter will be the very least of their worries.
The film's tone and energy can resonate with its film relative Inglourious Basterds, without the irony and sarcasm of course. Nevertheless, the opening sequence is sublime as it accurately captures the mood and atmosphere of the setting, showcasing the seas and skies cluttered with soldiers, preparing themselves for D-Day the next morning. The suspense, the nerves of the young American men, the sweaty palms and clenched hands, along with Tibbet (John Magaro), the showy and loudmouth paratrooper who exclaims his premeditated plan to kill Adolf Hitler, were all captured exceptionally well in the opening scene and sets an astounding mood for the rest of the film.
The J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek) produced R rated B-film (although treated as an A grade war/action flick) has a solid structure and has an evenly balanced pace throughout the film, which is what we all want in an action, thriller and horror film- one wouldn't want the climax to take nearly 2 hours long, and this film abides to that unspoken movie length rule by going under the two hour run-time mark. Overlord's patriotism amplifier machine also proves well in it's own right, with the audience at the Fantastic Fest premiere boisterously cheering for the gruesome, gory and grisly deaths of the Nazi zombies.
However, with the good comes the not so good. The overall story seems to have some plot holes, despite it's high level use of action and gore. The plot twists or surprises may seem underwhelming to some, as well as capricious for any other WWII army, action flick. The film starts of domineering and in your face, forcing you to take in the glory and gore… but after a while that seems to be all there is left to hold this film together; rather than the storyline itself.
Overlord reeks of action, adventure, slaughter, gore and a hint of patriotism- all are an ideal recipe for an anticipating film of the unknown. Make sure to grab your popcorn, and support friend(s) if need be, because this R-Rated film is not for the faint hearted, whoever that may be.