So, the zombie craze is over now, right? The Walking Dead‘s popularity is waning; there hasn’t been a great “Of The Dead” film in like 15 years. We may finally be coming out of it. So of course now’s the best time to revitalize the gene with something fresh and original. Enter, Overlord. The kickass action-horror-zombie-war movie we’ve been waiting for. Now, when I say fresh, it’s in the sense of being shockingly well-made. But as far as original, well, stop me if some of this sounds familiar. . .
“They have been given a purpose.”
Overlord brings us right into the cabin of a plane as a squad of paratroopers prepare to drop into France on the eve of D-Day. Their mission is to destroy a Nazi radio tower before the Allied assault. When the plane is shot down, only a small group of soldiers remain, including Pvt. Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), and three others. The ragtag team finds shelter in a nearby village, and plans their next move to complete their mission. But the Nazis are working on something much more sinister below the local church, and the coming battle threatens to unleash it.
Now, if you’re thinking this sounds an awful lot like Wolfenstein, Nazi Zombies, Resident Evil 4; you’re right.But let’s be honest, the video game medium is rife with great horror source material. Now, Overlord isn’t by any means an adaptation of any of these titles. But it’s about as close as we’re likely to get for a while.
What was quite surprising about Overlord was the tone. If one were to go solely by the trailer, you’d likely expect B-movie schlock. Even the director went out of his way to announce the film’s over the top, “ridiculous” nature. And while the film surely dips into a few horror cliches, you may be surprised to know the entirety of the film is played almost completely straight. This isn’t a send up, or a spoof gore-fest. This is a movie about soldiers. It’s a war movie, and a pretty by the book one as well. It just also happens to have some horror elements as well. And Overlord manages to balance both genres, and pull them off pretty impressively.
“How does it feel? The blood of eternity. . .”
The cast meshes well together, all giving off that unmistakable vibe of young men in over their heads, like every other young soldier of WWII. Wyatt Russell takes on the role of the team’s only grizzled veteran, a role that would’ve fit his father just as well in the 80s. I have no doubt that he’ll be a huge star in due time. Pilou Asbæk (Game Of Thrones‘ Euron Greyjoy) turns out a super creepy performance as the local Nazi Captain, Wafner.
And yes, once the action really begins, we are treated to some crazy action, and yes, even some gore. And both deliver in spades. The overwhelming sounds of battle threaten to destroy your eardrum, putting you right in the middle of the bloodiest war the world had ever seen. It truly is pretty remarkable how well-crafted the film is from a war movie perspective. And in keeping with the WWII feel, the opening credits are delivered in classic 1940s fashion, before giving us one of the most intense opening scenes since Saving Private Ryan. I don’t want to oversell a film about Nazis and zombies, but seriously, it’s just a damn good flick.