On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there’s more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead. – (Source)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81% (Critics) / 72% (Audience)
MetaScore: 60 – Mixed or average reviews
Directed By: Julius Avery
Written By: Mark L. Smith, Billy Ray
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, Iain De Caestecker
Studio: Paramount Pictures
OVERLORD is a really good war movie. The opening 20-30 minutes of the platoon flying into enemy territory on D-Day is one of the most thrilling and well shot war movie action sequences that I have ever seen. it truly was a white knuckle experience for me as a viewer.
The take on zombies was cool and played into the dual aspects of Nazism that tends to be played up most in genre films: the fringe science experimentation and the dabbling in the occult. Separately either one would have been good enough but mixing them together really added something to the narrative of the film and it’s take on the zombie genre.
The surviving soldiers trying to complete their suicide mission had really good chemistry and despite being broad archetypes all of the actors brought more to the characters than just the surface level that we could have gotten from them. Jovan Adepo made for a wonderfully reluctant action hero, John Magaro was great comic relief, Iain De Caestecker, Wyatt Russell and Dominic Applewhite rounded out the crew perfectly. And Bokeem Woodbine was so great in a small but very impactful role.
Credit goes to Mathilde Ollivier as local townie Chloe who showed a mix of vulnerability and steel as she progressed from victim of circumstance to kick butt action heroine. And Pilou Asbæk put on a slimy villain clinic as the disgusting Nazi commander Wafner.
While we got enough from Wafner to grow to hate him and enjoy his comeuppance there were several other villains in this movie who were not really given enough screen time to actually make them worthwhile enough to even hate or care all that much about them getting what was coming to them.
There was a period in the middle of the film where things became a bit of a slog and could have really used a ratcheting up of the zombie survival aspect of the film. In a film like this it is a benefit to be relentless with the danger and taking time to let the characters breathe just didn’t work for me.
Also OVERLORD took its sweet time before actually introducing the zombie element into the movie which was a bad decision because it made me as a viewer constantly keep asking myself “when the heck are the zombies gonna be coming?”.
Not having the Nazi occupied French village’s streets be overrun with zombies was such a missed opportunity on this movie’s part.
Final Verdict: I was expecting a zombie survival movie set during World War II but got a World War II action movie with a little zombie survival sprinkled on top and surprisingly that worked out pretty well. This is a fun adrenaline rush that is well worth a viewing.