OVERLORD (2018) Reviews and overview

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‘Stop the unstoppable’

Overlord is a 2018 American action horror feature film directed by Julius Avery from a screenplay by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. J.J. Abrams (Cloverfield) and Lindsey Weber are producers.

The Bad Robot Productions movie stars Wyatt Russell, Bokeem Woodbine, Pilou Asbæk, Iain De Caestecker, John Magaro, Jacob Anderson and Hélène Cardona.

Plot:

On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers are dropped behind enemy lines to carry out a mission crucial to the invasion’s success. However, as they approach their target, they begin to realise there is more going on in this Nazi-occupied village than simple military operations. They find themselves fighting against supernatural forces, part of a Nazi experiment…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“One just wishes that the film would have taken a few more risks with its storytelling since the premise is so far out there. As it stands, it’s a solid film that never reaches further than it has to, but if you’re looking for a Nazi-killing gore-fest, then you’re bound to find something to like here.” Bloody Disgusting

” …it seems reluctant to fully commit to the monster bit, wavering between B-movie glory and a straight-up soldier story. There are flourishes of fabulously gnarly practical effects and disturbing mad scientist designs but only tastes, never a whole meal. The film also plays pretty fast and loose with the rules of its sci-fi wonders…” Collider

Overlord is consistently a better war movie than it is a zombie flick, and that’s mostly down to the commitment its actors have to the former material. Rather than being a criticism, it’s this separation that makes the sci-fi horror stuff work so well because the mostly archetypal characters are as shocked and baffled by the twist as we are.” Den of Geek!

” …the movie is more mainstream that the midnight fare it sounds like on paper, if only by a bit. Horror fans should cheer, as will admirers of the ensemble’s up-and-coming cast.” The Hollywood Reporter

” …the strengths of the movie rely on its ability to handle the intensity and maliciousness of war.  It’s only when it gets into the horror elements that the movie struggles to find a tone. It has moments where you can see flashes of unsettling body horror and those moments are absolutely great.  But then it has other moments where it feels like a high-quality B-movie. ” Horror-Movies.ca

Overlord is at its best when dealing with the soldiers bonding, all thanks to the great chemistry between the cast that makes you care for these characters despite their lack of depth. This makes the carnage and the horror of the second half of the movie not only entertaining but emotionally grounded.” IGN

“Those in search of a period piece with a bit more flavor will likely not find this to their taste. In the ring of action/war movies, Overlord is brass-knuckle boxing. Though the form is distractingly polished, its hits reverberate with a brutal force that will knock the wind right out of you.” iHorror

“Yes, this is a B-movie produced with studio resources about American soldiers battling Nazi zombies in WWII. But despite some underdeveloped characters and obvious B-movie tropes, Overlord goes beyond the call of duty with a riveting story that digs far deeper than this material usually goes for.” IndieWire

“I just wish this film had done something actually fun like have a good story and maybe not regurgitate every single WWII men-on-a-mission cliche there is. I’d say don’t bother, but most people will anyway. Just try to see it cheap, at least.” Lewton Bus

“It’s mysterious, action-packed, funny, rousing and purely enjoyable. All things we’ve come to know and love Abrams for packing into his productions. But that’s not to take anything away from director Julius Avery. While Abrams gave him the ball to run with, and surely some guidance along the way, Avery establishes himself here as a man who carries a certain edge.” Movieweb

“As a piece of moral commentary cloaked in a sci-fi gimmick, Overlord is uninspired. As an action thriller, it’s just aggressively boring. Maybe because it exhaustively recycles imagery from any number of genre films that came before it (it’s particularly fond of paying homage to the Alien franchise), or because the action sequences are bizarrely monotonous, save for the occasional bit of gory VFX.” ScreenCrush

Overlord is produced by J.J. Abrams, who likes to make films with twists that are never quite as surprising as he thinks. Even at its most suspenseful, when Jed Kurzel’s cello score stabs at the eardrums, Overlord feels familiar, a collage of cinematic nightmares checking off its influences…” Variety

Release:

Overlord was released theatrically by Paramount Pictures on November 9, 2018.

Home viewing:

Overlord lands on Digital on February 5, 2019, and on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital combo, and Blu-ray + DVD + Digital combo on February 19 via Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Main cast and characters:

Jovan Adepo … Boyce
Wyatt Russell … Ford
Mathilde Ollivier … Chloe
Pilou Asbæk … Wafner
John Magaro … Tibbet
Iain De Caestecker … Chase
Jacob Anderson … Dawson
Dominic Applewhite … Rosenfeld
Gianny Taufer … Paul
Joseph Quinn … Grunauer
Bokeem Woodbine … Rensin
Erich Redman … Dr Schmidt
Mark McKenna … Murphy
Hayley Carmichael Hayley Carmichael … Mrs Lesner
Marc Rissmann … Scherzer
Meg Foster … Chloe’s Aunt
Sarah Finigan … French Mother
Gunther Wurger … German Officer
Bart Lambert … Navigator
Michael Epp … German Soldier
Tom Mothersdale … German Soldier
Ross Tomlinson … Young Man
Alison Thea-Skot … Re-Animated Woman
Ben Tavassoli … Nez
Shubham Saraf … Hays
Andy Wareham … Richt
Nick Roeten … The Mistake
Patrick Brammall … American Officer

Filming locations:

Bluebell Railway, West Sussex, England
Hatfield House Estate, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England
Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, England

Technical details:

110 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1
Audio: Dolby Atmos

Notes:

Overlord has been cited as “blackwashing” history by the casting of Bokeem Woodbine and Jovan Adepo as members of the United States elite 101st Airborne Division. In 1944, the U.S. Army was still strictly segregated and no black soldiers were admitted to the 101st Airborne until after 1948 when Harry S. Truman ordered desegregation. It has been argued that this historical inaccuracy is immaterial in a sci-fi horror film that also depicts Nazi zombies, however, given that the very basis of Nazism was overtly racist critics have suggested that it is woefully misleading to depict the USA as a fair society with black and white troops fighting side-by-side during World War II in when racial segregation in the army still existed.

  

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