Sunday, November 11, 2018

Overlord - Movie Review

The Movie: Overlord

The Director: Julius Avery

The Cast: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite, Erich Redman, Bokeem Woodbine, Marc Rissmann

The Story: During a World War II mission, American soldiers drop into enemy territory and discover that the horrors of war can be much scarier than they ever imagined.

The Review:
This movie is freaking bad ass and jumps through genres like a deranged zombie hunting for brains. It is first and foremost a World War II movie but it is also horror, zombie, exploitation, fantasy, and it could actually fit comfortably within Tarantino's universe of films. Julius Avery is credited as the director of this film although it has J.J. Abrams signature style (No, I don't mean lens flares) all over it so I get the idea he was much more involved with making the movie than as his credited role of producer. That's not to say Avery doesn't deserve credit, I'm just saying it definitely has the look and feel of an Abrams movie.

What's most interesting is that the story is something you might see on a Grindhouse VHS tape or as a midnight film festival but it has all the production value of a blockbuster presentation. From the very beginning, the film makers are determined to tell you that this is a big movie with all the bells and whistles, explosions and gunfire, and eventually mutated Nazis you can handle. Most prominent of anything is that this is definitely a horror movie but not the kind that jumps out at you for cheap scares. The horror is in seeing Nazi soldiers going above and beyond the pure evil we have always imagined and creating a real threat both psychologically and and on a globally destructive scale.

The contingent of American soldiers who find themselves in this unfortunate set of circumstances are played by Wyatt Russell as Corporal Ford, Jovan Alepo as Boyce, John Magaro as Tibbett, Iain De Caestecker as Chase, and Dominic Applewhite as Rosenfeld. We also get standout performances from Mathilde Ollivier who plays a French villager that helps the team against the Nazis and Pilou Asbæk as the movie's main bad guy. Asbæk is quite good as an exuberant German military leader who ends up becoming a magnified result of secret experiments kind of like a horror movie version of Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Now that I think about it, this whole movie is a reverse horror version of Cap's origin story. Instead of a super serum designed to create a super soldier to defend the world against Nazis, this movie features a Nazi serum intended to create what they call a "thousand year army" that will be used to take over the world. It all makes sense now!

The Verdict:
Overlord is a really good movie. It's big, it's bold, it's intense, and it's actually pretty frightening without ever relying on jump scares or zombie hordes. The movie is also hard to label as it hits on so many different genres. The best thing to do is just go in ready to enjoy an intense thrill ride that capitalizes on our love of destroying Nazis, even when they have been turned into unstoppable killing machines.

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