Not a 'Cloverfield' movie, nor a zombie movie, 'Overlord' brings the horror to a group of paratroopers in World War II.
Release Date: November 9, 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Overlord is the story of two American soldiers behind enemy lines on D Day.
Director: Julius Avery
Screenwriters: Billy Ray, Mark L. Smith
Producers: J.J. Abrams, Lindsey Weber
Cast: Jovan Adepo (Boyce), Wyatt Russell (Ford), Mathilde Ollivier (Chloe), Pilou Asbaek (Wafner), John Magaro (Tibbet), Ian De Caestecker (Chase), Jacob Anderson (Dawson), Dominic Applewhite (Rosenfeld), Erich Redman (Dr. Schmidt), Gianny Taufer (Paul)
Editor: Matt Evans
Cinematographers: Laurie Rose, Fabian Wagner
Production Designer: Jon Henson
Casting Directors: Theo Park, Mathilde Snodgrass
Music Score: Jed Kurzel
After the surprise drops of 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox, the word around Hollywood was that there was a Cloverfield movie in production that was set during World War II. This rumor, most likely started because of J.J. Abrams’ involvement as producer, has proven to be false; Overlord is not a Cloverfield movie.
Overlord is about a squadron of paratroopers who are tasked with destroying a radio jamming tower located on top of a church in occupied France so that the D-Day invasion of Normandy can have adequate air support. When the dust settles on their landing, only a handful of the men are left alive, including green private Boyce (Jovan Adepo from Fences), machine gunner Tibbet (The Big Short’s John Magaro), photographer Chase (Iain De Caestecker from “Agents of Shield”), and, luckily, demolitions expert Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell from Goon: Last of the Enforcers). With the help of a friendly French girl named Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier from The Misfortunes of Francois Jane), the remaining soldiers are able to locate the tower.
But there is much more to the tower and church than meets the eye. In the basement, horrible experiments are going on at the hands of a Nazi doctor named Dr. Schmidt (Captain America: The First Avenger’s Eric Redman) and an SS Captain named Wafner (Pilou Asbaek from A War). The Americans find that the stakes on their mission have just doubled; not only do they have to blow up the tower to ensure success of the beach landing, but they’ve got to destroy the lab to stop the inhumane experiments.
Overlord was directed by Australian filmmaker Julius Avery (Son of a Gun) from a script that was written by Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) and Mark L. Smith (The Revenant, Martyrs). It’s basically a twofer; audiences get a harrowing movie that captures the chaos of war that also winds up as a claustrophobic experience in body horror. It’s a bit like Saving Private Ryan meets The Thing by way of Hostel. And, despite how schizophrenic that sounds, Avery finds a way to make it work wonderfully.
The war scenes are gripping, filled with suspense and wracked with tension. The film begins with a bang from the very first scene, with very little time devoted to character development, but somehow, Avery still manages to get his audience to care about his soldiers – when most of them are wiped out before they even hit the ground, there’s a sense of loss for these men that were barely even introduced. As it turns out, caring about even the survivors is a big mistake, because once Dunkirk becomes The Human Centipede, no one is safe.
So, Overlord is not a Cloverfield movie. And, after the mediocrity of The Cloverfield Paradox, that’s probably a good thing. Overlord is, however, a white-knuckle ride that never lets up, seamlessly and flawlessly blending action and horror in a way that keeps the audience on the edge of its collective seat. It should have no trouble satisfying hardcore fans of both genres.
Despite initial reports to the contrary, Overlord is, thankfully, not a zombie movie. But it’s not a creature feature either. It’s…something else that is best left discovered by the viewer for themselves. There are one or two good jump scares, but it’s mostly good old-fashioned carnage and killing. Not in the slasher movie way, more like how a realistic war movie should be, with guts and viscera. From a horror standpoint, it’s a fairly tame affair, with more action and combat than slicing and dicing. It’s still a great time, and horror fans will enjoy it, but it most likely isn’t going to scare anyone too badly.