Overlord is not what you're expecting. Trailers and early buzz have pumped it up as a "Nazi Zombie" movie which, while true, does not quite do it justice. Actually, Overlord is first and foremost a fairly typical, behind enemy lines war film about a group of soldiers who need to complete a mission. Just like that, they're going to kill some Nazis who may be zombies, which undoubtedly kick things up a notch.
Directed by Julius Avery and produced by J.J. Abrams, Overlord owes much more to The Dirty Boxes, Saving Private Ryan or Inglorious Bastards than it does Dawn of the Dead, The Walking Dead, or 28 Days Later . The movie begins, much like Saving Private Ryan with a visceral, intense action scene or American soldiers attempting to invade France. Instead of storming the beaches though, they are parachuting behind enemy lines the night before Normandy to destroy a tower that will make that invasion possible.
Avery and his team suck you in immediately, introducing a group of ragtag soldiers who run the gamut from overly confident to scared shitless. De møter fiendens bombing dramatiseret gennem en cacophony of lyder og billeder som vil skille dig til din kerne. When the survivors regroup, they find most of their company is dead. It's just four of them left (played by Jovan Adepo, Iain De Caestecke, Wyatt Russell, and John Magaro) and they have a few precious hours to invade the German-occupied town to complete their mission. Along the way, they meet a local girl (Mathilde Ollivier) who will help them and also open their eyes to some sinister experiments happening in town.
As the plot takes shape, the first hints of a zombie movie begin to appear. Det er bare behandlet som mere af en sideværelse snarere end hovedretten. Most of the movie is the war story, but every once in a while there's something weird about: a pile of bones, a scary lab, a deformed aunt. Og når filmen kommer tættere på sin climax, bliver zombier og ting mere og mere udbredt. By the end, it's the main obstacle for the soldiers and Avery presents us with some terrifying and cool creature effects leading to a really big, exciting payoff.
Overlord is unique in that the beginning and end feel like they're from two different movies that the story has to connect. The beginning is from a shocking, scary war movie. The end is an adrenaline-filled, fun zombie scene. To get from one big set to the other, the film shrinks, taking place in only a handful of locations, with a few characters, and really using all its resources to great effect. After the big opening, the movie almost does not feel like it will be able to crescendo back to that level of intensity. Og enn, de tydeligere øjeblikkene i midten er i virkeligheden what make Overlord work.
Overlord is at its best not when soldiers are being thrown around by Nazi zombies, but when they bond over their mission, and that's due to the actors. When characters like Adepo's Ed gain confidence and step up to the plate. When a scene from early in the movie informs what happens later. Those moments give the audience an emotional grounding that makes the zombie stuff even more disturbing. Da, by the time the soldiers from the beginning and the zombies from the end clash, we care much more than we did at the start.
One hang-up about Overlord however, is that almost all of it feels a little too familiar. A little too predictable. Maybe we have not exactly seen all these ingredients blended in this particular way before but we are intimately familiar with each and every one of them. War movie? Check. Zombie movie? Check. Evil Nazis? Check. Snarky sharpshooter? Check. You get the idea.
And yet, where it ends up, it's still pretty damn good. Overlord had a world premiere at Overlord Blends War and Zombies in a way that's familiar, but done well, and adds enough personality and pizazz to definitely make it worth your time.
Fantastic Fest 2018. It opens everywhere November 9.