|as a gory and unexpected blend of war film and zombie flick that will appeal to genre fans if not history buffs
|Jovan Adepo, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, Wyatt Russell, Dominic Applewhite, Erich Redman, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, John Magaro
|7th November 2018
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
It’s the eve of one of the key events of the Second World War. Allied forces are planning to land on the Normandy beaches on D-Day, but for the operation to be a success, a German communications aerial, mounted on a nearby church, will have to be taken out of action.
A group of American soldiers is sent in to destroy the tower, but their plane gets shot down as they’re approaching the village.
The handful of survivors are whittled down further by the German troops they meet in the forest, as they’re making their way to the church.
Just two soldiers – privates Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Tibbet (John Magaro) and explosives expert Ford (Wyatt Russell) – and an army photographer (Iain De Caestecker) make it to the village, thanks to a young woman they meet in the forest (Mathilde Ollivier).
She hides them in the attic when the local Nazi commander (Pilou Asbæk) comes calling for favours – but what they find when they make it to the church is even more terrifying than the SS.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Overlord starts off as a good, old-fashioned war film, with a group of soldiers being dropped behind enemy lines with a vital mission to help win the war.
Then we pass through something more akin to Predator, with a bunch of men being whittled down by an unseen enemy in the woods.
But it’s when the group make it to their target that the film switches again to out-and-out horror – although, interestingly, grounded in an element of shocking reality, with some of the most horrific elements of history being used to explain the apparently supernatural.
As one genre gives way to the next, Overlord faithfully follows each formula, with tension giving way to gore as the story unfolds, but allowing elements of one genre – such as the growing camaraderie and honour of soldiers – to filter between them.
It gets monstrously silly, but if you can live with the mash-up, it succeeds at what it’s trying to do, even if the audience for what it’s trying to do might well be somewhat limited.
It has the feel of a highly ambitious low-budget genre piece, with a largely unknown cast and a relatively small number of characters and locations for a film that’s begging to be told on a grander scale.
It never quite convinces but generally engages, with production design that works and off-the-peg characters that tick the right boxes.