Directed by: Julius Avery
Starring : Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, John Magaro, Mathilde Ollivier
Curiously just missing the Halloween market, considering its zombie packed adventures, Overlord is one of the best video-game adaptations…that isn’t based off a video game! Set just before the D-Day landings, a group of soldiers are dropped in beyond enemy lines to take down a radio tower. What seems like a pretty routine mission soon turns into a survival mission, not from the battlefield, but from forces for more sinister.
The wartime zombie setting provides the film with a Wolfenstien vibe, a set of video games that also focus on defeating hordes of the undead during WW2. This also feels like the Resident Evil movie we should have got, as opposed to what we ended up getting…….several times.
The cast here are pretty low key, there really isn’t a big name to give the movie some much needed star power. Boyce (Adepo) is out main protagonist, a young american dropped into a scenario he really isn’t comfortable with, there isn’t much wrong with the character, but the constant reminder of how kind he is throughout does get a tad bit annoying! He is supported by battle hardened Ford (Russell, son of Kurt!), and Tibert (Magaro) the sniper expert. After a disastrous landing, they regroup and take refuge in the home of local French civilian Chloe (Olivier), as they attempt to regroup and carry out their operation.
Though the film is marketed as a straight up horror film in the trailers, that’s not the entire story. The first half has a very strong survival horror element to it, from the tense battlefield segments, which involves an excellent opening parachute sequence, to the discovery of the secret enemy lab, containing several disturbing experiments. This is by far the strongest part of the film. The story balances the unknown terrors that lurk behind the walls of the enemy, and the constant threat of war. Matching enemy soldiers is one thing, but dealing with the undead? Not so simple!
The second half, whilst still doing a decent job, switches things up, and it becomes an out and out action film. Our villain, a generic German officer, goes from an everyday high ranking soldier, to a crazed maniac with a god complex seemingly overnight. The film gets rather ridiculous and exaggerated once the zombies are released. but it definitely has a video-game charm to it, which makes it work.
While the story as a whole does enough to make the audience care for whats happening, it would have been better if they spent a bit more time in the lab, and the nightmares buried inside. The horror parts are what this film does best, and it would have been more thrilling to see more of that, than what is going on between our heroes back at the hideout.
Overlord falls very much in the cheesy B Movie category, with enough horror, gore and an extravagant villain to keep things amusing. While the movie could be open to a sequel, it thankfully doesn’t have any kind of sequel bait or tease at the end, so it feels like a closed chapter on its own. Whilst they could have added some more sinister elements to it, the zombie war shooter is a great watch, and with a run time of under 2 hours, it won’t feel like a drag.