Overlord was unveiled to the world at the 2018 Fantastic Film Festival and I am pleased to tell you that the hype is real! Originally speculated as a Cloverfield film, Overlord is a wild, guns-blazing madness at will have your heart racing from start to finish. From a tense and unrelenting opening behind enemy lines to a grim and gruesome struggle for survive, Overlord is an adrenaline-fueled nightmare set loose on the earth.
Described by Julius Avery as “Indiana Jones on Acid”, Overlord is insanity on the grandest scale. As someone who spends a lot of his time shying away from big blockbuster movies, it was such a treat to see million-dollar monsters back on the screen in a big, bad way. Overlord is Bad Robot’s first R-rated film and damn do they lean into the gore and villainy that only an R-rated film can provide.
Overlord follows a group of America soldiers that have dropped down into Nazi-occupied France to destroy a radio transmitter the enemy has placed at the top of a church in a remote french village. Sounds easy enough, but if they fail, the following Allied forces with be left with no means of communication when they land on D-Day. With only a small handful of their unit left alive, the team must infiltrate the Nazi compound undetected and demolish the tower if the arriving troops are to have any chance at victory in Normandy. And if you thought the real horrors were out on that beach, you have no idea what awaits these poor souls in the bunker of that church.
The inhabitants of this quiet village has been living like prisoners for months, forced to do as their Nazi wardens say. If they disobey their commands or if they happen to look at them the wrong way, they are selected as test subjects for “experiments” and dragged into the dark recesses that awful church. What lies below is a catacomb of suffering – but what exactly do the German hope to achieve with these horrible experiments? Is it merely sadistic, and unspeakable torture disguised as scientific research, or are they actually on the cusp of a dark, and unholy discovery. The soldiers are soon faced with the horrors of that evil lab, barely making it out with their lives. No one has words to describe what they just saw but as Pilou Asbæk’s monstrous Nazi commander so chillingly explains, “Hitler’s thousand year reich will need thousand year soldiers”.
Julius Avery’s Overlord is a wild, in-your-face monster movie set against the backdrop of World War II. That setting alone is scary enough when put into the right hands and the movie spend plenty of time keeping you on edge with the brutality of that combat before dropping you in the madness that exists at the center of Overlord. The entire first act is so harrowing, and so brilliantly shot that I was almost sad to see it fade, and transform into something completely different. But I mean, I did come for Nazi Zombies and oh boy do they stand front and center in the second half of this film. But do remember this is a blockbuster film and there is a story-telling formula the film locks into toward the final act that won’t blow your mind, but is still one hell of a good time at the movies.
Once our American troops set foot inside the compound the entire mission changes and their objective shifts from Seek and Destroy to KILL IT WITH FIRE! Like any good zombie movie, we are reminded that the real monsters in this world are human beings. Humans may not be running around eating people’s faces, but we are capable of truly horrible acts, and there is no better framework for that story than the battlefield. Overlord‘s blood-soaked action sequences are a pulse-pounding chemical reaction that will burn the eyes right out of your skull.
“Overlord‘s blood-soaked action sequences are a pulse-pounding chemical reaction that will burn the eyes right out of your skull.”
Overlord is directed by Julius Avery, produced by J.J. Abrams, and written by Billy Ray & Mark L. Smith. The film stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbæk, and Mathilde Ollivier. Overlord is scheduled for release November 9th and celebrated its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2018. Check out all of Nightmare on Film Street’s Fantastic Fest coverage here!