Movie Review: “Overlord” – B-Movie Goodness

Written by Jeremiah Greville November 19, 2018

I’m not sure how to review this movie, but I can definitely recommend it. Overlord is awesome. Like all J.J. Abrams-produced films, it’s been steeped in mystery since its announcement. That mystery, however, carries over into the finished product. Overlord doesn’t tell you what it’s really about until halfway through its run time. The effect is a bit jarring at first, but definitely works in the film’s favour. It’s a maddening, ridiculous B-movie plot that unfolds as the characters discover it. And that’s okay. If you know nothing about the film, then even the genre might be a surprise. But if you go in knowing everything, it’s still a fun romp in an action-horror world. It’s a grisly flick that wears its influences on its sleeve and doesn’t take itself too seriously. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

Overlord stars Jovan Adepo as a WWII paratrooper dropping into France on the eve of D-Day. His mission, along with his squad, is to destroy a Nazi radio tower to make sure D-Day is a success. What they find instead is the Nazis experimenting on a small French village. It’s up the squad to see if they can complete their mission and stop the Nazis — or if they can even survive the night. Overlord also stars Mathilde Ollivier, Iain De Caestecker, John Magaro, Pilou Asbaek, and Wyatt Russell. It’s a cast of up-and-comers and relative unknowns. Some names you may recognize, many you won’t. While I have my complaints, there are no glaring weak leaks or poor performances. Overlord is a tight film with a tight cast.

“There’s a lot of soldiers out there. There’s only four of us.”

But we do have to talk about Wyatt Russell. Kurt Russell’s bouncing baby boy is now a fully fledged actor following a brief hockey career. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be trading on his father’s name to win big roles, and can hold his own in a scene. Unfortunately, he’s yet to develop any real screen presence or style. He was okay in 22 Jump Street, barely funny at all in Goon: Last of the Enforcers, and here…well. That’s just it. He’s here, and that’s all that can be said. As a hard-ass corporal in an action film, the role doesn’t ask him much. He’s not bad — he’s fine. Thoroughly okay. But knowing his pedigree, it’s a shame that we didn’t get more. Perhaps Hollywood just hasn’t figured out how best to use him, but how long will we have to wait until they do?

As for the film — it’s great, but not for everyone. Overlord is bloody and gory, and revels in every shlocky second of fun. It balances the subject matter with a knowing approach and never descends into mocking, heavy-handed comedy. It doesn’t insult the audience with useless exposition, or call attention to its own outlandish narrative. If you’re a genre film fan, it’s an insider’s delight. There are deliberate homages to Alien and The Thing. And yes, if you’ve seen or read anything about the film, it’s basically a Wolfenstein video game come to life. But consider that tone before you take any unsuspecting viewers. The ridiculous bits may be too much for serious audiences, and the serious bits may be too much for casual film-fans. But I think it strikes a good balance for those ready to take the ride.

“What is this shit?”

One of the most extraordinary things about Overlord is how well the structure of the film mirrors the journey of the main character. Private Boyce, played by Adepo, was drafted into the war and we join him on his very first mission. In a sense, we’re drafted along. There’s never a moment where we, the audience, are ahead of him. We’re learning about the Nazi experiments and seeing the horror unfold as he does. And it’s thrilling. By the time the story clicks into place and the ending is within view, we’re fully invested because we’ve been through the same journey of discovery. Most movies do this to some extent, but Overlord nails it. No bullshit, no fluff — just straight goodness.

One thing I should mention is that Overlord is not a secret Cloverfield film in disguise. It could easily be folded into whatever becomes of J.J. Abrams’ divisive anthology series in the future, but for now exists apart. Considering the reviews of The Cloverfield Paradox earlier this year, that might be for the best. But it’s worth mentioning here because of the rumours that swirled around Overlord when it was announced. Consider this a service, not a spoiler. I don’t believe in robbing anyone of the sense of wonder and discovery you get through film, but I also want to make sure nobody suffers undue disappointment, regardless of expectation. Overlord is not a part of the Cloverfield universe. Maybe someday it will be.

“F*** Nazis.”

Overlord is a perfect flick to catch on streaming, or in a theatre with some friends. It won’t set your world on fire, but it won’t waste your time either. It’s just a quality action-horror film with several great moments and a great structural approach. Just be aware of what you’re getting into, and let the film do the rest. In the coming years it’ll be one of those unsung gems you find online and tell your friends about, and in a year of crowded action films I’m sure it’ll garner some honourable mentions on a few top ten lists. For now, do yourself a favour and break the news to your friends. Heck, I’ll get ya started: “There’s a great new action film called Overlord — wanna see it?”

My Rating: 7.5/10

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Jeremiah Greville

Jeremiah Greville is a pretty rad beard that's attached itself to a human face. The beard likes movies, television, comic books, and gentle finger rubs. The human likes pizza and sleep. When they work together, they write reviews. Hope you enjoy them!

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on Movie Review: “Overlord” – B-Movie Goodness. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment