Directed By: Julius Avery
Written By: Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith
Make absolutely no mistake about it, Overlord is really, really dumb. It’s also really, really awesome. The movie is set on the eve of D-Day. A group of American paratroopers have been dropped into Nazi occupied France to take out a German communications center, allowing for airstrikes to help with the American invasion. When the troops arrive, they find much more than a communications center. There is a lab where the Germans have been experimenting in an attempt to create an army of super soldiers. The treatment hasn’t been perfected though and they have found themselves with a bunch of mutant zombie killing machines.
What makes Overlord effective is that director Julius Avery seems to know exactly what kind of film he is making. There’s no pesky backstory to give the characters depth and we don’t need it. They’re soldiers, they’ve been given a mission and they are there to finish the job. What more do we need to know about them? He also doesn’t waste any time jumping into the action. There is no long setup. Bullets start flying immediately and there is barely a moment when they stop. A crazy story, non-stop action and a runtime under two hours, I say let Avery direct every over the top, action-horror movie that he can.
Avery is aided by an amazing cast. Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, John Magaro and Pilou Asbæk are all top notch actors and they all do great work in Overlord. Just like their director, they all seem to know exactly what type of film they are making. If there is one character who brings emotion to this story it’s Chloe. She is played by Mathilde Ollivier, a French actress who I was completely unfamiliar with. I know her now and I’ll be on the lookout for anything else she is in that comes my way. She is tasked with not only bringing the emotion to the story but also being a total badass when needed and she does both perfectly.
The biggest complaint that I have about the movie is that it never pays off the romance that is set up between Boyce and Chloe. Throughout the film it is clear that something is there but it is never paid off in any meaningful way. I can understand if the filmmakers decided that it didn’t need to be because this is a kickass action movie about fighting supernatural Nazi experiments but I question the decision to include any of it at all.
Overlord works as well as it does because it follows the basic principle of Keep It Simple Stupid. There isn’t a ton of extra garbage clogging things up. We have good guys and bad guys. We’re not asked to question the morality of the good guys and we aren’t asked to understand why the bad guys are bad. There’s not a conflicted anti-hero anywhere to be found. It also helps that everyone seems to be on the same page. Everyone from the writers to the director to the cast all seem to understand what this movie is. If you’re looking to turn your brain off and just see some super cool shit, I can’t recommend Overlord enough.