Written by Wayne Townsend
Overlord is a 2018 film from Paramount Studios made by Bad Robot Production, J.J. Abrams company. This is an essential note because of Abrams’ love of the macabre. The dark turn of the most recent Star Wars entries attests to this. Overlord is an example of what happens when a major Hollywood studio throws 38 million dollars into a horror film, a great ‘B’ movie. This film takes a page from Robert Rodriguez’ From Dusk till Dawn inasmuch as it starts as one film and morphs into something else. In Overlord (Operation Overlord was the Allied code name for the D-Day invasion of France on June 6, 1944), US Army paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Corp where assigned to blow up a radio tower the night before the invasion to cripple the Nazi communications ability. The plane was shot out the sky in a chillingly realistic recreation of how such an event may have occurred. Lost, cut off from his unit, and having missed the drop zone, private Ed Boyce, played by Jovan Adepo of the film Fences in a star-making performance, tries to avoid Nazi kill squads as he figures out his next move. He hooks up with the demolition expert recently assigned to his unit, corporal Ford, played by Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt and Goldie, and three other soldiers and they proceed to accomplish the mission. The first 2/3rd of this movie is strictly a war film, one of the best in recent memory. All the drama and tension of the task at hand, ensuring the success of the D-Day invasion, is palpable. The group makes it to the town where the radio tower is located, only to find it overrun by German troops. The soldiers proceed with the mission with the help of a local French woman, a victim of Nazi atrocities, including being raped repeatedly by the Nazi commandant. Her parents, her aunt, and most of the residents of the town were all subjected to Nazi scientific experiments conducted in a laboratory Boyce stumbles upon when he yet again, gets separated from the group. This is the left-turn found in all B movies. The lab is designed to create the infamous, and never dying conspiracy theory of Nazi super-soldiers, with mixed results. The monsters become uncontrollable, and mayhem ensues. This shift is what turns this into a horror movie instead of a war film and why it is a very entertaining. Director Julius Avery accomplishes this course change so seamlessly, it’s almost believable that such laboratory could have existed. The acting is excellent, not the over-the-top melodrama often associated with genre films, and the directing style of Avery, moving from 3rd to 1st person POV and back, was video game perfect. I enjoyed this film and you will too, no matter which genre of film you prefer, 3 ½ out of 5.