I would love to tell you all I’ve been super busy the last couple of weeks since Horror Month ended, that’s why I haven’t done a review since Halloween. But honestly, the truth is I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 nonstop since its release.
The only horror film to review anyways was Suspiria, but honestly, I didn’t want to waste my time on it. I was never a fan of the original and the remake seemed like a culmination of everything I hate about pretentious, self-indulgent art films like this.
And if I was going to end Horror Month, I wanted to end it on a high note. Yes, I did end things with Halloween, a film I enjoyed immensely, but I knew Overlord was coming out early November, so I made the choice to end Horror Month slightly prematurely and save the last unofficial entry for next month.
And I’m glad I did as Overlord is one hell of a fun ride. It’s the perfect film to end Horror Month on, as it is hands down the best one I’ve seen. Why it was pushed to a November release, I have no idea. It was sandwiched between The Grinch and Bohemian Rhapsody, both films outperforming Overlord sadly.
This was very evident by the lack of people in my showing. There were a ton of people in the theater, but they weren’t there to see Overlord. Though it was funny seeing this old man who most likely lived through WW2 slowly make his way down the steps as the end credits played, blasting some rap song. I wonder if it was just expecting a WW2 movie and not a zombie movie? I guess we’ll never know.
And unfortunately, I couldn’t grab the coveted handicap seat since an actual handicap person was using it.
So what kind of film is Overlord? Well, if you are a fan of badass, over the top grindhouse films, this is the movie for you. It felt almost like a companion piece to Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, though Overlord is a much better film.
Think From Dusk till Dawn meets Saving Private Ryan.
On one hand we have this brutal World War 2 film. And while this Dirt Dozen escapade is happening, we also have this Nazi zombie plot inserted into it.
From the trailers alone I knew it had me. Nazi zombie World War 2 movie? Sign me up! Though I did have some slight reservations, as it looked very familiar to this film Frankenstein’s Army. I’m happy to report however, that I was wrong.
The whole Nazi zombie scenario isn’t exactly a new concept as I can name at least 5 off the top of my head. But I can say without a doubt none of them are as good as Overlord. But since I’m on the subject, I might as well name a few worth seeing, just in case you still have that Nazi zombie itch you need to scratch after seeing Overlord.
Dead Snow is obviously on the top of the list, though I remember liking the sequel more. Blood Creek is also a good one. I also suggest checking out the Outpost films. They made two sequels, so at least one should be good, right?
Back to Overlord.
The opening plane sequence was brilliant all on its own. We are quickly introduced to our main characters, a ragtag team of airborne paratrooper soldiers sent on a mission to drop over Nazi occupied France to find this radio tower the Germans have placed in a church tower.
Our band of misfits consists of Tibbet, our loud obnoxious Italian sniper who we’ll hate but grow to love. Our demolition expert Ford, who has I will sacrifice myself at the end written all over him. And of course our lead, Boyce, who I thought they were calling “boy” through half the movie. Like jeez, guys. Racist much?
Also mixed into this crew was Fitz from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he plays Chase, the photographer sent to document the mission. Yeah, he might as well stand in line with Ford for characters destined to die.
Speaking of Ford, he’s played by Wyatt Russell. Through the whole film I kept wondering why he looked so familiar and why he looked so much like Kurt Russell. Then it hit me. They look identical because he’s Kurt Russell’s son. I didn’t recognize him because usually Wyatt is hidden behind a gigantic beard. Or at least he was when I watched him in the tv series Lodge 49.
He also had a giant beard in Goon 2 and just about everything I’ve seen him in. So it didn’t occur to me who he was until much later in the film. Up until then I thought it was just a Logan Marshall-Green vs Tom Hardy situation.
Our band of jolly soldiers is flying over France with mortar fire blasting inches from them. Think the opening sequence to Saving Private Ryan but in the air.
Characters I thought we’d be following get blown apart as machinegun fire rips through the plane, forcing everyone to jump early.
The group gets separated after Boyce finds himself falling into a lake. His fellow soldiers however didn’t land so successfully, as a lot of them were impaled on to trees.
Making the landing was Ford, Tibbet, Chase and Dawson who has been journaling his adventures to be written into a book after the war… and Dawson just stepped on a landmine, turning into chunks. Oh well, so much for that book I guess.
While roaming around in the forest, trying to avoid the Nazi soldiers hunting them, they run into Chloe, a local villager. She leads them back to her home, but Nazis have surrounded the streets, arresting anyone out on curfew. She’s caught but since she has a “special” relationship with the commander in charge, the evil Wafner, she is let go.
The Nazis have this small village completely under their control. They’ve been taking villagers from their homes and forcing them to the church, the same church they have the radio tower our GI’s have been sent to blow up.
Ford and the others take shelter in Chloe’s home, where she has a sick auntie and a younger brother who just wants to play baseball with someone, anyone, please toss this poor kid the ball!
Tibbet and Chase go off to check on the church, Boyce is later sent to join them but gets chased after by a Nazi dog. Damn Nazis, even their dogs are evil.
Boyce manages to hitch a ride in the back of a passing truck carrying a whole slew of corpses. The truck drives him past the heavily guarded gate to the back of the church where the bodies are being dumped. Boyce slips out unnoticed, but still trapped.
He ventures deeper into the underground facility of the church, which by the way, must be one really screwed up church to begin with to have all this under it.
That’s when Boyce runs into the experiments the Nazis have been conducting. Reanimating the dead! A thousand year soldiers for the thousand year Reich.
He runs into a woman with just a head, pleading for help and a bunch of other horrors. Also down there is Rosenfeld, a fellow soldier, still alive and hooked up to their machines.
Boyce and Rosenfeld find a way out through the sewer system, making it back to Chloe’s house.
They managed to kidnap the Nazi captain Wafner, who came over to fulfill Chloe’s part of the deal of not taking her and her brother to the church. Sex. But the only thing instore for him tonight is getting beaten half to death by Ford with a sack put over his head.
When Boyce and Rosenfeld make it back to Chloe’s house, they interrogate Wafner, trying to get him to spill the beans about what exactly is going on in that church.
He stays pretty tight lipped, but their mission isn’t to discover what they’re doing in the lab, but to take down that radio tower. They get back to their plan to blow up the church, using Wafner as a decoy. But as they try to move him, he overpowers Fitz… I mean, Chase, the photographer.
Wafner wrestles Chase’s gun away from him, shooting him in the chest. But Boyce still has that serum he stole from the Nazi underground lab.
He plunges the syringe into his chest Pulp Fiction style, bringing Chase back to life. But quickly things go wrong as he starts to go a bit out of control. The only way to put him down is to crush his head, which Boyce is forced to do.
Amongst all the chaos, Wafner escapes by using Chloe’s little brother as a human shield. Once outside, he flags down a few fellow Nazi soldiers who quickly open fire on the house, leading to a really cool shootout.
The film is now in full action mode from here on out. The ticking clock is running out, they need to blow up the radio tower, but they can’t with Chloe’s little brother inside. They change their plan, Chloe and Boyce find Paul, her little brother, while Ford our demo expert sets the charges inside the radio room.
Tibbet and Rosenfeld are assigned with the task of causing a distraction outside.
As Chloe ventures off to find Paul, Boyce has a run in with the mad Nazi scientist behind all these experiments. Boyce is once again forced to kill, stabbing the doctor with a scalpel.
Wafner, on the other hand, has been going through some changes. He injected himself with the serum after getting half his face shot off, now he’s an unstoppable super soldier.
Running out of time with no more options, Ford injects himself with some zombie juice, fighting Wafner off long enough for Boyce to get the upper hand, blowing him up and knocking him down a shallow well.
Needing to manually set the bombs off, Ford stays behind to sacrifice himself.
For a movie like this, I didn’t expect much of a happy ending, as most of everyone we’ve come to know, make it out of this mostly unharmed. Tibbet gets shot in the back, but leaves with no more than a scratch.
Chloe got chased by a zombie but put the flamethrower to him. She also got out with Paul her little brother safely as well. The only one who didn’t make it out of all of this was Chloe’s auntie, who the Nazi’s gunned down.
Since J.J Abrams and Bad Robot were attached to this, there were rumors this was somehow connected to the Cloverfield universe. They didn’t deny the rumors, so I was fully expecting at the end for some connection. Like a throwaway line like, yeah, we’re being assigned to Project Cloverfield or something like that.
But I prefer it not to pull a Split, I like that it’s just this really cool movie that isn’t connected to anything. It’s just its own thing with a cast of pretty unknowns.
I also enjoyed that they didn’t cram a bunch of zombies down our throats. We only really get two that go on a rampage. Some might see that as a negative, but since zombies are dead as a genre, I saw it more as a positive.
The film did have some slower parts, it wasn’t nonstop action all the time. That doesn’t mean the film was boring, as something was always happening in this movie. The tension that first opening sequence delivers might be one of the best examples of how to kick your WW2 movie off.
It left me jazzed about what I’m going to see next. Others in the theater didn’t seem to agree with me as a few took this time to get up and buy more popcorn or candy.
Some of the characters I guess come off as a bit like stock characters, Tibbet like I mentioned is a bit much at first. He’s annoying and kick of a dick. But he also acts as our comic relief.
He is the one that bonds the most with Paul, Chloe’s little brother.
Ford is also kind of your typical hard ass soldier you see in movies like that, that only has one goal and will do anything to see that goal realized. But in the end makes the sacrifice to help our lead.
Speaking of lead, Boyce I also enjoyed, as he’s mostly a pacifist, refusing to even harm a mouse. We eventually see his transformation into killing machine as he takes out a zombified Chase by stomping his head until it turns into a smashed watermelon.
Chloe, I also liked, as she wasn’t too bad on the eyes but also switched from caring older sister to bad ass with the flip of a dime.
Captain Wafner also proved to be very effective as our main villain. He’s evil in all the right ways, even kidnapping a little kid to assure his escape. And I guess to later turn him into a zombie as when Chloe finds Paul, he’s on the doctor’s slab.
The film is also very nicely shot and scored, though like I mentioned earlier ends with an out of place rap song.
I give Overlord a SEE IT rating. This was a blast, it’s really worth your time to see in theaters.
Now that officially concludes this year’s Horror Month.
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