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Overlord – Review

Overlord Review

The Nazis are working on something stronger than coffee.

In 1944 a division of paratroopers, including a new private (Jovan Adepo, Fences) and a corporal with explosives expertise (Wyatt Russell, 22 Jump Street), is tasked with dropping behind Nazi lines and detonating a communications tower in an occupied French village. But after a disastrous jump the survivors find themselves pinned in the house of a local woman (Mathilde Ollivier) and discover that beneath the tower are horrific human experiments, to create soldiers for the “1000 year Reich”…

Overlord lifts a lot from the Wolfenstein game series (particularly 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein), from concept to aesthetic, but damn if it isn’t a great Wolfenstein movie. Indeed without the horror, this would actually be a very good war film (it’s about 30 minutes before anything fantastical emerges). It has the scale, palpable sense of danger, camaraderie, satisfying/brutal gunplay, etc. The opening plane drop is the most intense aerial sequence I’ve seen in a war film and tension remains near constant to the end.

When the mutated soldiers eventually emerge the fx are disturbing and effective because they don’t get too carried away – there’s no hulking monster climbing on the ceilings. The science behind the experiments is never explained, but that’s for the better. Also despite it being about Nazi experiments, the story doesn’t get the cast stuck in the lab and tunnels. These are all smart decisions. It’s a J.J. Abrams production but the rumoured Cloverfield connection does not appear, thank goodness. The protagonists are probably the noisiest, shout-iest infiltrators of all time, but there you go.

Genre fans have the added entertainment value of watching Wyatt (son of Kurt) Russell knowingly follow his father’s footsteps into gory horror. He increasingly channels his father’s Thing performance as Overlord moves into the final act, even stopping for a re-delivery of its most famous line.

In summary, there isn’t a better horror film set during World War Two.

Grade: A-

Overlord is out in the UK today, US on Friday.

See Where It Ranks In Our: 25 Best Horror Movies Of 2018

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