Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Jovan Adepo (MOTHER!  and FENCES ), Wyatt Russell (INGRID GOES WEST , EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! , and the upcoming THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW ), Mathilde Ollivier (stuff I’ve either never heard of or seen, and upcoming films THE PLEASURE OF YOUR PATIENCE  and BOSS LEVEL ), Polou Asbæk (GHOST IN THE SHELL , BEN-HUR , and the upcoming PROJECT X-TRACTION ), and John Magaro (MARSHALL , FINEST HOURS , CAROL , and UNBROKEN ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Julius Avery, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. Co-writing the screenplay, we have Billy Ray (SECRET IN THEIR EYES , and upcoming films TERMINATOR  and GEMINI MAN ) and Mark L. Smith (THE REVENANT ). One of the producers is J.J. Abrams, known for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (2018), ROGUE NATION (2015), and GHOST PROTOCOL (2011), STAR WARS VIII (2017), 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016), CLOVERFIELD (2008), and the upcoming STAR WARS EPISODE IX (2019). Composing the score is Jed Kurzel, known for ALIEN: COVENANT (2017), and the upcoming MUSTANG (2019). Co-cinematographers are Laurie Rose (JOURNEY’S END , FREE FIRE , and upcoming films SUMMERLAND  and STAN & OLLIE ) and Fabian Wagner (JUSTICE LEAGUE  and VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN ). Finally, the editor is Matt Evans, known for CLOVERFIELD PARADOX (2018).
Already saw the movie… two fold, actually. I saw this movie about a year ago during an early screening before the movie was finished. Now I get to see the final product. Joy bunnies.
This is my honest opinion of: OVERLORD
Set during World War II, circa 1945. On the eve of Operation Overlord, a small band of soldiers, lead by Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) are dispatched to locate and destroy a German radio tower set up in a close by French church. However, what was supposed to be a by-the-numbers mission becomes complicated when Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) saves local french girl Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) from a sexual assault by German officer Wafner (Pilou Asbæk). Inadvertently doing some recon, Boyce finds himself infiltrating the church and discovers a serum that seems to be keeping people from dying, or bringing them back to life from death with violent and uncontrollable results.
It still holds up, y’all. It’s a pretty good movie. I don’t know if it’s one of the great horror movies of the year, but I like it.
Before I get to it, this movie is not related to the Cloverfield franchise. The movie was shrouded in mystery, and I think early promotion suggested that it might be, or the Cloverfield fanbase assumed that anything produced by J.J. Abrams would be linked to Cloverfield in some way, but that’s not the case anymore. This is simply a stand-alone World War II horror movie, as confirmed by the filmmakers themselves. With that out of the way, let’s proceed.
It should probably be made clear that the horror aspects don’t really take the spotlight until much later in the film. For most of it, it’s a drama with a dark and disturbing edge to it. The opening scene is a parachuting scene. Very well done and intense; cool beans. The rest is basically Boyce having a crush on Chloe and getting the rest of the squad in hot water. Okay, it’s not that bad, or even a truly accurate description of this section of the story, but… yeah, nothing horror-related. Just… asshole Nazi trying to force himself on an innocent French girl. Hardly something out of a horror movie. Just a dark and gritty drama.
But as soon as Boyce enters that church and discovers what the Nazis are doing, the movie takes a sharp turn for the better. You see a woman whose head is removed, still attached to the spine, propped up by hooks, and she ain’t dead! People in sacks that look like they’re made of skin trying to get out, it’s bizarre shit that’s too cool to see. And just when you think that’s the only crap that the movie gives us, we get another involving the horrible physical mutilation of a soldier who only gets stronger and more aggressive. It’s freaky stuff and once we go back into the church, the movie gets at its best.
The best thing that I can possibly say about the movie is that it’s structured extremely well and keeps you interested all the way through. The movie never lets you forget that these soldiers are here for a reason and that reason will ultimately take them back to the church where the fucked up shit was happening. Couple that with a deranged Nazi officer who only gets worse as the climax approaches, then you’ve got one awesome third act.
I appreciated that the hinted-at romance between Boyce and Chloe doesn’t get leaned on. Any lesser film would have had the two hook up at the end, but there’s two reasons why that wouldn’t work. For one thing, it’s a trope… of any movie. Believe it or not, just because a heterosexual male and a heterosexual female (presumably) are on screen together doesn’t mean they need to have a romance. If it serves the narrative, then that’s obviously okay, but quite honestly, it’s probably more fascinating to see heterosexuals keep things at arms length for once. Also, Chloe is something of a victim of sexual assault. Wafner has clearly had his way with her before, so I’m just calling it, no woman would be thinking about a romantic connection after that, so a romance between Boyce and Chloe would have been highly inappropriate. I’m grateful for the restraint and they two characters are otherwise cool with each other.
Other great aspects include a great performance by Wyatt Russell, the movie as a whole is filmed very well with long takes, mostly practical effects, some solid tense moments, and even the comedy lightened the mood from time to time.
Now I won’t lie, there are a couple of flaws with the movie. As is typical with the horror genre, it has its share of tropes. “Why would you do that?!” moments that make otherwise smart and resourceful characters seem dumb, which is always a bummer to see in mostly good horror films. Also, I feel like despite everything that this movie did right, it’s still kind of forgettable. As cool as the messed up crap is in the church, there’s not exactly more of it, or works its way into the story more frequently in any memorable way. It’s not like World War II horror films are made all that often, but I don’t think this is going to plant itself as the new standard.
Overall, I think the movie is still pretty good. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely one of the better horror films to come out of this year, and is certainly one of the better ones in recent years. I just wish it had a little more going for it to give it more impact. Still, as a recommendation, I think it’s worth seeing if you’re a horror fan. It’s worth a matinee screening, or any discount day. At least that’s my two cents.
My honest rating for OVERLORD: 4/5
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