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Soldiers defend world from Nazi zombies in WWII thriller ‘Overlord’

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‘Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies: The Movie,’ with a hint Saving Private Ryan and Evil Dead. ‘Wolfenstein: The Movie’ also works as an alternative.

Directed by Julius Avery (Son of a Gun), Overlord stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, John Magaro, Iain de Caestecker, Jacob Anderson and Dominic Applewhite.

Infiltrate the Nazi-occupied church in a small French village. A group of ordinary soldiers now have a new line of responsibilities, and the first is to make sure the serum that turns the dead into the undead is destroyed along with the Nazis that protect it.

With a B-movie undertone, Overlord gets much right about what it tries to accomplish: a bloody, straight-to-the-point, World War II story about allied soldiers fighting Nazis and zombies. Best of all, it’s a fun time that won’t leave you disappointed, despite a taste for more of the undead.

The real star of Overlord is director Julius Avery’s acute sense of mystery, horror, action and drama all seamlessly blended in well-coordinated shots. With Flash Gordon announced as his next project, Avery is a name everyone should watch out for in the next coming years, especially since he can have his name next to producer J.J. Abrams in Overlord.

Avery’s direction creates dread and silly moments of gore that still feel genuine. The opening shot—something straight out of Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan—had me in a vice grip. It sets the tone for intense and all-out war that the American soldiers are being thrown into. When it’s found out that the dead are being revived as super zombie mutant things, the tone still has a dark and loud undertone, but now with a science fiction twist.

I find it hard to believe that even with the overpowered undead, I could still make myself believe that Nazi zombies were a real thing, for the sake of the film.

This is where the genius of Overlord lies. One of the worst forms of people that ever lived were Nazis. We see them on screen already as scumbags and villainous. Now, when the Nazis are in control of innocent people and performing insane experiments on them, they are extra terrible.

The B-movie aesthetics works here because audiences want to see these Nazis die or, at the very least, see them get hurt in over-the-top and murderous ways. A head exploding, for example, is one of the tamest ways a Nazi soldier dies in Overlord. Let that sink in.

I repeat the word ‘zombies,’ but for all the zombie galore that 28 Days Later, Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead has given audiences, Overlord was a bit underwhelming in just how many zombies appeared. It was more of an interlude to an army of zombies that would have been raised to fight in WWII.

In the end, the positives outweigh the minimal number of negatives; blood and sweat over tears.

Overlord is plenty of fun. In fact, it was one of my most-anticipated films this year. Slapping J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Production company made it all the more mysterious. Nobody was sure if it was going to be another Cloverfield film or something in that vain. Thankfully, after the train wreck this year that was Cloverfield Paradox, Bad Robot decided to take a break from the question-filled franchise.

Overlord is not set in the Cloverfield universe. It is totally separate.

With that separate distinction, possibilities were endless. Overlord took that opportunity to create a neatly wrapped and simplistic story of a WWII mission and made one of the most entertaining and gruesome movies this year.

Overlord

9.3

Hits
  • Bloody, exhilarating and heart-pounding fun
  • Julius Avery's unique direction for an upgraded B-movie
  • Thrilling and dramatic scenes between soldiers blend well
Misses
  • No zombie army of epic proportions

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