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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Overlord

November 6th, 2018 by Andrew Comments

Overlord (18)
Directed by: Julius Avery
Starring: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Pilou Asbæk, John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker
Running time: 1hr 49mins

Set During World War II hours before the D-Day attack, a chaotic air-drop leaves a handful of allied soldiers outnumbered and stuck in a Nazi occupied village. Will they be able to achieve their objective and destroy an installation vital to the impending attacks, and are they prepared for the horrors they will find within its bunker?

Overlord is the new movie from director Julius Avery and producer JJ Abrams and, while I would normally go out of my way to avoid spoiling a movie, I’m going to have to mention a couple of things right out of the gate to firstly confirm what it isn’t while also confirming what it is.

Firstly, it is NOT a Cloverfield movie – it has NO connections with that franchise (I’ll probably be proven wrong by some easter egg down the line), there are no Cloverfield monsters or paradoxes or bunkers… wait, scratch that last one. But it just isn’t. Secondly, and as I said I hate spoiling anything, but unless you’re going to go into this having seen no promotional material at all, it’s almost unavoidable to discuss the movie without mentioning the Z word.

The movie marks a departure from most of Abrams’ previous productions in that it is certainly not a family movie and is full gore and violence. In fact the persons whose work I would reference to more accurately describe WHAT it is would be Quentin Tarentino and Robert Rodriguez, particularly From Dusk ‘Till Dawn, only instead of Vampires, here we have Zombies.

Only we don’t… exactly.

Yes, there is a complete ‘WTF did that come from?’ Tonal shift to this movie, but unfortunately while it gets a lot right with the tone and pacing of its WWII establishing first half, it can’t quite seem to carry over to its second half. It does try, and has some nice attempts at gory moments intended to shock, but then that sense of patience quickly disappears and it becomes distracted by conventional tropes of a zombie horror movie only here’s the thing: it doesn’t really have much in the way of actual zombies.

If you think back to director Ridley Scott’s Alien, there is a sense of suspense and terror that continues throughout even after we have seen the alien. Here as so often happens, once we see the monsters the movie doesn’t seem so interested in keeping that suspense and tension going, rather the opposite and throwing them in our faces, to rapidly lessening effect.

The writing of the script also begins to fail at this point, throwing in expositional dialogue by a villain towards the end that we didn’t need or want, as if it begins to realise its failings and is desperately trying to keep us interested. It also seems more interested at times in homages to other movies – Jaws, Alien, and John Carpenter’s The Thing to name a few, all of which are handled well but glaringly obvious distractions when the movie should have been doing its own thing.

There is fun to be had, with some excellent camera work throughout (a single take sequence towards the end deserves special mention), but it’s a shame that the movie loses this focus in other areas as it goes into its final act, had it not done so it may have earned a higher rating.

3 out of 5 nerds

Co-host of the Monday Movie Show, Andrew is a huge movie fan who is into all sorts of things movie related, as well as a fan of all things nerd. In his spare time he likes to work at script writing, that is when he's not spending it on something movie or nerd related!