Inside J.J. Abrams’ ‘Overlord’: A Bonkers Horror Movie With Bloodthirsty Nazi Zombies
The thrill of most zombie B-movies stems from a certain rough-around-the-edges outrageousness—the ballsiness, humor and creativity that come with having to make the most of a limited budget. Overlord, produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions (its first R-rated release), seems poised to fit that bill: it’s a World War II flick that slowly mutates into a gruesome battle against Nazi undead. It’s a mashup movie—part video game, part body horror, part sci-fi Inglorious Basterds. Sometimes, it’s as fun as that sounds. Yet the sum of its Frankenstein’s Army-like parts rarely add up to originality. It’s too blandly conventional a war movie to be emotionally affecting, too polished to nail the viscerally bloody scares it aims for.
Really, it’s disappointing only because the film—solidly acted by a young cast of rising stars and more-than-capably directed by second-time filmmaker Julius Avery, who’ll tackle Fox’s Flash Gordon next—constantly seems to promise more: some great splattery catharsis or a clever twist on the tropes Overlord so comfortably relies on. (By the end, I’d have settled for a giant claw monster signaling we’re in the Cloverfield universe, as once was rumored, just for one real unexpected story beat.)
We follow a company of the 101st Airborne Division as they deploy over rural France in the hopes of blowing up a Nazi radio tower. Few make it to the ground, but our POV character, Boyce (Jovan Adepo), reunites with four fellow survivors, quickly reduced to three. Each fits a worn archetype: there’s prickly tough-guy leader Ford (Wyatt Russell, Kurt’s son), shy, quiet photographer Chase (Iain De Caestecker), and smartass with a heart of gold Tibbet (John Magaro).
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Author: By firstname.lastname@example.org (Melissa Leon)