Underwhelmed is more like it.
By most standards, Overlord is a pretty cool WW II movie about a platoon of parachutists dropped behind enemy lines in occupied France. Told from the point of view of a nervous black soldier (Jovan Adepo), the squad members who don’t perish upon landing hit the ground and regroup near a small village.
Their mission is to blow up a strategic tower held by the Nazis to pave the way for the imminent Allied invasion.
The soldiers discover that the Nazis are performing weird science experiments on the local peasant community and Boyce (Adepo) pauses the mission to lend a hand.
This is all well and good, if you’re in the mood for a bracing war movie. My complaint with name producer J.J. Abrams is that Overlord underperforms as a horror movie.
While the battle sequences are reasonably compelling, we don’t get to the monster portion of the program till well past the 70-minute mark.
And to be honest, it was just okay. Fine even.
The effects, makeup and set demolition are on point, and Kommander Wafner (Pilou Asbaek) is a formidable uber-villain.
But director Julius Avery and writer Billy Ray spend far too much screen time cooped up in the attic of plucky French partisan Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), establishing the presence of Chloe’s dopey kid brother Paul (Gianny Taufer).
As we all know, this is for the sole purpose of predictably using him as a hostage bargaining chip going forward.
I wish that the brain trust behind Overlord would have allotted more time and energy to creating memorable monsters, with less concern for conventional plot devices.
The nasty Nazi hybrids that we spend the entire film waiting for, are too few and far between to mount much of a threat, and that’s my chief beef.
I recall a trailer for Overlord two years ago that blew me away, breathlessly hinting at Third Reich abominations the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen Frankenstein’s Army, and it’s a much better and weirder horror movie, along similar lines.
Despite my ire, this isn’t a negative review. Overlord is solid entertainment that promises more than it delivers, never really cashing in on the story’s monstrous potential.