Runtime: 110 minutes
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Overlord is the kind of film that shouldn’t work: A group of soldiers battling Nazi zombies behind enemy lines on D-Day sounds ridiculous, and it is, but director Julius Avery elevates it to become so much more. The movie knows exactly what it is and it’s not afraid to lean into it, but it’s also not afraid to take its time or treat the subject matter with a sense of gravity. The actors all do a great job with this and by the end of the film feel like thoroughly fleshed out, complex characters with standout performances from Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell and Mathilde Ollivier.
Another positive note with this film is its delivery of over the top gore. It’s the kind of gore that feels like it belongs here and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Overlord is about war after-all, and once you mix zombies into it you have a recipe for some good ol’ American violence. The movie also looked absolutely beautiful. The WWII era sets and costumes were all fantastic and the sound design made the impact of the horror leave an impression. The cinematography, however, was the highlight of the movie. Cinematographers Laurie Rose and Fabian Wagner made this movie absolutely beautiful and their use of vibrant color was exquisite. The film had its share of stock war film colors: the brown of dirt, the grey of the sky, the muted green of trees. Standing out from this expected color pallet were a smattering of reds, oranges, yellows, and even blues that the director used to infuse this film with its own distinct personality. Certain scenes were strikingly beautiful, even considering the dark subject matter they were steeped in.
Some of the intentional emotional moments don’t quite land due to the overall insanity of the plot. Like I mentioned before, it’s a ridiculous premise with small moments of earnestness, but sometimes it tries to be a little too serious and it doesn’t work. The final confrontation could have been fleshed out (pardon the pun) a bit more but sadly it ends up becoming somewhat boring, even redundant.
Overlord is a B movie with a big Hollywood budget made by a passionate, talented team of people. It’s a fun, insane, bloody good time and even though not all of the sincerity lands as well as the filmmakers wanted it to, it’s still a violent blast that’s as beautiful as it is bloody.
Final Grade: B
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