Well, this one was interesting. Overlord (2018) is a mixture of several genres (war, action, fantasy, horror) wrapped into one mentally unstable movie. The film is about a group of American military paratroopers sent to France on the eve of D-Day. This small task force is charged with a crucial mission: take out a Nazi radio transmitter behind the walls of a fortified church. They cannot fail. The success of the D-Day invasion relies on them.
The action/war-horror starts right from the get-go as the men take on heavy fire near their drop zone. This heart-pounding scene is white knuckle and feels eerily realistic. Our main protagonist, Boyce (Jovan Adepo) manages to get out and plummets from the fiery plane into shallow water. He then starts searching for the rest of his team, most of whom are already dead. Fortunately, Boyce is able to reunite with the few remaining troops to continue the mission. As they trudge through the forest, the men come across a strange dead creature. This is the first foreshadowing of what lies ahead for them.
Boyce doesn’t come across as your typical soldier type. He’s thoughtful, sensitive, and hesitant to kill. I can relate to Boyce because I think I’d be the same way in that situation; you want to do your job but you’re also not sure not if you’re emotionally prepared for what it will bring – and BOY does it bring the characters in Overlord some surprises.
As Boyce and the other soldiers navigate towards their desired coordinates, they find themselves sidetracked in an occupied French village. There, they are forced to hide in a young woman’s home. Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) lives in the home with her 8 year old brother and sick Aunt. What her Aunt is “sick” with, we don’t quite know, but we’ll soon find out.
After Boyce gets a first hand look at this “sickness”, and after a series of events that intertwines the squad further into the problem, it soon becomes apparent that the Nazis are experimenting on the villagers. Their goal? Figure out how to make unstoppable super soldiers. (Hint: it’s not going well for them so far…). What’s heartwrenching about this aspect of the plot is knowing that the Nazis actually did experiment on people during WWII. But, Overlord takes that historical reality and weaves it into a reimagined fiction/horror.
Boyce, although less willing to kill than his teammates, is vocal about the importance of helping these people, especially since the disgusting Nazi captain/villain Wafner (Pilou Asbaek) kidnapped Chloe’s brother. The more traditional soldier-type and designated group leader, Ford (Wyatt Russell), disagrees with Boyce and wants to focus on the mission, so Boyce and the rest of the group must stand strong to convince him. Now the team must race to save the child, take down the sinister operation, and still complete their original mission to destroy the radio transmitter. It won’t be easy with mutant-zombie super soldiers trying to murder them, but they’re going to give it all they’ve got.
This movie found me cycling through bouts of gripping the couch, furrowing my eyebrows, and cringing in disgust at meat hooks. However, even as a gore hater, I found the violence “tolerable” as it pertained to the story. To be honest, I’m still digesting Overlord. It’s got something really edgy and interesting, but I also feel like it’s missing something I can’t put my finger on. For now, I’ll just work on exorcising this image from my unconscious.