If ever proof were required that I am, in essence, a shallow human being it could be found in my preference for this war horror flick over the previous entry, the meditative account of Neil Armstrong. It’s just something I accept, I’m a Nazi zombies kinda guy.
Overlord kicks off with a Private Ryanesque opening 10 mins or so as the platoon parachute behind enemy lines in order to knock out a control tower on D-Day. The plot centres on sensitive private Boyce (we know he’s sensitive because he didn’t want to kill a mouse). Needless to say the drop does not go well, and soon there is just Boyce, the hardened Corporal Ford and a couple of US army stereotypes left to complete the mission (nerdy journalist and tough street wise Italian).
Their mission to take out a communication beacon on a church tower, is abetted by a further stereotype, the plucky French mademoiselle. They soon discern that the Nazis have more going on in the compound than radio signals, and have been experimenting on the local french village population.
It plays out fairly predictably from here, but enjoyably so. Director Julius Avery plays it straight as a war movie, a kind of Guns of Zombie Navarone. It steers clear of comedy grand guignol, which worked to such good effect in Dead Snow, but has elements of Reanimator and Frankenstein’s Army in some of the gore, so it’s not for the squeamish. It is primarily a decent war movie with some horror topping and the particular mix of ingredients is effective.
It has nothing grand or intelligent to say, beyond “Nazis are evil”. Of course there are echoes of the actual experiments Nazis conducted but it wisely avoids any explicit and exploitative link to these. I couldn’t recommend it as a must see, but war-horror is an under-explored genre, and this was a worthy addition.