Overlord Lives Up To Its Title
Still stuck inside and not sure what you should be watching? Well do I have a unique film for you! The idea of fighting Nazi's is not a new concept for a movie, considering the terror and death that followed the Third Reich in the 1940's.
Even the idea of fighting Nazi's who also happen to be zombies and are quite powerful and almost unkillable is not a unique idea, with movies like Dead Sno being cult horror favourites.
But the 2018 JJ Abrams' made horror war movie Overlord takes these ideas and makes the horror real, and does a damn good job at it!
Set on the eve of D-Day in 1944, Overlord follows a group of American paratroopers who are dropped into Germany occupied France to carry out a mission to destroy a radio tower that the Third Reich uses for communication between Berlin and the Normandy beaches. The paratroopers, with the movie namely following a drafted African American named Ed Boyce, land and attempt to complete their mission but Boyce ends up behind enemy lines at the radio tower. There he discovers that the Nazi's have been conducting experiments on the dead bodies of the French villagers, re-animating their corpses to empower a victory for Hitler. As the paratroopers set out to not only complete their mission, save the villagers, and destroy the experiments, but face up against one of the most sinister and violent Nazi corporals who has ingested the experiment, becoming more monster than man.
I am sure for history buffs this movie may not rank highly due to historical inaccuracies, and I did find it slightly annoying to be following American paratroopers rather than European ones in this particular film, but JJ Abrams has managed to turn what is already a truly horrific experience in human history into one well-designed film. From the very start, you are absolutely captivated by the cinematography, with planes being shot down and flames licking the solders boots as they attempt their drops into enemy territory. Following Ed Boyce as he descends into the sky upside down, flames bursting all around him, was one of the most amazing feats of cinematography I have ever witnessed and it sets the movie off to an exciting start.
More horrors of war than horror film, Overlord succeeds in making you horrified, especially as the French villager Chloe, who helps the American paratroopers in their mission, is introduced as a character who is being forced to perform sexual acts on the villain of the movie Captain Wafner. Clearly raping her - both in the past and looking to do so in the present - really adds to the horrific nature of the film and the perils of war at the time. When the American paratroopers save Chloe and Captain Wafner turns his anger to them instead, this is when the aspect of zombies is really revealed.
The zombies are failed experiments - and honestly probably very likely to have occurred as the Nazi's were well known to have been conducting cruel experiments at the time of the war, looking for any sort of edge in order to bring on the Third Reich's thousand year reign. This included studying all sorts of terrifying and dark sciences and alchemy, including demonology, mechanics, poisons and other such dark studies. The reality of the high possibility of these experiments is what builds on the horror of the film. But the zombies aren't usual rotting flesh from The Walking Dead, they really are just reanimated corpses that tend to explode in their veins. We see flashes of a talking head, crying out in pain, as its spine spirals down into the air, and a paratrooper - very much alive - lying on a gurney with a giant hole through his abdomen. It's horrifying, and its improbably likely.
Overlord is gory - I mean, it IS a zombie horror film - but not in a way that is overly excessive. It's the right kind of meld of reality and horror, and is a masterpiece of a film that definitely needs to be more widely seen. If you're looking for an honest-to-God good film, don't go past Overlord.
Trivia: This film does not contain any symbols of the swastika, despite the World War 2 setting.