Fusing the scorched visuals of Full Metal Jacket with the body horror of The Thing, this solid B-flick is a gory diversion that thrills in the watching, but is ultimately rather forgettable.
Still, it opens with a bravura sequence aboard a transport plane, which is shot down over France during World War II. Director Julius Avery bolsters long, jittery takes that put us right in the action alongside sensitive Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and no-nonsense Sergeant Ford (Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt). It’s a nail-shredder of a scene that Avery struggles to match for impact elsewhere.
When Boyce, Ford and their surviving comrades (including Iain De Caestecker) land in an apocalyptic village, they attempt to complete their mission of taking out a radio tower, while uncovering disturbing experiments led by Nazi Dr Wafner (Pilou Asbaek). Plus there’s villager Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) to worry about – she’s taking care of her young brother while her afflicted aunt (Meg Foster) suffers behind a closed door upstairs.
Favouring a slow burn that endears us to its characters, but fails to deliver more than generic monster movie twists, Overlord is a fun, brutal exercise in genremashing. There’s a comic book vibe to the underground Nazi lair, and Adepo and Russell make for charismatic heroes it’s impossible not to root for. Meanwhile, producer JJ Abrams’s presence is felt in the seamless synthesis of prosthetic effects and CGI, which gifts Caestecker the film’s most comically nasty moment. Solid sci-fi, then, but it rarely breaks new ground. Josh Winning
It fails to deliver more than generic twists
We don’t think that’s a puppy or a kitten in there.