In­san­ity in check

Loud, grue­some WW2 hor­ror-ac­tioner won’t win any prizes for ei­ther sub­tlety or brazen­ness, but does its job de­cently enough.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - Re­view by DAVIN ARUL en­ter­tain­ment@thes­


Di­rec­tor: Julius Avery

Cast: Jo­van Adepo, Wy­att Russell, Mathilde Oliver, Pilou As­bek, John Ma­garo, Iain De Caestecker, Bo­keem Wood­bine

RARELY has a film seemed so de­ter­mined to blow out its au­di­ence’s eardrums than this re­ally, re­ally loud World War II ac­tion/ hor­ror opus.

Every punch is a sledge­ham­mer striking a frozen side of beef, every gun­shot the roar of a can­non in DTS 5.1 Sur­round or what­ever your hall hap­pens to be equipped with.

It is also a film full of striking vi­su­als and sphinc­ter-con­strict­ing sus­pense, but the lat­ter is not al­ways served well by its pun­ish­ing sound­track.

I sus­pect, how­ever, that the main in­ten­tion of the din is to dis­tract us from pay­ing too much at­ten­tion to the clichés from both the war and hor­ror gen­res that pop­u­late the film to the point of Soy­lent Green-level over­crowd­ing.

Yet it is also di­rec­tor Julius Avery’s deft jug­gling of th­ese clichés, as well as sit­u­a­tions and con­cepts with which any sel­f­re­spect­ing fan of ei­ther genre would be thor­oughly fa­mil­iar, that makes Over­lord an en­er­getic mash-up ca­pa­ble of keeping us riv­eted and in­vested for its 100plus min­utes.

Set hours be­fore the D-Day land­ings on June 6, 1944, the film takes its hand­ful of heroes di­rectly from a Call Of Duty-like video game pro­logue (a re­ally well done and im­mer­sive se­quence, it must be said) right into their worst night­mare.

Not only do ex­plo­sives ex­pert Ford (Wy­att Russell), lost-puppy pri­vate Boyce (Jo­van Adepo) and their com­rades have to pull off their des­ig­nated mis­sion in a French vil­lage, they also have to con­tend with some hor­ri­fy­ing hu­man ex­per­i­ments be­ing con­ducted there by Nazi sci­en­tists.

It doesn’t help that their only source of lo­cal aid, Chloe (Mathilde Oliver), is the re­luc­tant squeeze of lo­cal Ger­man com­man­dant Wafner (Pilou As­bek – yikes, as if the Yanks didn’t have enough trou­ble, now they need to deal with Euron Greyjoy too).

Still, what’s one more ruth­less car­i­ca­ture when they’ve come this far al­ready, eh?

With much of its con­tent al­ready fa­mil­iar to us, Over­lord then needs to rely on its hor­rorthemed as­pects to sur­prise us.

And in­deed, th­ese are down­right un­set­tling – among them, a dis­em­bod­ied head that con­tin­ues to talk – while one “re­ju­ve­na­tion” scene set in an at­tic is memorable for the roughly equal parts hys­te­ria and re­vul­sion that it gen­er­ates.

Add to th­ese some star­tling gore ef­fects, and the body-hor­ror el­e­ments of Over­lord re­ally do out­shine its other as­pects.

The trou­ble is that there re­ally aren’t enough of them, and af­ter the above-men­tioned at­tic scene, the tempo doesn’t re­ally rise fur­ther.

Even the heroes’ de­scent into the sub­ter­ranean site of the ex­per­i­ments seems a bit too laid-back for us to feel any great sense of peril for the good guys (OK, ex­cept for the fella who gets stuck on the meat hook, I guess).

It’s like the film­mak­ers were happy to open the door to in­san­ity but for some rea­son seemed re­luc­tant to take things to the in­sane lev­els of those, uhm, beloved ex­ploita­tion flicks that so clearly in­spired it.

— Pho­tos: UIP Malaysia

Chloe’s un­con­ven­tional pest con­trol meth­ods saw her com­pany turn a profit in record time.

Boyce was not thrilled to be the one who had to fig­ure out how the new cof­fee ma­chine worked.

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