The brains of the oper­a­tion

Nazi-fight­ing film filled with blood, sweat and zom­bies

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Chris Knight ck­night@post­media.com twit­ter.com/chrisknight­film

Just a few months ago saw the re­lease of Trench 11, a Cana­dian hor­ror film that fea­tured al­lied sol­diers near the end of the First World War in­ves­ti­gat­ing ne­far­i­ous, zom­bie-es­que go­ings-on in an un­der­ground Ger­man bunker. Well, here’s the se­quel of sorts, one World War later, with a few mil­lion more in the pro­duc­tion bud­get.

The open­ing min­utes are a real sturm und drang af­fair (if that’s not be­ing in­sen­si­tive), with a U.s. air­borne unit fly­ing over the english Chan­nel and parachut­ing down in ad­vance of the d -day land­ings in oc­cu­pied France. as first scenes go, it’s the sav­ing Pri­vate ryan of zom­bie movies.

Among the squad are an ev­ery­man named boyce (Jo­van Adepo), ex­plo­sives ex­pert Ford (Wy­att rus­sell) and brook­lyn wiseacre Tib­bet (John ma­garo), plus a few more. sep­a­rated from the rest of their unit — most of whom don’t make it — they come upon Chloe (mathilde ol­livier), who lives in the nearby town with her lit­tle brother; nei­ther fancies the Nazis.

di­rec­tor Julius av­ery, work­ing from a screen­play by billy ray (Cap­tain Phillips) and mark l. smith (The revenant) — and, it’s worth not­ing, un­der the aus­pices of sci-fi pro­ducer ex­traor­di­naire J.J. abrams — crafts an en­ter­tain­ing men-on-a-mis­sion story, com­plete with a men­gele-wannabe doc­tor (erich red­man) and a nasty Nazi com­man­der (den­mark’s Pilou as­baek) who at one point gets to snarl: “The thou­sand-year re­ich needs thou­sandyear sol­diers!”

mind you, the su­per­nat­u­ral el­e­ments are some­what down­played, es­pe­cially in the early go­ing. The sol­diers’ orig­i­nal mis­sion is to de­stroy a ra­dio tower that could help the Nazis when the real fight­ing starts; only grad­u­ally do they be­come aware that the church that houses that equip­ment also has some­thing un­holy hap­pen­ing in its lower lev­els. af­ter a re­cent screen­ing of over­lord at Toronto’s af­ter dark Film Fes­ti­val, cin­ema­go­ers could be heard com­plain­ing that it could have been more “zom­bie-y.”

The up­side of this is that we have time enough to get to know the in­di­vid­ual sol­diers as more than mere car­i­ca­tures, and thus to

care about them too. Par­tic­u­larly fun is the repar­tee be­tween the sharp-tongued Tib­bett and Paul (Gianny Taufer), Chloe’s lit­tle brother, who has a habit of wan­der­ing into the room at pre­cisely the right jump-scare mo­ment.

and be­tween the pros­thet­ics and makeup and what must have been a mas­sive bud­get for ex­plo­sions, over­lord of­fers many grue­some plea­sures. and about time, i say. Zom­bies have been cin­e­matic fod­der since vic­tor halperin’s White Zom­bie in 1932. Nazis as movie vil­lains came soon af­ter, with Char­lie Chap­lin’s The Great dic­ta­tor in 1940.

This isn’t the first time they’ve been brought to­gether — see 2009’s dead snow, 2011’s War of the dead, and some­thing from 2012 called an­gry Nazi Zom­bies. as the lat­est, over­lord an­nounces, humbly but clearly, that it has noth­ing to of­fer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. and brains.

Para­mounT PiC­Tures

Pilou As­baek plays a nasty Nazi com­man­der in Over­lord.

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