Overlord offers a daft good time
Overlord (R16, 109 mins) Directed by Julius Avery Reviewed by Graeme Tuckett★★★1⁄2
Itruly have the best job in the world. Ten minutes after having my head turned inside out by the excesses and madnesses of Suspiria, I got to sit down and just flat-out enjoy the daft good time that is Overlord.
You can picture the pitch meeting. An up-and-coming young director (Son of a Gun’s Julius Avery) walks into the office of super-producer JJ Abrams (Cloverfield, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and says ‘‘Nazi Zombies!’’ The deal is done.
Overlord really is that simple. There’s a ludicrous but stylish opening, featuring a disastrous D-Day for a squad of American paratroopers. We know, from the brief tract of expository dialogue before they are shot out of the sky, that their mission is to destroy a radio-jamming tower in a French village behind German lines.
Once on the ground, the four remaining squaddies are still committed to their task. We are told the entire invasion fleet is relying on them.
Arriving at said village, they encounter the requisite feisty young woman all French villages in war movies must have, and then the equally essential sadistic Nazi commander to represent the forces that must be overcome.
At this point, Overlord is nothing more than a Pak’nSave Saving Private Ryan, with Avery wringing an admirable amount of action and thrills out of his limited resources.
Soon enough though, we glean there is a lot more going on in the old church on the hill than just radio-jamming, and that some despicable Nazi scientist is working on a serum that can literally bring the dead back to life, irrespective of what bits of them have been blown off or punctured. By the time our heroes have penetrated the evil den it’s all on for young and old.
Overlord is a proudly stupid and utterly disposable film. It never quite reaches Re-Animator levels of greatness and the debt owed to Dead Snow (and also Captain America: The First Avenger) needs to be acknowledged. But I laughed and hooted with the rest of the crowd for pretty much the entire last hour. You probably will too.
Director Julius Avery wrings an admirable amount of action and thrills out of his limited resources.