The experience of Julius Avery’s Overlord is destined to appease gamers and those fascinated with the undead (from 28 Days Later to the long-running small-screen series The Walking Dead) from a historical, jingoistic stance.
Uber-producer J.J. Abrams, known for his many projects from Cloverfield to Star Trek to the latest Star Wars trilogy beginning with The Force Awakens, is major creative force behind this World War II horror spectacle. For some cineastes it may fall between Inglourious Basterds and the Saw franchise perhaps fueled by imagination evidenced in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and on many a comic book page, say, featuring Captain America.
German-occupied France on the eve of D-Day is the setting with unseasoned Allies airborne platoon member Boyce (Jovan Adepo) as well as those played by Iain De Caestecker, John Magaro (the witty one), and Wyatt Russell (its superior) entering the hostile territory.
The taut, stunning outset impels the soldiers to prematurely use their chutes when their plane is under fire with few survivors. Just outside of Normandy is the German radio tower which must be eradicated. But their mission is more complicated when learning of a creepy, classified operation occurring beneath it in an old basilica requiring a furtive attack. Brutes are being produced in trials by wicked Nazi scientists and the deviance is expressed in startling fashion by Avery in a kind of laboratory perdition. What ensues is of a seismic atmospheric alteration though the manipulation of the agonizing isn’t being as hideous in the portrait of an unusual enemy.
The filmmaking in Overlord espouses enough of a vivid, visceral diversion embodied by a game cast, including Mathilde Ollivier as a team-oriented French local and a veteran snarky presence by Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Roddick) to make the unsubtle, revisionist mechanics rough around its cutting edges able to capture some hoary and hairy thrills.