Tagline: There doesn't seem to be one, which I'm not going to bitch about for once because the poster is awesome.
Premise: Paratroopers dropped into German occupied France the night before D-Day are tasked with destroying a church with a radio tower able to direct artillery on the beaches, before the landings the next morning. What they discover under the church is some dastardly, disgusting, downright batshit Nazi science.
Delivery: A blunt beginning. Do not watch the trailer for Overlord; if you listen to me on anything, listen to me on this. It has a few of the best moments and some minor spoilers in it and as you know, at Bedsit Cinema we always try to avoid spoilers. The trailer doesn't kill the film, but look, Overlord is an action-horror about American soldiers fighting a gruesome Nazi zombie project. If that ain't your bag of beans, the trailer won't be what makes your mind up. I really don't know how that premise would fall in to anyone's “maybe” category.
Overlord, taking it's name from the operational codename for D Day, has JJ Abrams splashed all over the promotional stuff, and yes he's the biggest name involved with it. However, director Julius Avery helmed the very capable, crime-action, Aussie flick Son of a Gun in 2014. A lot of credit must go to Avery for Overlord's successes, and for its weaknesses. Abrams' role here is ultimately as a superstar producer, primarily attached to grow the audience, lend credibility to the quality of the film, and prior to that- help raise funding for the production.
With that clumsy segue into funding, and bear in mind I don't know if this was the case; Overlord felt like after the first, bombastic, immersive half an hour the money to make it was evaporating much faster than they had planned for it to. There were periods which felt longer than they should, and some of the action towards the end, by comparison to the first half hour- which I'll talk about more in a second, smelt of compromise. Scenes had perhaps been scripted/ storyboarded as much bigger and more expensive, but latterly downsized or shot around.
When you start so strongly, it's really hard not to leave your audience (when the rest of the film is not as good- for whatever reason) wondering what the film would have been if it had maintained that. However, the wow-factor of the incredible opening scenes, with the main characters' airborne unit realising that war in the heavens is also hell, but crashing to earth is even worse, is astonishing. Imagine Saving Private Ryan's opening action, in the sky. It's worth the entrance alone. Plus when Overlord picks back up in the third act, there are more neat moments, no doubt.
Bedsit it? Overlord is not a horror of the ilk which wants to scare you, this is a film of horror and action designed to shake you up and shock you. In places, it manages it. Overlord is a load of fun at the cinema, a positive, worth sharing with your friends, 6/10.
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