Hotly tipped to be yet another ‘Cloverfield’ film in J.J. Abram’s ever expanding and unpredictable sci-fi series, ‘Overlord’ is a new horror film set during World War II. It makes perfect sense to combine these genres together as when other than wartime has humanity witnessed the worst horrors in history? The film follows a group of American soldiers who have been tasked with the mission of taking out a German radio tower which is preventing the allied troops from providing air support for their forces on the ground.
This is a simple, straightforward wartime narrative but one with an especially sinister slant that makes way for the film to provide effective horror and action sequences in abundance. The horror elements are reminiscent of John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ as the film blends practical and digital effects to bring the nightmarish creations of this story to life in terrifying fashion. As one might expect in a film of both the war and horror genres there’s no shortage of blood and guts, and the film uses these often shocking visuals to evoke terror incredibly effectively really delivering on its ’18’ certificate. It’s a tense cinematic experience combining jump scares with visual horror. The tension is much more palpable in the earlier stages of the film with full details of the narrative remaining a mystery but as the plot details continue to be revealed this allows for the more action heavy sequences to take centre stage. These moments are still infused with horror but replace the feelings of tension and terror with suspense and pace delivering a heart-racing action spectacle for the film’s finale.
With that said though, some of the dialogue in the films closing moments becomes a little over the top – matching the gratuitous violence which really grounds it in the feeling of B-movie quality when it’s actually much more. The relatively unknown cast, probably unrecognisable for casual movie goers maybe allude to this too but nonetheless the group of soldiers present a mixed, if somewhat cliched, collection of characters. However, they are a likeable enough ensemble for audiences to care about them and the story they are active in. Some more development for a couple of them would have been welcome but this can be forgiven due to the fast pace of the narrative. Lead star Jovan Adepo, paratrooper Pvt. Boyce, strikes the right balance of fear and bravery to win the allegiance of the audience and serves as a moral compass in a narrative and setting where morality seems like the most alien of concepts. His chemistry with his co-stars creates a good on-screen dynamic which is capable of delivering the story in an engaging, entertaining and even emotional way.
‘Overlord’ borrows and combines ideas we’ve seen before in numerous films from popular culture but does so to create an exhilarating wartime horror that won’t be easily etched from the minds’ of its audience. With its no nonsense narrative established and characters firmly in place from early on ‘Overlord’ makes way for an onslaught of gruesome horror and impressive action which when combined together offer a shocking but highly satisfying cinematic experience.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Rating – 8.5/10
Question: What’s your favourite War sub-genre of film?
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