OVERLORD: A Watchable Two-Dimensional Train-Wreck

If a produced Zombie super-soldier horror is your thing we have a treat for you!! releases this week in Australia from Paramount Pictures Australia. It is on a very small release – the cinemas screening it and to buy tickets and see times head HERE. It is directed by , who made SON OF A GUN a couple of years back, loved that movie starring Obiwan and my Aussie fave, Brenton Thwaites. He is also directing the upcoming FLASH GORDON remake. This is my kind of messed up gory but sadly I couldn’t make it. Big thanks to Kernel Claire for heading along, she wasn’t the biggest fan but eloquently explains why. OVERLORD is rated R18+ and runs for 110mins. Enjoy Claire’s thoughts on the film……….happy popcorning……..Salty.

BY

Elevator Pitch:

As World War Two approaches D-Day, an inexperienced group of soldiers uncover a secret Nazi plan to create unbreakable (read: Zombie) soldiers. 

OVERLORD Synopsis:

A group of misfit paratroopers are dropped into German territory with the rather bland and overblown mission of destroying a radio tower. When their plane goes down en-route to their target, the team of two-dimensional misfits are forced to befriend the French Village locals and make their way behind enemy lines. On the way they uncover gruesome experiments involving deceased soldiers. When a member of their own is taken hostage in the compound, the team must forge their way through the horror in order to complete their mission and destroy the Nazi base. 

 

Overlord Jovan Adepo Image

 

The Performances:

Jovan Adepo (FENCES) plays Boyce, the unlikely protagonist of the ragtag group. His performance is believable, but he’s saddled with bland scripting and poor character motivations. He’s the likeable, forgettable “John Boyega on a budget” type of grunt. 

’s (THE BIG SHORT, CAROL) cookie cutter “Noo Yawk” character is very familiar. Hollywood must have a casting callout that just says “we need a Brooklyn sounding guy – call that Magaro fella!”

GAME OF THRONES fans will recognise Pilou Asbæk (Euron Grayjoy) as the heartless, conniving big bad wolf. He’s an excellent villain and a standout performance to the piece. He’s granted the most convincing arc of the script – or maybe he just took more liberties with his performance. HIs despicable motivations are believable and his drive is relentless. Plus that intense look on his face is truly disturbing.

 

Overlord Jovan Adepo Image
Jovan Adepo

 

The Production:

The familiar plot beats and character arcs are all too predictable. As soon as a new player is introduced, it’s immediately apparent what their storyline will be plotted as. The rough and tumble soldier who could care less for others makes a big sacrifice. The big bad boss man meets his maker in a big bad boss way. The meek and the mild come out bold and blasting, the same-same storyline plods along. It’s all too blasé to be taken seriously. 

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good nod to a familiar trope, but this is handled with the grace of a fat-fingered keypad masher. The familiarity of the characters and the plot causes a kind of lethargy that makes the audience lose interest in the path of the story. Add to this the beige objective of destroying a radio tower (that the soldiers remind us of every few minutes – yawn) and the film just falls flat.

The undead super-soldiers have some excellent reveals – albeit with some abandoned false starts (case in point: finding a mostly liquefied dead jackal in the forest…why????). The design of the soldiers is one of the most interesting aspects to the story. The undead aesthetics are unique, intriguing and downright creepy. Really nicely done – just give us more! 

 

Overlord Mathilde Ollivier Image
Mathilde Ollivier

 

Worth Mentioning:

The props and costumes were beautifully period-set and definitely worth a mention, but they were let down by a very bland colour palette to this film. Yes it’s a war-based story, but compare it to films like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, DUNKIRK or FURY – also set at the tail of WW2 but with colour vibrancy and varied palettes. OVERLORD feels like it’s been greenwashed out and played on low-light.

There’s some truly respectable practical effects and makeup effects in OVERLORD. The Thousand Year Soldiers (the undead super soldiers) have some chilling reveals that blend CGI and makeup effects really well. There’s good slime effects and fantastic interactive prosthetics – it’s a shame these weren’t put more to the forefront of the production.

 

Overlord Zombie Image
Extreme Flossing Zombie

 

Conclusion:

OVERLORD doesn’t really fit with a single genre. Not quite horror. Not quite war drama. A little undercooked to be a sci-fi. I’m not sure how to categorise this one. It’s just a wash of merged attempts.

It’s hard to tell exactly where this film went so wrong. It seems less that it went wrong and more that it failed to go right. Flat performances, two-dimensional boring characters, expository scripting. It’s death by a thousand cuts. But surprisingly – it’s watchable. 

Look – I’m not saying it’s THE ROOM, or TROLL 2. But it’s a very watchable bad film. If you’re intrigued by the trailer, get good and tipsy and check it out – it will make the runtime go quicker.

 

 

 

YOUR REVIEWER:

Kernel Claire retired from the Salty Popcorn cob in 2014 with full honors, but was lured back to the shine of the silver screen and the Salt of the Popcorn a mere four years later. When not hand-modelling for Kernel Jason’s food-reviews, Claire can be found scootering through Sydney at a reasonable, defensive driving speed; or fussing far too much over her little black rescue cat Baxter. Claire has worked in the Australian Cinema Industry for over 13yrs and loves it the most when she can report “sometimes I get paid to watch movies”. She’ll pretty much attend any event that includes a lanyard.