The opening scene to “Overlord” involves a group of WWII soldiers, who pontificate with each other, and then get attacked by German planes. Obviously, it has to get cantankerous with everyone shouting and ducking for cover. And the surviving soldiers jump out of the dying plane with parachutes into Nazi-occupied France.
But once I got over the mayhem, I noticed that “Overlord” slowly but surely splices two genres: a WWII thriller and a zombie movie. I’ve heard of bad ideas like the “Sharknado,” which I why I skipped them. But the way the filmmakers (producer JJ Abrams, writers Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith , and director Julius Avery) combine them is actually quite fun.
The surviving soldiers, consisting of Boyce (Jovan Adepo From “Fences”), Ford (Wyatt Russell), Tibbet (John Magaro), and Chase (Ian De Caestecker from ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), are assigned to destroy a radio tower, and encounter a young French girl named Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), who hides them. She also has an 8-year-old brother (Gianny Taufer) and an aunt, who was poisoned by the Nazis. They turned the village church into their lab to perform horrible experiments, and this is why “Overlord” is also a zombie movie.
The main Nazi the soldiers deal with is an officer named Dr. Wafner (Pilou Asbaek), who tries and fails to rape Chloe, and knows the purpose of the experiments.
Again, the opening of the movie gets noisy, and its premise sounds like a silly idea with its combination of WWII and zombies, but I like the way they’re both handled. It’s more in the style of a B-movie, and becomes flexible in its characters and special effects. Kudos to Abrams, Smith, Ray, and Avery for toying with our intelligence, and taking risks.
The best actors in the movie are Apedo, Russell, Ollivier, and Asbaek. Apedo is a natural young actor for expanding his horizons; Russell seems to have fun playing the tough-as-nails leader of the team; Ollivier keeps her cool by improvising with her situations; and Asbaek makes a great villain, and his final battle is fun.
Sure, it gets gruesome at times (I mean it’s a zombie movie) with the blood and face parts being ripped off, but it never goes off the deep end. They actually look impressive, and I was gazing at them with vulnerability.
Is “Overlord” great movie? No. But, is it at least a fun movie? Yes. And should you see it in IMAX? Not at the level of “Dunkirk,” but you can still feel the vibrations.