- MaryAnn Johanson
- 5 November 2018
American soldiers take on supernatural Nazis in this deathly dull war thriller
Nazis with supernatural weapons? You'll wait a long while to find out what Overlord is actually about as it drags its feet getting to its fantastical elements, and then does absolutely nothing interesting with them once it arrives there.
On the night before the D-Day invasion in June 1944, a small band of American soldiers (led by Jovan Adepo and Wyatt Russell) parachutes into enemy territory behind the Normandy beaches on a mission to take out a German radio tower jamming Allied transmissions. The insertion sequence, all droning warplanes flying through enemy fire in the dark of night and then hellish jumps to the even more dangerous ground below, is pretty thrilling.
But while most genre movies get bigger as they go, building to a huge finale, Overlord seems to shrink the longer it goes on. War movie clichés abound, though there's not even any winking recognition of this; some of the soldiers are difficult to tell apart, they're so indistinct. The extent of characterization the film has to offer is Nazi officer Wafner (Pilou Asbæk) sexually intimidating French villager and Token Girl Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier). It's incredibly lazy stuff.
Still, no one goes to a horror flick for incisive character development, right? And yet the movie faffs around for a solid hour before the action moves to the secret Nazi lab the Americans have discovered, where Bad Things are happening. There's no reason for Overlord to hold off so long revealing what's *really* going on except that it doesn't know what to do with its secrets beyond engaging with them with dull, rote gore and grue.
The flick may open with terrifying elegance, but by the end it has descended into a slab of horror schlock that plays more like an unrealized concept for a video game than a movie.
General release from Weds 7 Nov.