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John’s Horror Corner: Overlord (2018), a high production value war movie mixed with a zombie movie.

March 1, 2019

MY CALL: The trailer didn’t lie—stunning production value on the level of many war film releases and loads of action. Highly entertaining and well made, but also completely unoriginal from any angle you view it. An excellent rental, but I wouldn’t recommend a purchase unless you’re a major zombie fan. MORE MOVIES LIKE Overlord: For more Nazi horror, go for Dead Snow (2009), Dead Snow 2 (2014), Green Room (2015), Yoga Hosers (2016), Manborg (2011), Hellboy (2004), Zombie Lake (1981), Oasis of the Zombies (1982), The Keep (1983), Frankenstein’s Army (2013), Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge (1991), Puppet Master: The Legacy (2003), Puppet Master: Axis of Evil  (2010), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012) and Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017).

This film kicks things off heavy and gritty with the kind of drama and shockingly abrupt action you’d find in Saving Private Ryan (1998) as a squad of American soldiers prepare for an ill-fated air drop. The gunplay and bullet-wound frenzies pepper scenes with blood red flesh wounds. If this film were to remain a war movie and introduce no horror at all, it would be a success on that alone. From the injuries to the concussive explosions, the special effects are excellent and will keep you engaged.

Among the few to survive the treacherous air drop, soldiers Tibbet (John Magaro; The Big Short, The Umbrella Academy), Boyce (Jovan Adepo; The Leftovers, Mother!), Ford (Wyatt Russell; Everybody Wants Some, We Are What We Are) and Chase (Iain De Caestecker; Agents of SHIELD) take shelter with a local French woman only to discover that the nearby German-occupied stronghold is serving as a Nazi experiment station to create unstoppable super soldiers.

The story takes its time revealing itself—not that anything complicated will unfold. We learn more about what’s going on from a cruel Nazi officer (Pilou Asbæk; Game of Thrones, Lucy) and our protagonists discover the Nazi’s latest medical advancements the hard way. In one scene they try to save a fellow soldier’s life with Nazi med-tech and, well… it gets a little weird and a lot awesome.

The latex wound work and monstrous mutation special effects are bone-protruding, skull-splatting and grotesque; a joy for any gorehound. In fact, the overall production value of this entire film is quite stunningly well done—even the acting. The laboratory scenes and set design are wonderfully elaborate, the “alchemical” approach to science is appropriately off-putting yet intricate, and the medical implements are painfully invasive.

This is essentially a more realistic approach to Frankenstein’s Army (2013) with a better budget, far superior acting, and still quite gory… it’s just not (quite) as ridiculous. These animated dead patients are nigh-unstoppable even to the classic notion of the zombie-halting headshot. They are spastic, in perpetual rage, and unnaturally strong. While highly entertaining this film stumbles the path of the super-strong villain literally throwing the good guys across the room (and providing them time and second chances) when he could just as easily kill them on the spot. As much as this annoys me, it was forgivable when considering all else the film offered in terms of explosions, gross gaping flesh wounds, super soldier zombie serum and manic action.

For his first horror film and only second feature film, director Julius Avery fared quite well! I strongly recommend a Netflix or rental viewing of this finely executed war-zombie movie.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2019 9:38 am

    Great call on all the villain throwing!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 2, 2019 10:27 am

      Ever since Underworld Awakening and that giant Lycan it’s all I can think about the moment it transpires on-screen.

      • March 2, 2019 10:30 am

        Did you want to write the post? Or should I?

  2. March 3, 2019 11:31 am

    Thanks for the review. This looks like one I’d enjoy, but I’ll take your recommendation and wait until it’s in DVD or Netflix.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      March 3, 2019 12:07 pm

      Please share your thoughts once you see it. I’m sure I’ll watch it again once it hits HBO.


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