Friday, November 09, 2018


Not quite Plan A last night, but the bus out of Burlington was just late enough that it looked like it would be 50/50 to make it to Fenway in time for Suspiria, and definitely not in time to get some much-needed nachos (or anything, really). And, truth be told, a two-and-a-half-hour horror movie was starting to feel like a lot to ask of me by then. That's arguably twice the optimal length of one of those things.

So, instead, quick detour out to the Common and then into this. It was, perhaps, a bit closer to the type of horror I was looking for anyway - not really disturbing or challenging, but more going for the gross-out and action/adventure. I probably spent a little more time than necessary wondering if it could pull the genre switch off if someone came in just looking for a WWII action flick, which is kind of a holdover from seeing Rampant less than a week earlier. It's kind of amusing to me that, at a moment when unabashed horror-movie stuff is doing pretty well, we're also getting some fair fusions.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 8 November 2018 in AMC Boston Common #18 (first-run, DCP)

Even without the horror stuff plastered all over the advertising, I don't think you could take someone to see Overlord as a wartime action film and have them be caught flat-footed by things going into a decidedly less realistic direction. It gives the game away fairly early and doesn't build quite enough to feel like more than the basics before doing so, but the jump to mad scientists and monsters works pretty well.

It opens like a war movie, with Private Ed Boyce (Jovan Adepo) fresh out of basic training and about to jump out of a plane on a mission to destroy a radar jammer which the Nazis have placed atop a church in occupied France. The actual charges, Sergeant Rensin (Bokeem Woodbine) explains, will be placed by Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), recently in Italy and just transferred to the unit; also on the plane are the equally green Rosenfeld (Dominic Applewhite), smart-aleck sniper Tibbet (John Magaro), would-be writer Dawson (Jacob Anderson), and war photographer Chase (Iain De Caestecker) - not that all will necessarily make it to the ground, and they wouldn't have much of a base of operations in the village if they didn't luckily meet Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier). She's captured the eye of Lieutenant Wafner (Pilou Asbæk), one of the nastier pieces of work stationed there, although it soon becomes clear that there's something much worse than radio jamming going on at the church.

Director Julius Avery and his crew never make Overlord as simplistic as wartime B-movies tended to be, but they certainly evoke that - the characters are gung-ho, the mission is fairly straightforward, and tensions within the unit mostly come from Boyce being considered too soft-hearted by the others. In fact, they cast a bit anachronistically so a modern audience might more easily get into the same mindset (there were not integrated units with black sergeants in 1944). Still, the opening of the film is an absolute meat-grinder in its own way, with horrible death and terrible decisions never far from Boyce and Avery stages it impressively enough that the movie never actually needs to have more. The atmosphere just horrific enough that this sort of evil they will soon encounter seems possible, but it's also just pulpy enough to feel like a tall tale rather than something that disrespects those who actually fought.

Full review at EFC.

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