Overlord is a pulpy, terrifying thrill ride of a B-movie. It feels like an over-the-top World War 2 Delta Green scenario, and an homage to a genre I learned to love through John Carpenter’s films. Having read more about the movie, and learned more about the practical effects used, I’m even more impressed.
As a B-movie it’s quite good, though it rang a bit hollow for me. I think there might have been a little more to the character development arc for Jovan Adepo’s Boyce that didn’t survive to the theatrical cut I saw, and I would have loved to see that. But it’s probably okay: high tension Nazi-killing historical science fiction B-movies aren’t best known for their character development.
I initially wasn’t sure whether to feel happy or miffed about the movie’s portrayal of the 101st Airborne as an integrated force when it was not. Here’s Wikipedia’s article on racial segregation in the US armed forces.
The happy side has won. It’s very easy to explain.
The miffed part is simple: it’s ahistorical and I have lingering worries that people forget how far we’ve had to come (and how much further we have to go) to have a more equal society.
The happy part is even simpler: Jovan Adepo as Boyce was fucking great. I’d watch the hell out of more movies with him.
And why worry about ahistorical content when the movie is about fighting Nazi mad-science zombies?
I also liked Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, and reveled in her more active role closer to the end of the film. Plus there’s a moment where Wyatt Russell looks a hell of a lot like his dad, and I couldn’t help but see the specter of Kurt Russell’s Snake Plisskin. That was fun.
There’s some torture, and I wasn’t down for that.
In fact, the movie as a whole was more intense than I am able to handle these days. Not especially surprising or novel—it hits the expected beats, more or less on the mark—but intense. I think my teenaged tolerance for this genre has waned. I still appreciate it, but I would probably do best to watch these movies on smaller screens. Regardless, if you’d like to watch modern B-movie action / horror, Overlord is waiting for you. In the dark.