Director: Julius Avery
Cast: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier
Release Date: February 19, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
With only hours until D-Day, a team of American paratroopers drop into Nazi-occupied France to carry out a mission that’s crucial to the invasion’s success. Tasked with destroying a radio transmitter atop a fortified church, the desperate soldiers join forces with a young French villager to penetrate the walls and take down the tower. But, in a mysterious Nazi lab beneath the church, the outnumbered G.I.s come face-to-face with enemies unlike any the world has ever seen. From producer J.J. Abrams, Overlord is a thrilling, pulse-pounding action adventure with a twist.
‘Overlord’ tells the story of a team of American Paratroopers just prior to D-Day who must land in Nazi occupied France and undertake a crucial mission which if successful will assist in ending the war at long last. As they land on the ground surrounded by enemies on all sides, they soon manage to locate the remaining members of their team still alive and find assistance and shelter thanks to the kindness of a local woman with no love of the Nazi soldiers herself. As the team makes plans to best complete their mission, things become far more terrifying when they uncover a secret lab within the Nazi facility where unfathomable experiments are done; and apparent plans for a batch of super soldiers like nothing the world has ever seen are already underway.
Directed by Julius Avery (Son of A Gun) from a screenplay by Billy Ray (The Hunger Games) and Mark L. Smith (The Revenant) which was based upon an initial story by Ray, Avery does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘Overlord’ capably guiding along the bloody action and tension every step of the way. The film also features a well selected cast that includes Jovan Adepo (TV’s Jack Ryan), Wyatt Russell (Everybody Wants Some!!), Mathilde Ollivier (The Misfortunes of François Jane), Pilou Asbæk (Ghost in the Shell 2017), John Magaro (The Big Short) and Bokeem Woodbine (Spider-Man: Homecoming) along with more, with nearly all offering solid performances in each of their respective roles and helping to keep things feeling more realistic than you might initially expect.
‘Overlord’ is a unique hybrid of war and horror films that delivers a tense, powerful and at times quite bloody ride into the heart of terror (in more ways than one) loaded with impressive effects and breathtaking visuals that are certain to impress. It does a fantastic job of merging ideas taken from real historical events with those of an expectedly less believable horror tale into one while always managing to keep a strong focus on both tones; never causing one to overpower or detract from the other. Many fans of the various noteworthy films Bad Robot has delivered over the years will also surely appreciate the darker tone and blood flow of ‘Overlord’ which also marks the first film from the J.J. Abrams owned production company with an R rating and the carefully created gore effects it brings to the table are pretty spectacular in their own right. I would definitely urge genre fans to try and make a point of giving ‘Overlord’ a watch whenever possible. It’s a tense and well-crafted film unlike the majority we see these days. Anyone who appreciates a carefully crafted horror flick that isn’t afraid to get a bit crazy while still maintaining at least some sense of believability along much of its course won’t want to miss out on this clever ride.
Overall, ‘Overlord’ is a great thriller that carefully merges elements of war films and horror features in order to deliver a tense, unnerving and at times somewhat gnarly ride into the depths of evil, both the evil immediately at hand and something far more terrifying below the surface. The first R-Rated film from Bad Robot Productions and showcasing just what they’re capable of in the gore department without the limits that accompany aiming for a tamer film rating and the result is something quite special. ‘Overlord’ is definitely highly recommended. It’s a solid film that contributes the best of action and horror film elements into something new and unexpected and should make a great candidate for a fun movie night selection whenever you get the chance; while also more than justifying the price of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Overlord’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks marvelous as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish. It holds up admirably even during the numerous notably dark and/or fast moving sequences, always making certain that nothing occurring on screen ever becomes negatively affected or rendered indiscernible along the way. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Paramount that should have no trouble at all satisfying both fans of the film and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack makes a perfect complement to the onscreen tension and fun and provides a crisp, clean and hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send barrages of gunfire, explosions, debris and plenty more whipping throughout the various speakers when appropriate, while also utilizing the surround channels for tamer elements like drips, creaks and nature activity; all while keeping any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously from becoming distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a spectacular Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that delivers across the board and sounds outstanding every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Overlord’ includes some noteworthy extras in the way of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life, featuring interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. All of the Featurettes can be found in ‘The Horrors of War’ and they include: ‘Creation’ (running approximately 11 minutes in length), ‘Death Above’ (running approximately 7 minutes), ‘Dead on the Ground’ (approximately 9 minutes), ‘Death Below’ (6 minutes), ‘Death No More’ (12 minutes) and ‘Brothers In Arms’ (5 minutes).