Overlord – A Review Haiku

Written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith
Directed by Julius Avery

SYNOPSIS

A group of soldiers D-Day, tasked with taking out a Nazi radio tower, unearth a deadly Nazi secret.

HAIKU REVIEW

Intense, Relentless;
Stunning Opening Set Piece;
A Bloody Good Time.

GRADE: B+

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

It seems so perfectly fitting that I chose Veterans Day and the night I would normally watch The Walking Dead to go see the World War II zombie movie. Even more fitting was how well the genres of war drama and zombie thriller blended together to produce something that feels every bit like the spawn of a B-movie and a blockbuster having a torrid one night stand. It is far from perfect, but I’ll be damned if you won’t find yourself smiling like a fool while your heart races. This is just plain fun and dismissing it as purely a genre film does it a disservice, so I hope it finds its audience. We live in a time of zombie obsession and people clamoring for violence against Nazis, so here is your chance to scratch two itches at once!

I am not familiar with Avery’s other film Son of a Gun, but he does a damn fine job here, creating a blend of tension, action and splatter that will leave an impression on its genre and audience alike. The opening twenty minutes or so is incredible, showing the frantic intensity of an air squadron trying to survive long enough to touch ground and attempt to carry out a vital mission. With some creative editing, the illusion of a long, unbroken take is created, showcasing just how confusing and terrifying it must be for soldiers in a situation like that, trying to jump out of a plane being bombarded with anti-aircraft fire. It is really a great scene, and I’m glad I got to see it on a big screen with proper, loud sound, because a home viewing just won’t be the same.

The cast of upstarts handles their respective roles well, and manage to make some cliche traits seem authentic. The script has its flaws (War isn’t the time for a crisis of conscience, especially when fighting Nazis who are secretly manufacturing an army of the undead), but is solid overall, packed tightly with moments that will leave you trying to catch your breath  and tossing in some good comedic touches that give short breaks from the frenzy. There are some eye-rolling moments amongst the carnage of bullets, bombs and bloodshed, but all-in-all this is a very effective mashup of various styles and genres that defied my expectations.

 


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