Overlord follows a group of World War 2 paratroopers on the eve of D-Day (hence the name of the film as Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy). Trapped behind enemy lines, a rag-tag group of soldiers must take down a radio tower in a small town in Nazi occupied France before the beach invasion on June 6th 1944 can proceed, but what they find is far more horrifying than just Nazi soldiers.
There is nothing really new to see with Overlord that hasn’t been done countless times before, whether it be in a war film or a horror movie with crazy Nazi experiments – think of Overlord as Saving Private Ryan meets Re-Animator meets Frankenstein’s Army.
The film is filled with cliché war and horror movie moments, jump scares that sting with a loud music cues, and characters that are not likeable or fleshed out, making everyone forgettable. Though the acting is strong from the entire cast and everyone is working hard to deliver the material, there just isn’t enough character development to become invested in these men and women to care about them.
Overlord also suffers in tone, swinging wildly from a hard hitting war movie one moment to a balls-to-the-wall horror film the next. It never really knows what it wants to be: a war film or a horror film? Pick one!
One of the films biggest problems is that it presents itself as a horror film first, set during the darkest days of World War 2, but it takes more than an hour for the horror to start. Sure there are some hints that something is going on around this town where the radio tower is, but it focuses so much on war drama and war suspense that you begin to forget Overlord is a horror movie and it comes off like you’re watching just another World War 2 film – and not a very good one at that; a platoon of soldiers would not be chatting while walking through heavily Nazi occupied France in the middle of the night (ON THE EVE OF D-DAY) like they were strolling through Central Park, but with the hard of hearing Nazi’s in this film, (they don’t even hear gunshots in a town they patrol and occupy) they’d probably be fine anyways.
With the added horror element of Nazi experimentation there’s no explanation why they are doing these experiments other than one line: “A thousand year reich, needs thousand year soldiers”. So are they trying to create super soldiers from the dead soldiers? Yes? No? Then why experiment on the town’s people, who all look like they were melted for some reason? Why are certain re-animated dead acting like crazy zombies, while others act pretty much normal just with super strength? So many unanswered questions.
There is just too many head-scratching moments in this film for it to be taken seriously as either a good war movie or a good horror movie – though there are some good suspense and action sequences the film still fails on both fronts.
4 out of 10 stars.