Overlord (2018)

Starkly beautiful in technically-impressive camerawork with grungy vintage-filtered cinematography and bludgeoningly fast war-revisionist zombie thrills, J.J. Abrams’ new WWII thriller is one of the best zombie films in over a decade. 8.8/10.

Plot Synopsis: On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers drop behind enemy lines to penetrate the walls of a fortified church and destroy a radio transmitter. As the soldiers approach their target, they soon begin to realize that there’s more going on in the Nazi-occupied village than a simple military operation. Making their way to an underground lab, the outnumbered men stumble upon a sinister experiment that forces them into a vicious battle against an army of the undead.

*Possible spoilers ahead*

Review

J.J. Abrams

A Mega-Visionary With Bold Imagination and Diverse Properties Across The Genres Of Sci-Fi, Action, Drama, & Now: Horror

Photograph Courtesy Of: Bad Robot Pictures

Mega-visionary J.J. Abrams has a resumé that span the gamut of cinematic genres. From Mission Impossible to Cloverfield to Star Wars to Star Trek to Lost to Fringe, if it’s well-known, modern, and action/adventure, drama, or sci-fi, Abrams played a foundational role in it. One genre a bit out of his normal exploits – and one he is a self-proclaimed mega-fan of wanting to break into it – is horror, and Overlord is the project he wants to be his benchmark for showcase of what he can do in the genre. That it certainly is, and it’s honestly one of the most spectacular products to come to cinema this year. Starkly beautiful in technically-impressive camerawork with grungy vintage-filtered cinematography and bludgeoningly fast war-revisionist zombie thrills, J.J. Abrams’ new WWII thriller is one of the best zombie films in over a decade.

One Of The Best Visual Films Of 2018

Breathtaking Cinematography From Its Opening Plane-Bomb Scene Amongst The Greatest War Scenes Ever Filmed

Photograph Courtesy Of: Bad Robot Pictures

Overlord is an absolutely beautiful film to behold – one of the best of 2018. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, especially from its opening plane scene that might just be one of the best war scenes I’ve ever witnessed in cinematic history. From its blue-tinted, gunfire-smoky, explosion-dotted skylines in the opening to greenish-orange serum and labs housing some of the most horrifying freak-of-nature zombies you’ll ever witness, the movie delivers one of the best ocular products this year and in a long time in horror – one I cannot understand how its budget was only $37M; it feels like a $370M blockbuster.

Fantastic Performances

From Breakout Stars Adepo & Oliver To A Strong Villain In Asbeck’s Cpn. Wafner

Photograph Courtesy Of: Bad Robot Pictures

The film is centered by strong performances including Jovan Adepo’s Boyce rifed with old-fashioned character development, Wyatt Russell’s layered and heroic Corporal Ford, Mathilde Oliver’s screen-stealing Chloe reminiscent of Inglorious Basterds’ Shoshanna, John Magaro’s comic-relief Lyle Tibbet, and a phenomenal villain by Pilou Asbeck’s downright-evil Captain Wafner. Plus, it’s well-directed by Julius Avery despite its clear power-driven, J.J. Abrams-imaginative auterism exploring the horrors and sudden jolts of war, zombies, and the unbreakable bonds and brotherhood/comraderie the war experience forms.

The Zombies

Like Call Of Duty/Black Ops Zombies Incarnate, A WWII Flavor That Summarizes Everything We Love About The Subgenre

Photograph Courtesy Of: Bad Robot Pictures

When the zombies finally come out to play (after a vile scientific experimentation depiction as disturbing and hard-R as you can get), they look absolutely fantastic: these are perhaps the best-looking zombies ever made. The prosthetics and make-up/CGI crew involved deserve freaking Academy Awards with how realistic the gore and twisting of anatomical pedigree they’ve concocted like the mad scientist antagonists – truly some of the most impressive work I’ve ever seen in the zombie genre, and horror in general for that matter. The zombies are incredibly strong and imposing as well as a different, addictive flavor for zombies being WWII-revisionist and taking a lot of cues from the wildly-popular Call Of Duty Zombies series – this feeling like any fans’ dream experience and the perfect cinematic translation.

Flaws

A Boyce Characterization Problem.. & MORE Zombie Horror In A Big, Epic Finale

Photograph Courtesy Of: Bad Robot Pictures

A couple of flaws include a Boyce that’s too goody-two-shoes and put-offish to start – does he not know what he signed up for: WAR? Also, I wish there was a bit more zombie horror; the zombie action is great, but a bit contained and claustrophobic. I wish they had let them loose off the chains a bit more with at least one army of the undead shot or big, epic multi-tiered final scene against the zombies for a bit less of an underwhelming finale in stark contrast to how magnificently it opened.

Conclusion

One Of The Best Zombie Films Ever

A WWII-Revisionist Piece With Breathtaking Grunge-Filtered Cinematography, Strong Performances, & Fast-Paced Thrills

Photograph Courtesy Of: Bad Robot Pictures

Overall, J.J. Abrams’ Overlord is a thrilling, beautifully-shot action-heavy WWII revisionist piece that, although more action than horror in the end, stands as one of the best and most sophisticated and realism-rife zombie-centered films to date. It truly feels like Call Of Duty: Black Ops/Zombies in-film-carnate – and will slap a goofy nostalgic grin on any fan of that, or the undead in general being in CLC’s vote the best product to come out of the subgenre since 28 Days Later. Starkly beautiful in technically-impressive camerawork with grungy vintage-filtered cinematography and bludgeoningly fast war-revisionist zombie thrills, J.J. Abrams’ new WWII thriller is one of the best zombie films in over a decade.

Official CLC Score: 8.8/10