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“Overlord” is the zombie movie you didn’t know you needed

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“Overlord” is the zombie movie you didn’t know you needed

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

courtesy of IMDb

Trevor Tyle, Life Editor

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What could possibly be more satisfying than spending two hours watching Nazis get their asses kicked? Truth be told, I could list several things, but for the sake of this article, the answer is watching Nazis and zombies get their asses kicked.

While it may sound absurd, the J.J. Abrams-produced war film-turned horror flick “Overlord” offers exactly that — and surprisingly, it works.

The film, originally rumored to be the fourth installment in Abrams’ “Cloverfield” franchise, is its own separate entity — perhaps for the best, given the negative reception to this year’s “The Cloverfield Paradox.”

Set on the eve of D-Day in World War II France, “Overlord” follows a group of American paratroopers who survive a Nazi attack on their plane. Determined to finish their mission to destroy a nearby German radio tower, the survivors — led by Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) — continue onward before crossing paths with a villager named Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier).

The soldiers seek refuge in Chloe’s attic, but their assignment becomes more urgent after Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) discovers something far more sinister than a radio tower. Beneath the church that houses said radio tower is a mysterious laboratory where the Nazis are conducting experiments on the locals, using a serum to turn them into tenacious zombie super-soldiers.

I know, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. But despite how preposterous the premise may sound, “Overlord” achieves exactly what it sets out to do, and does it really well. It finds the perfect balance between the grit of war cinema and the gore of horror films, seamlessly blending them into one cohesive narrative.

That being said, the film itself is nothing groundbreaking, nor does it try to be. It’s not exactly forgettable, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table either. “Overlord” simply is what it is, and it’s OK with that.

As far as the horror aspect of the film goes, it utilizes its opportunities to scare theatergoers rather sparingly. While this occasionally hinders the film’s general excellence, director Julius Avery should be commended for not compromising the film’s narrative for some extra blood and guts.

One of “Overlord’s” greatest offerings is its stellar cast. If there’s one thing most stable-minded individuals can all collectively agree on hating, it’s Nazis, and Game of Thrones” star Pilou Asbæk makes the film’s primary antagonist, Nazi head honcho Wafner, exceptionally loathable. Even with a name like Wafner, he still manages to be beyond menacing. His character is comparable to the Nazi antagonists of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” — a difficult feat to accomplish.

But the good guys are just as magnificent in this film. Russell and Adepo both boast some serious leading man potential for future action flicks, though much of this should be attributed to their on-screen chemistry. Ollivier, meanwhile, stuns with her character, who is reminiscent of “The Hunger Games” protagonist Katniss Everdeen in every way, from her look to her attitude. The largely unheard of actors that comprise our selection of heroes all exude star quality.

What’s truly great about “Overlord” is that, in spite of its premise, it doesn’t try to rewrite history. Rather, it uses its historical setting to create a truly worthwhile piece of entertainment. It’s frightening, it’s fresh and best of all, it’s fun.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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“Overlord” is the zombie movie you didn’t know you needed