Overlord is a Nazi zombie B-movie with a slight difference

by James Robins / 21 November, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Overlord zombie nazi movie
Have you heard? Nazis are bad. It seems that some people need reminding, and thus we have Overlord, a gruelly, gory, video-gamey gonzo B-movie of meathooks, knuckle dusters, Dr Mengele villainy, and a litany of impalements. It’s a film, in other words, about Nazi zombies. No, it’s not the first of those, though this one is actually set during World War Two (a rarity for the sub-genre) and takes its name from the codename for D-Day.

It follows Jovan Adepo (Fences) as Private Boyce, an American soldier dropping into France the night before the invasion, tasked with blowing up an SS-controlled radio tower. Underneath the mast, as we shall soon discover, is a lair of evil, ruled by the campy local Nazi commander Wafner (Pilou Asbæk, who honed his screen villainy as Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones). He will gradually lose bits of his face but keep lumbering on in his bid for a thousand-year Reich.

The opening aboard the troop plane under fire is impressively chaotic, as is the rest of the violence, notable for its punishing gore. Gunfights sound like thunderstorms, or something from a mid-80s Schwarzenegger romp. Of course, as a B-movie, Overlord is full of clichés: there’s at least two direct visual quotes from Saving Private Ryan, and mysterious Frenchwoman Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) put me in mind of Michelle “Listen very carefully” Dubois from ‘Allo ‘Allo. And there’s something implicitly funny, or at least absurd, in the idea that zombie Nazis are scarier than actual Nazis. Isn’t Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah the most horrifying film ever made, after all? Overlord nevertheless offers a sort of cheap, dumb, enjoyable catharsis.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★★1/2

Video: Paramount Pictures

Latest

Michael Moore takes on Trump with fire and fury in Fahrenheit 11/9
100230 2018-12-12 00:00:00Z Movies

Michael Moore takes on Trump with fire and fury in…

by James Robins

The conflagration that gave the US President Trump is traced to September 2001.

Read more
10 ideas for the perfect summer Christmas menu
100210 2018-12-12 00:00:00Z Food

10 ideas for the perfect summer Christmas menu

by Lauraine Jacobs

Seafood stars in the entrée courses before turkey takes centre stage, with all the trimmings, to be followed by a fantastic fruity pudding.

Read more
How Whangārei became New Zealand's home of jugger
99256 2018-12-12 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

How Whangārei became New Zealand's home of jugger

by Michael Botur

On every second Sabbath, grown men and women armed with foam chase a dog skull around Whangārei’s Kensington Park.

Read more
New Zealand's silent Pasifika mental health crisis
100357 2018-12-11 17:18:21Z Health

New Zealand's silent Pasifika mental health crisis…

by Indira Stewart

What do you do if your culture treats mental illness like a curse? Bury it deep.

Read more
The smart speaker with a screen: How does the Amazon Echo Show stack up?
100317 2018-12-11 15:10:01Z Tech

The smart speaker with a screen: How does the Amaz…

by Peter Griffin

A review of the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker.

Read more
Domestic violence: 'There's a huge amount of work that needs to be done' – PM
100265 2018-12-11 10:30:17Z Social issues

Domestic violence: 'There's a huge amount of work …

by RNZ

Grace Millane's death is a reminder of the work that needs to be done to reduce violence directed at women in this country, says the PM.

Read more
Finally, a trio of chunky referendum issues to spice up the next election
99872 2018-12-11 00:00:00Z Politics

Finally, a trio of chunky referendum issues to spi…

by Bevan Rapson

The possibility of Kiwis voting on three contentious issues – euthanasia, cannabis and an MMP shakeup – is like crowdsourcing political decisions.

Read more
The bullying allegations show that Parliament needs transparency
100228 2018-12-11 00:00:00Z Politics

The bullying allegations show that Parliament need…

by Bill Ralston

As a review stalks bullies in the corridors of power, Bill Ralston writes that abuse thrives in the darkness.

Read more