This year has had some fantastic horror movies so far, Hereditary scared the bejeezus out of nearly everyone who saw it, Upgrade was a hilarious horror-comedy with a fantastic twist, and heck, my favorite film of the year so far Annihilation was a visually stunning masterpiece with heaps of immense thrills. Now, a new challenger has arisen for the title of “Best Horror Film of 2018” and that film is Overlord, which combines Nazis and… well, I’m not sure what to call them so I’ll just say zombies.
I was extremely excited for the film based on the first trailer, which in my opinion, made this movie look like the coolest movie of all time. Nazis, flamethrowers, syringes, zombies, and huge explosions had me pumped up, and when I saw it on Thursday night in IMAX… I was blown away by the film. Now, without further ado, let’s break down why Overlord is now in my top 5 of 2018.
So, choosing a best feature of the movie is tough, as the two candidates are neck in neck, but I am going to say the best aspect is the film’s action. As I said earlier, I saw the film in IMAX and in the first action scene my jaw dropped in sheer delight as I saw the film’s glorious explosions were not something to only be seen for as long as a trailer shot.
The opening action scene is in a plane nearly entirely and the director of the film, Julius Avery, makes it one of, if not the best action film of the year so far with the incredible camera work, fantastic acting, and even more impressive visuals that opening scene has to offer. However, it isn’t just front-loaded awesomeness. The final action scene switches from the more Saving Private Ryan opening to a good Resident Evil film sort of tone with a combination being formed in the climax of the film to make just some of the amazing battles of the film.
However, the action is just barely the best part as the aspect just following is definitely the makeup. Now, if Overlord does not win the Oscar for achievement in Makeup, I will be both shocked and enraged. The makeup on the zombies is incredibly graphic and not for the faint of heart, luckily I’m not and I just looked at the screen in amazement, especially with two scenes. There is a scene where we get to see a complete transformation in all of its gory glory, it is both terrifying and awesome, but the effect that truly won the Oscar was the villain of the film, and I’m not going to spoil it, but holy crap. It is perhaps the freakiest image from any of the 27 horror films I have seen this year.
Also, on that note I want to bring up another fantastic element of the film which, this won’t receive an Oscar nomination for but is still great nonetheless, the production design. Every set looks incredible from the dark basements of the Nazis to the very eerie village the majority of the movie takes place in. The costume design is also wonderful with each uniform having some small difference that makes the film incredibly lifelike and real, a feat many movies cannot accomplish.
Now, I probably should talk about some negatives, even though they are few and far between. The characters for one are nothing special. I didn’t dislike any of them and they weren’t just bland archetypes, but they just had no development which pretty much makes it so when talking about these forgettable characters you go to physical characteristics like “Kurt Russell’s Son”. Another problem and probably my biggest with the entire movie is the second act.
While some great action bookends both sides of the film, the middle is somewhat a big group sit down in a house, aside from one scene when they leave the house to see Nazis. There is some great scenes in the house, and if you’ve seen the movie you know exactly which one I’m talking about, but compared to the rest of the film, Overlord feels a lot slower and more serious than it should have been when it went into the house.
Those are my thoughts on Overlord, which is one of the best action movies of the year, even though besides like, three other action movies there really isn’t much competition. (I mean, Fallout, Infinity War, Upgrade, and…?) The makeup is phenomenal, the sets and costumes are exquisite, and the action is some of the year’s best. When it comes to how good this movie is, I really did not see it coming.