I have a pet peeve. You might think it irrelevant, petty even, and you might very well be right: any horror film that puts a rap song over its trailer automatically gets a firm
pass from me. This is not a rap thing per se, you understand, but more something born out of experience: this is a symptom of a movie trying hard to appeal to the younger crowd by promising something ‘edgy’ while actually being completely conventional. An additional warning flag here was raised by the ‘Produced by J.J. Abrams’ boast: when the most famous person associated with a film is the producer, it’s often a sign of quality lacking elsewhere.
Thus, the rap-filled trailer for Overlord had left me thoroughly cold on the movie. However, with nothing else particularly grabbing me on my usual cinema night, and having my eye caught by its surprisingly high Rotten Tomatoes score, I thought I would open my mind a crack and give Overlord a try.
And I must admit, rap music or no rap music, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is more-or-less completely by-the-numbers. It does have a weak villain and a palpable lack of urgency (they absolutely must blow up the church by 6am…and then spend what seems like days hanging out in an attic). And, despite its 18 certificate gore (which I did enjoy for its Cronenberg-esque body horror aesthetic), it does pull back into the safe zone of mass acceptability every time it threatens to push any kind of envelope.
It is also, it should be noted, much much more a ‘men on a mission’ war movie than it is a horror movie. There’s something of a ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’ vibe about it, though the shift is less radical and way more foreshadowed than that film.
I will add that Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt Russell, is the stand-out member of an only-OK cast, in that he did an outstanding job of reminding me of his father. Thumbs up to you, young Russell; may you to emulate your dad’s flinty brilliance for many years to come.
But with all these caveats, yes, I enjoyed Overlord. I will also add that, 24 hours on, I’ve also almost completely forgotten the entire film. Ultimately, it is what it is: a B-movie with 2018 VFX, with a purpose no loftier than to provide a dark (but not too dark) and gory (but not too gory) 110mins of entertainment. And in that modest goal, it is perfectly good fun (while it lasts). But, equally, that pet peeve of mine has ended up being reinforced.
xE (eXpected Enjoyment): +2