Overlord review – nasty second world war action-horror fantasy

This bizarre and gruesome tale of an allied assault on a church in Nazi-occupied France leaves an unpleasant taste

This gruesome film has arrived like some particularly nasty new version of Call of Duty, destined to be played for days at a time by a regrettable, and clearly unrepresentative gaming subset of pale, dead-eyed loners. It is a bizarre, and weirdly humourless and explicit action-horror fantasy set during the second world war – specifically just before the D-day landings, hence the title, derived from Operation Overlord, you see.

It is written by Billy Ray (who scripted Captain Phillips and The Hunger Games) and directed by Australian film-maker Julius Avery, all working from an original concept from producer JJ Abrams – the idea being to make some money from a customer base which might loosely be described as incels and incel fellow travellers.

It is June 1944 and Jovan Adepo plays Boyce, a young private in the 101st airborne division of the US army. He and his buddies are being parachuted into France on a mission to disable a radio tower positioned atop a church, thus disrupting the Nazis’ communication network and assisting the Allied invasion on land. A more perfunctory and MacGuffiny plot device can hardly be imagined. But no matter.

Having arrived in the nightmarish chaos of occupied France, Boyce and his Dirty Half Dozen prepare to approach this church, only to make a very strange discovery: that it is the site of Nazi medical experimentation, turning civilian prisoners into uber-soldiers in preparation for the forthcoming 1,000-year Reich.

There is something deeply crass about this facetious nonsense, and everyone involved in this film might want to reflect that Nazi medical experimentation during the second world war did in fact happen, under circumstances other than these. It was a very real thing, not just a death-metal horror movie gag. Overlord leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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