“Overlord” is a horror film set during World War II, complete with Nazis using zombie-type killers as weapons and a group of American troops trying to destroy their secret operation. At first thought, this may not seem like a great plot for a horror-adventure flick. However, the Julius Avery-directed movie was a surprisingly serious thrill ride from the opening credits to the final scene. Prepare yourself for a quick 109 minutes of escapism and strong performances from actors who may have a big career ahead, especially Jovan Adepo.
The movie centers on a character named Private Boyce played by Adepo, who is most known for his role as Denzel Washington and Viola Davis‘ son in “Fences.” In his first starring role, Adepo immediately has the audience on his side as a paratrooper on a mission to destroy a Nazi radio tower at a church in a French village. As he fights Nazis, monsters and even his fellow soldiers, Adepo adds some heart to a gory film. The 30-year-old, who was also in Ava DuVernay‘s “Central Park 5, is clearly a star in the making. “Overlord” has already gotten strong reviews and will more than likely perform well at the box office, meaning there is definitely more to come from this young actor.
While the script is empty and some of the gore resembles a “Resident Evil”-type video game, “Overlord” is clearly going for a thrill ride and not cinematic gold. Even with eye-rolling moments, there is enough redemptive gore and action that will satisfy fans of the genre.
One important note: The American troops are racially mixed in this film, although in World War II, troops were segregated. Race does not exist in “Overlord,” which is at times awkward considering how Black soldiers were treated during World War II — even the Nazis do not acknowledge the Black soldiers in the film. However, J.J. Abrams, who was a producer, reportedly explained his massive creative liberty in the press notes.
“Although there might not have been Black soldiers mixed into a unit like this in real life, there weren’t any monsters lurking under churches either,” he said.
Interesting point, but the film might have been even more interesting if race wasn’t erased. Then again, maybe the white directors, producers and screenwriters decided to stay in their lane.
“Overlord” is in theaters Friday. See the trailer below: