Overlord (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Julius Avery|
|Story by||Billy Ray|
|Music by||Jed Kurzel|
|Edited by||Matt Evans|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$41.7 million|
Overlord is a 2018 American war horror film directed by Julius Avery and written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. It stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro, Gianny Taufer, Pilou Asbæk, and Bokeem Woodbine. The film was produced by J. J. Abrams, through his Bad Robot Productions banner, and Lindsey Weber. The plot follows several American soldiers who are dropped behind enemy lines the day before D-Day and discover secret Nazi experiments.
Overlord was released in the United States on November 9, 2018, by Paramount Pictures. The film received positive reviews from critics and grossed over $41 million worldwide on a budget of $38 million.
On the eve of D-Day, a paratrooper squad is sent to destroy a German radio tower in an old church. Their plane is shot down and crashes, and most of the squad, including squad leader Sgt. Rensin, are killed either in the crash or by Nazi soldiers and landmines. Four survivors remain: second in command Corporal Ford and Privates Boyce, Tibbet and Chase.
The team continues onward and meet Chloe, a young woman from the village where the church is located. She lets them take refuge in her house. Chloe lives with her 8-year-old brother Paul and her aunt, who has been disfigured by Nazi experiments taking place in the church. After Tibbet and Chase depart to check the scheduled rendezvous site, a Nazi patrol led by SS Hauptsturmführer Wafner visits Chloe. Wafner sends his men away and proceeds to coerce Chloe for sex, threatening to send her brother to the church to be "fixed". Boyce, being an idealistic new recruit, cannot ignore this and interrupts the Nazi officer. Ford is forced to follow suit and restrain Wafner.
Attempting to reach the rendezvous point to look for Tibbet and Chase, Boyce witnesses the Nazis burning disfigured village residents. He is chased by a dog and is forced to hide in a truck carrying dead bodies inside the church. Sneaking out of the truck, Boyce discovers an underground base which houses not only a radio operating room, but also a laboratory where the Germans perform various experiments on the villagers involving a mysterious serum and a large pit filled with black tar. Boyce takes a syringe containing the serum and rescues Rosenfeld, another member of the paratrooper squad who was captured alive. They escape through the base's sewers.
When Boyce and Rosenfeld get back to Chloe's house, Tibbet and Chase have already returned. Wafner refuses to explain what the serum does, even as Ford tortures him. As the squad prepares to attack the church, Wafner attempts to escape and fatally shoots Chase. Boyce, having seen a dead man supposedly resurrected by the serum in the lab, injects Chase with the syringe. Chase is resurrected, but soon mutates and turns violent. A scuffle ensues ending with Boyce bludgeoning Chase to death. A patrol responding to the carnage arrives, and a shootout erupts where the patrol is killed and Ford blows half of Wafner's face off. Wafner escapes with Paul as a hostage and back at the lab, injects himself with two dosages of the serum.
Boyce proposes infiltrating the base and destroying the tower from the inside, which would also destroy the laboratory. The other privates support him, and Ford grudgingly agrees. Splitting up, Rosenfeld and Tibbet launch a frontal assault as a distraction, while Ford, Boyce, and Chloe enter the base using the sewers. Boyce and Ford plant the explosives while Chloe looks for Paul. Chloe finds Paul, sends him back to the village and successfully kills a mutated test subject that corners her. She returns to the village, where Tibbet and Rosenfeld are pursued by the base's defenders. Tibbet is wounded shielding Paul from gunfire, and Chloe kills the remaining Germans and treats Tibbet’s wounds.
Wafner, now mutated and possessing superhuman strength and resilience, overpowers Ford and impales him on a meat hook. Wafner reveals that the serum was made by using the villagers' bodies to distill the ancient power of the black tar, which had been running under the village for centuries. The aim was to create immortal and invincible soldiers to serve the Reich. As Boyce distracts Wafner, Ford pulls the hook out and injects himself with the serum to heal his wounds. He holds off Wafner long enough for Boyce to set off an oxygen tank, which sends Wafner falling into the tar pit. As he begins to mutate, Ford orders Boyce to leave him behind and detonate the explosives, believing neither side should possess the serum. Boyce complies and narrowly escapes as the church and radio tower collapse behind him. He joins the others as a radio announces that the D-Day invasion concluded in a victory for the Allies.
In his report, Boyce credits Ford for the decision to plant the bombs inside the church. The commanding officer questions Boyce regarding rumors of an underground lab under the church. Boyce, sharing Ford's view, denies seeing anything worth digging up. The officer seemingly accepts his story and informs him that they will be reassigned to Charlie Company as the war continues.
- Jovan Adepo as Private First Class Edward Boyce, a paratrooper who uncovers the Nazi experiments below the church and radio tower.
- Wyatt Russell as Corporal Lewis Ford, a paratrooper and explosives expert who is vehemently against swaying from the mission to destroy the radio tower.
- Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, Paul's sister and a French civilian who aides the stranded paratroopers.
- John Magaro as Private First Class Lyle Tibbet, a paratrooper and sniper.
- Pilou Asbæk as Captain Wafner, an SS Hauptsturmführer/Captain.
- Gianny Taufer as Paul, Chloe's younger brother
- Iain De Caestecker as Private Morton Chase, a paratrooper and photographer.
- Dominic Applewhite as Private First Class Jacob Rosenfeld, a paratrooper.
- Jacob Anderson as Private First Class Charlie Dawson, a paratrooper.
- Bokeem Woodbine as Sergeant Rensin.
- Erich Redman as Dr. Schmidt, head of the experimentation on French civilians and dead German soldiers.
- Patrick Brammall as American Officer
- Mark McKenna as Private First Class Murphy
The initial story for the film was conceived by J. J. Abrams and screenwriter Billy Ray, with Ray penning the script. Paramount acquired the film in 2017, and Mark L. Smith was brought in to polish the script. On February 1, 2017, Bad Robot Productions and Paramount Pictures announced that Julius Avery would direct the film.
In April 2017, Jovan Adepo and Wyatt Russell were the first actors to be cast in the film. In May 2017, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro, Gianny Taufer, Pilou Asbæk, and Bokeem Woodbine were cast in supporting roles.
Visual effects for the film were provided by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Image Engine, Rodeo FX, Pixomondo, Mr X, Southbay and Nzviage. Mark Bakowski, Julian Foddy, Dan Seddon, Stefano Trivelli and Pauline Duvall served as visual effects supervisors.
Overlord was originally scheduled to be released on October 26, 2018. However, in July 2018, it was pushed back to November 9, 2018.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 19, 2019 and was available on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on February 18, 2019.
Overlord grossed $21.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $20 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $41.7 million, against a production budget of $38 million.
In the United States and Canada, Overlord was released alongside The Girl in the Spider's Web and The Grinch, and was projected to gross $8–13 million from 2,859 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $3 million on its first day, including $900,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $10.1 million, finishing third at the box office. The film fell 62% in its second weekend to $3.9 million, finishing eighth.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 198 reviews and an average rating of 6.68/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Part revisionist war drama, part zombie thriller, and part all-out genre gorefest, Overlord offers A-level fun for B-movie fans of multiple persuasions." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 60 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it three out of five stars.
Amy Nicholson of Variety wrote "Even at its most suspenseful, when Jed Kurzel's cello score stabs at the eardrums, Overlord feels familiar, a collage of cinematic nightmares checking off its influences: a woman wielding a flamethrower like Ripley in Aliens, a cruel SS officer (the terrifically hissable Pilou Asbæk) who grins like a Batman villain, and enough of a Castle Wolfenstein video-game vibe that its fans may find themselves reaching for the controls out of habit." While most reviews were positive, Michael Ordoña of the San Francisco Chronicle gave a rather scathing review, writing that the "enjoyment" one expects from GIs fighting zombies is "stunted by the film’s lack of energy and imagination," and goes on to explain, "Director Julius Avery goes to the startle-scare early and often. Every turn, every beat feels too familiar. The writers didn’t bother researching period lingo. Characters do idiotic things to enable plot devices. The screaming and gunfire seem excessive for a stealth mission. And the whole undead thing simply doesn’t pay off." Although he does admit, "At least the makeup effects are quite good."  John DeFoe of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, writing: "As the team moves in on the laboratory and the radio tower above it, Avery balances the truly disgusting with more comic-book-like action...Still, the movie's tone holds together, with the lurid colors of opening scenes (the cinematic equivalent of a gory, pre-code war comic book) setting the stage for heightened action to come."
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