A covert mission in the heart of Nazi territory reveals something far worse as Overlord hits 4K Ultra HD/blu-ray this week. Is the war/horror movie worth picking up? Check out our full review of this week’s new release to find out!
Overlord, on paper, feels like a movie made explicitly with me in mind. WWII based action? Check. Nazi’s getting their asses kicked? Check. Zombie-esque monsters running amok? Check. I mean, it combines just about everything I want into a single package, so I was pretty bummed when I missed out on it in theaters.
With the 4K release, however, I finally got my chance to watch it and the result was...different. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the film quite a bit, but it was definitely different than expected. The basics are pretty simple. The film follows a group of American soldiers dropping into Nazi occupied France who are tasked with eliminating a Nazi communications base/tower in order to ensure Allied air support for the D-Day invasion.
Their drop doesn’t exactly go as planned and the soldiers find themselves scattered, with only a handful remaining to finish the mission. As the survivors take refuge in a small village (thanks to the help of Chloe) and figure out how to infiltrate the Church compound, something even more sinister presents itself.
Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) accidentally stumbles upon a hidden research lab under the Church where horrific experiments are being done on the villagers. As they continue to find a way to complete their mission in a short period of time, they must now also contend with literal monsters in their path…
Ostensibly, Overlord sounds like it delves into straight up monster/zombie movie territory, but the reality is quite different. By and large, the movie leans more into the “war film” genre than it does with monsters and horror. In fact, you go through a big chunk of the movie before any of the experiment stuff comes into play, and it’s not until the final act (really 20-25 minutes) that the monsters come into play.
Considering how played up the monster element was in the marketing, it was kind of crazy to see how little the played a role in the final film. Don’t get me wrong, when the crazy stuff started hitting the fan, it was incredibly cool and featured plenty of “holy shit!” moments. While it’s a pretty solid war film with some good performances all around, it doesn’t push far enough into either genre to make the most of its potential.
The result is a film that I enjoyed a great deal but didn’t love as much as I wanted to. If it had leaned harder into the monster direction earlier I think things would have come together better. As it stands, it’s a fun “what-if” alternate history tale that just misses the mark of greatness.
Sight and Sound
Overlord is a good looking film, with a solid WWII aesthetic that captures the gritty/bloody elements of the time period, while also making sure it stands out when the paranormal stuff starts kicking off. While the color pallette leans more into the darker greys, the 4K presentation keeps everything sharp and crisp. The blacks are super deep and I didn’t notice any crushing on my viewing, which is great considering how dark a big portion of the movie is. For instance, the opening sequence takes place entirely at night, but it’s one of the most stunning openings I’ve seen in a war movie, and the 4K transfer makes it shine.
The soundtrack is given similar treatment and blasts through the speakers to make you feel as though you’re in the middle of the action (or being chased by a monster). All in all, the technical presentation of Overlord’s 4K release is solidly handled.
The Bonus Features
The 4K release for Overlord comes with a blu-ray copy of the film, a digital copy, and these bonus features included on the blu-ray disc:
The Horrors of War
o Death Above
o Death on the Ground
o Death Below
o Death No More
o Brothers in Arms
All of these featurettes are surprisingly lengthy, breaking down the various behind the scenes process of the film from conception to creature design. Horror/monster films don’t always end up with the best bonus features, so this was a pleasant surprise to sit through, adding in more bang for your buck.