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Overlord

Year: 2018
Production Co: Bad Robot
Studio: Paramount
Director: Julius Avery
Producer: JJ Abrams
Writer: Billy Ray/Mark L Smith
Cast: Jovan Adept, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Olivier, Pilou Asbæk

What a cool, snappy, effective little horror thriller. There was some comment around about the wisdom of enmeshing a serious World War II story with what turns out to be a monster mash, but director Julius Avery treats every moment of tension and every emotional beat seriously at every step, never once winking at the audience or giving the characters any let-up.

A team of US GIs are tasked with airdropping behind Nazi lines on the eve of D-Day, where they have to make their way to a rural French village to destory the German radio installation that could blow the whistle on the whole invasion.

So for the first half, while it might not be quite as much of an awards-worthy drama like of Saving Private Ryan et al, it's as authentic and hair raising a depiction of European theatre action as you've seen in any number of WWII movies.

Once there, it doesn't quite shift on a dime as quick as From Dusk Till Dawn, and the second act takes its time outlining the nightmare the squad is walking into, but suffice it to say that by the bloody climxa, it's morphed into something else entirely.

To reveal what's actually going on thanks to the bespectacled scientist and the hollowed out tunnels and catacombs of the dank French hamlet would be to say too much. Also – curiously for such a good movie – it actually doesn't coalesce into something as readily identifiable as 'vampires', 'zombies' or similar, which makes the premise both hard to describe and ends up a bit of a damp squib narratively.

But it's a cool, fun little B movie premise treated with reverence for the genre and it's all delivered with nerve-sawing tension, explosive action and gore, a sense of proper horror movie menace and great performances, story and script. There's little more to say about it and little not to love.

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