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Horror 101, Session 2: Nazi Experiments

Overlord follows a squad of American soldiers in WWII that are dropped in the middle of France to take down a Nazi radio tower. After severe casualties, the crew of soldiers discover there is more to this tower than meets the eye and the Nazis are experimenting on the surrounding villagers with gruesome and terrifying results.

Overlord Review

As we discussed on our podcast, Efrit was able to see Overlord before me, but I was able to catch it this past weekend. I'll be briefly summarizing Efrit's thoughts in here along with mine, as we drew similar conclusions on the subject matter.

So where exactly does Overlord fall on the spectrum of horror, thriller, action and war drama? It's a rather even blend of all four, creating a powerfully effective and entertaining film that seems to feed off the best of each genre it pulls from. It doesn't drag, it limits its campy moments, doesn't take itself too seriously, but also carries a sense of meaningful weight.

I think Efrit nailed it on the head saying that the film is as much about the war elements of its plot as it is about the horror, if not more so. The juxtaposition of the horrors of war with the horrors of...well...horror works to drive home the impact of what makes war so traumatizing to its participants. As Efrit said, some of the scariest moments of the movie have nothing to do with the monster zombies it houses.

Speaking of zombie monsters...it's an interesting take on the iconic and saturated horror icon of the traditional zombie. But it isn't solely unique, carrying attributes of random zombie designs and the Nazi experiment gone wrong, which, as we discussed in our podcast, isn't something particularly untouched.

While I appreciated the film's clashing of genres, I was inevitably disappointed in the amount of legit horror elements. Somehow there is a good amount of it, but I felt hungry for more. Perhaps it's not because I wasn't satisfied, but that the film was so much fun that I just didn't want it to end.

The film does boast some pretty great horror moments. The scene in the attic that introduces us to the catalyst of the zombie concept is brilliantly done, and is almost equally funny and unsettling at the same time, which is hard to pull off. I can't deny the great parts of the movie and its overall success, but it just has moments of leaving me wishing they'd taken it further. Love him or hate him, Abrams-associated films don't make me feel that way very often.

Horror Rating System

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 7/10

Film Quality: 7/10

© 2020 Sickle and Efrit | Dalton Vanhooser & Kyle Hagan