A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Overlord is an extremely gory horror/war movie set during WWII that involves the reanimated dead: twisted, crazed monsters (some of which are burned with flamethrowers). Expect nonstop blood, guns/shooting, explosions, and dead bodies. A woman is chased and grabbed at, and a Nazi officer tries to rape a woman but is interrupted. Characters are punched, beaten, kicked, bashed with blunt objects, sliced and stabbed (with a knife twisted in the wound). There's also impalement, smashed brains and gore, a hole in a face, an exploding head, and severed limbs. Minor characters smoke, and characters swear frequently, including "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." None of this is treated comically, and it can be shocking -- but it's also well-made and surprisingly thoughtful (and, for adult fans of extreme horror, crazy fun).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In OVERLORD, a group of American soldiers has the task of parachuting into France to knock out a Nazi radio transmitter in a church. They have just hours to complete their mission before American forces land at Normandy. But their plane is shot down, and several men don't survive the landing. Only Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell), Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo), and a few others make it. In the woods, they meet a French woman, Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier), who lives near the church and helps them. But something is very wrong with Chloe's aunt. Then, a Nazi officer (Pilou Asbaek) intrudes and complicates matters. Things get even trickier when Boyce finds his way into the basement of the church and discovers a secret laboratory, where astonishing, horrifying experiments are under way. The small band of ragtag Americans must face impossible odds if the day is to be saved.
Is it any good?
This ultra-gory hybrid movie is more fun than a typical war movie and more intense than a typical horror movie. Produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Julius Avery, Overlord -- which feels something like Inglourious Basterds crossed with Re-Animator -- goes along for the first hour as if it were an ordinary WWII movie, albeit one that's rather noisy and with quite a lot of shaky-cam footage. But it's a good story, with interesting characters, and it works. Then, not unlike From Dusk Till Dawn -- which suddenly morphed from one kind of movie into another -- Overlord goes completely bonkers.
For a while, Avery drops a few curious hints, and then the surprises keep getting bigger and more shocking. Curiously, the director's camerawork improves here, too, roaming the spaces of Chloe's home, with its nifty attic space, and the lower reaches of the church, with its bubbling wells of mysterious ooze and racks of sinister scientific equipment, with new clarity and purpose. Despite a few clichés, the performances are likewise rich, with Adepo (Fences) bringing a strong sense of good into the den of nastiness. As a bonus, the screenplay by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith (The Revenant) ponders the concept of evil in an interesting way, specifically the pure evil of Nazis compared to the violent methods used by the Americans who are trying stop them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Overlord's extreme violence. What effect did it have? Did it scare you? Did it make you squeal or laugh? Does exposure to violent media make kids more aggressive?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies?
Were you expecting a debate about the necessity of violence from this kind of movie? Do you agree with Boyce's viewpoint?
Is Boyce a role model? Why or why not?
- In theaters: November 9, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: February 19, 2019
- Cast: Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, Jovan Adepo
- Director: Julius Avery
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, disturbing images, language, and brief sexual content
- Last updated: July 16, 2020
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