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"A thousand-year Reich, needs thousand-year soldiers."
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Overlord is a 2018 WWII action-supernatural-horror movie starring Jovan Adepo, Pilou Asbæk, Wyatt Russell, and Bokeem Woodbine, from Paramount Pictures, produced by J. J. Abrams and directed by Julius Avery.

June 6, 1944. D-Day, Operation Overlord. That was when Allied forces invaded Normandy and liberated West Europe from the choking grip of Nazi Germany. But on the night before, a group of paratroopers is tasked to infiltrate enemy lines and bring down a radio tower. What they end up finding down below the tower, deep down below ground, is something much more sinister, much more horrifying, and much more evil than any single one of them could have possibly imagined.

Official Trailer.

Not to be confused with a completely different film, Overlord (1975), or with any other work named after Operation Overlord.

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Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Chloe, especially during the climax.
  • Adult Fear: All thanks to young Paul being a fairly wide-eyed, innocent little kid living in a Nazi-occupied village where horrific scientific experiments are taking place. The fear gets cranked up when he's taken hostage by Wafner and the next time we see him, he's strapped to a lab table, meaning Schmidt was definitely planning to do some terrible things to the poor kid. Then shortly afterwards, he runs through an active battlefield trying to get back to his house.
  • All There in the Manual: Rosenfeld's first name (Jacob), Chase’s first name (Morton), and Boyce's first name (Edward) are revealed in the film proper, but Dawson's, (Charlie) Tibbet's, (Lyle), and Ford's (Lewis) are not.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: While Rosenfeld is confirmed through his dialogue to be Jewish, Tibbet has a thick New York accent and is played by a Jewish actor, but his religion doesn't get brought up.
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  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: The opening and closing credits tracks are jarringly modern hip hop in contrast to the excellent and period-appropriate score.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end of the film, the three surviving soldiers are reassigned to another company as the war goes on.
  • Anyone Can Die: As it's a film set in WWII, it's pretty obvious that not everyone's coming back home. By the end, only three of the large unit (Boyce, Rosenfeld, and Tibbet) are left alive.
  • Arc Words: "This is the job."
  • Artistic License – History: The US Armed Forces were segregated during World War II, and African-American soldiers fought in all-black units like the Tuskegee Airmen or the 761st Tank Battalion. This means that Boyce, Dawson, and Rensin who are all black, would very much not be in an Airborne unit in Europe, and Rensin certainly wouldn't be leading a combat jump over Normandy. There was only one regiment of black paratroopers during the war, the 555th Parachute Infantry, who were barred from combat and instead spent the war fighting forest fires sparked by Japanese balloon bombs in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Attempted Rape: If being an SS officer wasn't enough of a tip that Wafner is a nasty piece of work, his first real onscreen action is threatening to have Paul sent to the church if Chloe doesn't have sex with him. Boyce stops him, but it's clear by Chloe's revulsion and Wafner's smug confidence that he's been more successful in the past.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
  • Ax-Crazy: Wafner becomes even more insane after injecting himself with a double dose of the serum. In fact, his Sanity Slippage comes hand in hand with him becoming more and more injured and healing from it, as if its healing power works on being Cast From Sanity.
  • Badass Normal: The main characters, given that they end up going against a Nazi Super Soldier project, with Boyce in particular being a draftee with only three months of training.
  • Big Bad: Captain Wafner, an SS-Hauptsturmführer, commander of the troops in the village, and the highest ranking enemy officer the main characters meet.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's a good amount of unsubtitled French and German.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Not counting the many casualties of the initial attack on the planes, the first two named characters to die are Rensin and Dawson. Offset by the protagonist also being black, and surviving.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than any other movie from J.J. Abrams or Bad Robot Productions, with graphic depictions of violence and injuries.
  • Body Horror: There's a lot of it in this movie. Nazis that are conducting human experimentation, trying to figure out the secret to still be alive even when a big chunk of your face is blown off, inevitably equals this.
  • Book-Ends: The first and final scene has Tibbet miming shooting his rifle and saying "Pow!"
  • Brooklyn Rage: Tibbet has a thick New York accent and is the most hot-headed of the group.
  • Came Back Wrong: To a greater extent than usual in zombie films, as Ford explicitly tells Boyce that Chase died the moment his heart stopped beating even if the serum brought him back to life physically. In general, this seems to be the case with those injected with the serum. As injuries pile up, the immense power needed to keep them moving and the resulting agonizing pain takes a toll on their sanity until, as in the case of Wafner, they are nothing more than snarling beasts.
  • The Cameo: Patrick Brammall appears at the end as the unidentified superior Officer Boyce meets with,
  • Cast From Sanity: A non-video game example. Evidence during the film shows that as someone who has been injected with the serum is progressively injured, their Healing Factor causes them to regress to a mindless beast, as seen in the cases of Chase and Wafner.
  • Character Development:
    • Ford's primary characterization in the film is as a hardass soldier who reminds his men that they have a job to do, and whatever the Nazis are doing under the church has nothing to do with their mission. When it comes for him to die, Ford has recognized the horrors of what's going on and orders Boyce to not let anyone, not even their own side, have the serum.
    • Boyce is a timid and rather incompetent soldier at the beginning of the film. He retains his code of honor but becomes more daring and capable as the film progresses.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The flamethrowers that the Nazis have in the church for corpse disposal get used by Chloe to dispose of a empowered test subject that's trying to eat her.
    • Wafner's lighter that was originally taken by Ford as an insult to the SS Officer is used by Ford to set off the C4 in the lab.
  • Collapsing Lair: Boyce's escape from the lab and the church at the end of the movie.
  • Consummate Professional: Sergeant Rensin, who stays clearheaded even after probably half of his damn unit get their tickets punched before they're even given the green light to parachute out of the plane.
    Rensin: This is why we're here! This is the job!
  • Cowardly Lion: Boyce is the subject of many taunts and insults due to his perceived cowardice and unwillingness to take a life, even that of a mouse that was making a mess in his unit's barracks. It doesn't change the fact that he's in the field and fighting alongside other soldiers, but is more concerned with saving lives than taking them.
  • Dead Star Walking: Bokeem Woodbine is the biggest name in the cast, and his character dies before they even reach the village when he is gunned down by German troops in front of Boyce.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: The recently deceased Chase, after being injected with the serum. First, he accidentally tosses a fully grown man across the room. Then, he shatters a support pillar with his head. Then he breaks his own neck. Then the really freaky stuff starts happening to him.
  • Dwindling Party: Most of the paratroopers don't even make it out of the jump alive. Only six make it that far, and only three survive the film.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Ford, who injects himself with the serum in order to fight Wafner.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Everyone gets one on the plane. Tibbet is caustic to everyone around him. Chase is amiable and more concerned with photographs then fighting. Ford is distant and gruff. Boyce is meek and polite.
  • Event Title: Refers to Operation Overlord, which our heroes are involved in making sure goes off without a hitch.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Wafner's dialogue turns into outright schlock when he injects himself with the serum, which his actor was grateful for.
    Pilou Asbaek: You know what? It's actually a good line. I've been using it and quoting myself. You know, every single time when you've finished a film, there's always one line where you go, "Okay, this is so over the top" — especially in Overlord, which is destined to be over the top. And that is exactly that line. "How does it feel… the blood of eternity… flowing through your veins?"'' How do you get away with saying something like that? That's why I love it so much.
  • Evil Laugh: Wafner lets out one of these moments before Boyce lights him up with an explosive canister.
  • Evil Is Petty: One of the German soldiers spits a loogie on Paul's baseball just to be an asshole.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The revived Chase after being revived by the tar.
  • Facial Horror: Wafner is shot through his cheek, leaving his mug torn apart for about half the film.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Rensin: "Any of you guys got a cigarette? Goddamn last re-"
  • A Father to His Men: Sergeant Rensin's reaction to their transport plane being barely in a single piece, one engine ablaze and taking a nose-dive? Staying clear-headed, issuing orders and making sure all of his still alive men deploy out of the flaming inferno, even if he has to personally drag them out. This is sharply contrasted with Corporal Ford, who is there to do his mission first, second and last, friendly body count be damned.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Wafner puts on a thin veneer of gentlemanly politeness initially. but it quickly becomes clear that he's a vicious and repulsive rapist, murderer, and diehard facist.
  • Feel No Pain: Anyone injected with the Serum. Demonstrated with disturbing results by Chase after he is brought back.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Before they jump, Rosenfeld tells Boyce he hopes they don't drop in the midst of a German patrol, because he is a Jew and afraid of what they might do to him. We later find out that the Germans did indeed capture him, but brought him back to the village alive for use as a live test subject. Fortunately, Boyce saves him.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Dr. Schmidt, Nazi scientist who wears a small pair of glasses.
  • Friendly Sniper: Tibbet, if only for a special kind of friendliness. He still is the most outspoken and jokey of all the characters.
  • Ghostapo: It's never explained why the tar under the village can bring people back to life but Those Wacky Nazis sure are taking advantage of it anyway.
  • A God Am I: Wafner, after injecting himself with two doses of the serum.
  • Gorn:
    • If Wafner's fate is any indication, yes.
    • The gunfire the Americans take as their plane flies over Normandy more or less rips apart anyone it touches in the most graphic manner possible.
    • Chase breaks his own neck, takes a full magazine to the chest, and ultimately is killed by Boyce bashing his head open with the butt of his rifle. All of which is shown in detail.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The survivors ultimately omit the truth about both the serum and the experiments that were going on in the village, painting the entire thing as just an ordinary mission, as both Boyce and Ford had realized that this kind of technology is better off buried underneath tons of rubble.
  • Hate Sink: Wafner is a vicious psychopath with no redeeming qualities. It's not hard to see why he was put in the command of the village operation.
  • Healing Factor: The serum is capable of resurrecting people from the dead in mere seconds and healing fatal wounds.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ford willingly stays in the church to ensure that the existing Nazi test subjects are destroyed, and to ensure the Allies don't get ahold of the serum either.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Schmidt, complete with round glasses and a butcher's coat.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Tibbet. It doesn't really matter if he's using a sniper rifle or his service pistol, he will hit the target. In the case of pistol shots, the distance seems to be no factor for him, either.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Don't worry, nothing happens to Paul, although there are some extremely close shaves.
  • Ironic Echo: Given both ways. Ford strings Wafner from a ceiling and beats the everloving shit out of him to gather information about the Nazi compound they're about to storm. When they face off again, Wafner suspends Ford from a meat hook and then beats the everloving shit out of Ford in return. Ford, like Wafer did before, retorts with "Fuck you."
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ford has to resort to beating information out of Wafner to find out how many men are in the Nazi compound.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Ford may be a hard-nosed commander, but when he realizes the scale of the Nazis' experiments, he agrees to go down underground to save Paul and take down the operation, and he ultimately sacrifices himself to destroy the compound and the serum.
    • Tibbet is a Sir Swears-a-Lot who's exasperated by what he perceives as the incompetence of his fellow soldiers, and that Paul for some reason taking a liking to him, in spite of the language barrier. Ultimately, he has a soft-spot for both and is willing to put his life on the line to protect them, even if he's teasingly condescending about it, even running through a hail of gunfire to pick up Paul and get him behind cover, getting shot in the back in the process. He lives.
  • Jump Scare: Lots, usually of the 'scene fades to silence first' variety.
  • Just Hit Him: After Wafner gains Super Strength, he spends a lot of the film simply tossing our men around rather than just breaking their bones with a punch or snapping their necks. Only really justified because Wafner is making a point of rubbing his power into his enemies' faces first.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ford's decision to torture Wafner for information is frowned upon by Boyce, but it's impossible to feel bad for the facist bastard as Chloe stabs him in the leg and Ford wails on him, especially after Wafner attempted to rape Chloe again and taunts her about her dead family.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Nazis dispose of their failed experiments with flamethrowers. Chloe later uses one while one of the more durable ones pursues her.
  • Losing Your Head: One of the Nazi experiments that Boyce finds in the lab is a woman's severed head and spine, still alive and aware enough to start begging for help.
  • Made of Iron: Wafner after he injects himself with the serum. He takes a full clip from an M1 Garand, gets impaled by a sharp piece of a pipe, and gets blown up by a gas canister. He finally dies when the entire facility gets leveled by the explosives Ford and Boyce set.
  • Meaningful Name: The movie's title comes from Operation Overlord, the real-world codename for the Battle of Normandy.
    • Boyce's first name (Edward) means 'guardian.' Ford's first name (Lewis) means 'renowned warrior.''
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A mission to destroy a German radio tower reveals the Nazi experiments to produce undead super-soldiers taking place underneath said tower.
  • Nazi Zombies: Subverted. The plan is indeed to create "thousand year soldiers" for the "thousand year Reich", but none of the creatures we see are actually zombies in the traditional sense, or even Nazis. Even Wafner wasn't dead when he injects himself with the serum.
  • Nerves of Steel: Sergeant Rensin and Corporal Ford are the only ones who aren't freaking out even a little as the commandos' plane is being shredded by flak fire.
    Rensin: Didn't I tell you ladies I'd show you a good time?!
  • Nightmare Face: Wafner's is certainly horrifying, what little remains of it. Even when it starts to grow back, it's in a mutated form, leaving him with sharp teeth on one side of his mouth and a swollen, misshapen face.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Ford recognizes that neither the Allies or the Nazis should have the serum, convincing Boyce to escape the church and blow up the compound, killing everyone inside, including Ford himself.
  • Not So Stoic: Ford tries to apply Unusually Uninteresting Sight to everything around him, from the horrors of the battlefield to his own men suddenly dying in front of him. But even he's just as horrified as everybody else in the room when Chase comes back to life after Boyce administers the serum. And that's even before the side effects begin to kick in...
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Chloe feigns ignorance of English for a while to ensure that the American soldiers are good guys. Luckily for them, they don't pull a Bilingual Backfire.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Rensin is shot dead by German soldiers despite being unarmed.
  • One-Word Title: Overlord.
  • The Oner:
    • The parachuting scene, where the plane is torn apart by ground fire and Boyce is literally thrown into the fray.
    • One where Boyce is running out of the facility for dear life as the explosives he and Ford set up brings it down around him.
  • Oracular Head: Boyce encounters one of these when exploring the lab, and he is pretty freaked out by it. The head is of a French woman who begs for help.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The people the Nazis experiment on are explicitly stated to have been dead and brought back to life by Schmidt's serum, but all of them Came Back Wrong with healing factors, Super Strength, and gruesome Body Horror. Some of the experiments seen near the end of the film, while not that mutated, noticeably wander like traditional zombies. The serum itself isn't communicable through bites, and instead is derived from an unknown black tar that has been processed through the blood of the "volunteers". They are also not put down by shooting them in the head, instead requiring significantly more drastic measures.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Boyce escaping the church before the entire place blows up.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The commandos were just supposed to knock out a German radio tower, and are as taken aback by the human experimentation (and worse) occurring in the village as you might expect them to be.
  • Pet the Dog: After spending several scenes annoyed by Paul's attention, during the climax, Tibbet runs out during a hail of enemy gunfire to pick him up from hiding behind a car to get him to safe cover, getting non-fatally shot in the back in the process.
  • Playing with Syringes: Those Nazis are super guilty of this.
    Ford, holding the syringe to Wafner's face: What is this?
    Wafner: A thousand-year army needs thousand-year soldiers.
  • Politically Correct History: Not only does the film indulge in some Artistic License – History by racially integrating the paratrooper unit, but all of the white soldiers seem to be colorblind, as not one of them brings up the race of their sergeant, Dawson, or Boyce. The only problem they have with Boyce is his lackluster conduct during basic training.
  • The Quisling: One of Chloe's neighbors blows a literal whistle on her because she's out after dark.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Our heroes who are going up against a small army entrenched in a French village. Lampshaded when Chase says, "There's a lot of soldiers out there and there's only four of us," and that was even before they took on the compound.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Wafner tries to rape Chloe, but Boyce stops him, forcing the commandos to take him prisoner.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: During the parachute drop at the beginning, composer Jed Kurzel reuses and edited in his track "The Med Bay" from his Alien: Covenant score.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: This appears to be one of the three effective ways of killing the zombies, apart from being burned to death or blown apart.
  • Reality Ensues: Most of the paratroopers (including ultra-badass Sergeant Rensin, although he at least makes it to the ground in one piece) are killed when the plane is riddled with flak-fire and ripped in half over the jump zone. Only a handful of men are able to link up on the ground and avoid the German patrols, and Corporal Ford has to take over the mission because he’s the only NCO that even makes it that far.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: After spending the bulk of the film as a victim or a passive observer, Chloe goes on the offensive once Paul is captured, joining in on the dangerous rescue mission without a second thought and racking up a surprising body count.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • When Wafner attempts to rape Chloe, Boyce defies orders and stops him from going through with it, risking his squad being detected by the Nazis by taking an SS officer hostage but fully gaining Chloe's trust.
    • After Paul is taken hostage by Wafner, Boyce refuses to follow Ford's orders and tells him to his face that they have to destroy the lab to prevent its horrors from getting out into the world. Ford ultimately pretty much says, "Fuck it, let's do it."
    • At the end, Boyce and Ford decide the black tar is best left destroyed and buried away where nobody can find it, and Ford stays behind to make sure this happens. Boyce later lies when his superiors ask if the rumors that have been going around about an underground lab are true, and instead says that they didn't find anything like that.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Implied when the soldiers arrive in the village, as they walk past burning crucifixes, as if the pit with the tar-like substance under the church had been sealed away by the church built on top of it - a seal that has now been broken by the Nazis.
  • Shown Their Work: Rosenfeld fires a captured MG-34, though his accuracy and rate of fire leaves much to be desired, and he must clear jams frequently. When Tibbet criticizes his shooting, they correctly point out that the MG-34 is supposed to be crewed by two soldiers, one to aim and shoot, with the other to reload, ensure the rounds feed correctly, and change the barrel when it overheats.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Corporal Ford previously lost his entire unit in Italy, and is noticeably more morose and pragmatic then the rest of the squad.
  • Slasher Smile: Wafner gives us one that's even more horrifying than most because half his face is missing when he does it.
  • The Sociopath: Captain Wafner, a ruthless Nazi colonel who genuinely believes that everybody else is lesser than the Germans and exists to be exploited by them. He takes over a small French village and begins using the villagers as guinea pigs for incredibly painful super soldier experiments, viewing it as the only way to make them useful, using the threat of being taken away as incentive for him to terrorize and rape the townsfolk while he's at it.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Paul keeps pulling this off, much to Tibbet's annoyance.
  • Suicide Attack: The Americans use a captured German to launch an unwilling one on his own side to clear the entrance to the compound.
  • Super Soldier: The intended result of the German experiments with the unknown substance they found and turned into a serum. It does enhance the subject's physicality and durability, but it has the problem of making the recipients go insane. At least, the initial batches. When Wafner takes an updated double dosage, he maintains his normal intelligence, probably because he wasn't dead when he injected himself.
  • Super Strength: The German Super Soldier project results in men who can shrug off bullets, survive point-blank gasoline explosions, break wooden support beams with a light headbutt, effortlessly Neck Lift men in full combat gear, toss people around like ragdolls, pulverize walls with their punches, and so on.
  • Supporting Leader: First Rensin and then Ford end up in charge of the unit, but the main character is Boyce, who's under their command.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Dawson is vaporized by a landmine in the middle of a sentence.
  • Tainted Veins: Anyone injected with the serum begins to exhibit these.
  • That Man Is Dead: Ford tells Boyce that Chase died the minute he was injected with the serum.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • Marketing made no effort to hide the image of Wafner with half his face blown off and smiling.
    • The extended trailer has a scene where one of the commandos clearly states there are only four of them left, spoiling just how many of them make it into the target village alive, although Boyce does find Rosenfeld, alive and captured, and save him.)
  • Unobtainium: The black tar. It's only found under this one village in France and, when refined with human blood, creates a serum that the Nazis hope to use to create super-soldiers.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: A particularly long one from an American paratrooper shortly after the plane is hit at the beginning of the film.
  • War Is Hell: It is even before you bring the zombies into the mix.
  • Weird Historical War: WWII zombie super-soldiers, ladies and gentlemen!
  • We Need a Distraction: To provide an opening for Boyce, Ford, and Chloe to sneak into the church, they launch an attack on its main entrance, including turning a German soldier into an unwilling suicide bomber.
  • Wham Shot: The first sign that there's something beyond simple medical experimentation in the compound beneath the church is when Boyce hears a voice behind a curtain and pulls it back to reveal a still-living severed human head.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Chase's last words were, "What the hell did you do to me, Ed?!?!" after Boyce shot him full of the serum, unaware of the full extent of its effects.
  • Wicked Cultured: Wafner may be an evil bastard, but he's not unintelligent. In addition to his native German, he also speaks French and English fluently.
  • You Are in Command Now: Corporal Ford is forced to take charge of what's left of the unit.

"What's behind that wall? What do you do to those people?"
"...They have been given a purpose."

Alternative Title(s): Overlord

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