You have to give J.J. Abrams credit. For the last eleven years, he’s been surprising audiences with films he manages to make under the radar and then unleashes them on an unsuspecting audience.
The most recent was November’s Overlord, which had trailers that lulled you into thinking Abrams was producing his first war film. But, after the soldiers are dropped into Nazi-occupied territory, the creepy stuff starts and then you know you’re in for a horror thriller.
Operation Overlord, of course, was the code name for D-Day, June 6, 1944, a turning point in World War II and ripe for exploration, or in this case, exploitation. Once director Julius Avery plops Private Boyce (Jovan Adepo) and Corporal Ford (Wyatt Russell) behind enemy lines to disrupt the supply lines and mess with communications, things proceed apace. However, once they enter a church, things get creepy. Heinous activities have been happening beneath the holy structure, the kinds of things that would give even Dr. Josef Mengele nightmares.
The men gain help from a young local woman (Mathilde Ollivier) and they set to work to dismantle the experiments and complete their assigned mission. Of course, things go awry from here and Avery amps up the pace and the horrors begin. We shift from war to horror and there’s nary a let up
This is a pure horror film and there’s mayhem and gore aplenty, with a score to match the special effects, a concert of mayhem you don’t usually associate with a Bad Robot production.
The film, out this week from Paramount Home Entertainment, is an uneven production, marred by a tedious middle and nondescript characters so you don’t feel much for the leads. It’s really a throwback B film that has superior production values. If you like this sort of stuff, it’ll be a thrill ride. For the rest of us, it’s more meh than eek.
The film is out in a variety of formats including the newly regular 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD combo pack. The 4K disc certainly has sharper colors and depth, a noticeably superior image to the Blu-ray (which is an excellent 1080p transfer). For a film of this nature to work best, the audio track has to be superior and here, Paramount delivers a brilliant Dolby Atmos soundtrack.
Note that the 4K disc comes with no extras but the Blu-ray contains a six-part behind-the-scenes The Horrors of War: Creation (11:04), Death Above (7:18), Death on the Ground (9:16), Death Below (6:25), Death No More (1080p, 12:19), and Brothers in Arms (5:03). There’s some interesting stuff in this 51-minute making of lore but it’s interesting there are no deleted scenes.