Updated: Jul 7, 2019
I knew about Overlord for a while because it was the long-rumored 4th Cloverfield movie (which would probably be titled Cloverlord). Turns out this isn’t what the movie is at all, despite some consideration of the idea. Still, the idea of a World War 2 Nazi Zombie movie sounded like something exciting, and I was looking forward to it after hearing that it was good. While Overlord isn’t quite the Nazi Zombie movie that was advertised, it is nonetheless a really bloody and entertaining movie, a nearly perfectly executed B movie.
A couple of things first, firstly as I mentioned this isn’t tied to the Cloverfield universe in any way, and honestly it’s all the better for it, it feels like its own sort of movie and it is not tied down to other movies or cinematic universes. Second of all, as I said earlier, Overlord is not really a Nazi zombie movie even though the trailers sort of made it seem like that. Not only does it take a while before it gets to that aspect, but they aren’t even really zombies. I can’t really describe it but let’s just say the ‘zombies’ here aren’t really like the zombies from Call of Duty. Overlord is more comparable to the Wolfenstein games. It really is a World War 2 action movie with a horror aspect to it, with Nazis as the villains. This is a B movie, it’s not full of great in-depth characters or an interesting plot, but it knows what kind of movie it is. Yet, it plays it straight-faced enough that you care enough about what’s going on, and so it doesn’t just become a goofy action horror comedy. The plot is simple enough and doesn’t get convoluted really at any point. The movie is an hour and 50 minutes long and that was the right length for the movie really, from start to finish I was really entertained by what was going on.
The cast generally does well in their roles. The main squad is pretty typical and familiar for a war movie like this. You have Wyatt Russell as the hardcore and hardened explosive expert who is solely focused on the mission and nothing else. And the characters don’t border on the cartoonish side either. They aren’t given a lot of depth (some of them don’t really get any) but for this type of movie, it doesn’t really prove itself a problem. They also have enough chemistry that you care about them enough. The main soldier character is played by Jovan Adepo and he was great, he was likable and believable in his role. The other soldiers were good as well, especially Wyatt Russell and Iain De Caestecker, even though the latter didn’t have a ton of things to do, he was really good with what he had (and had a particularly memorably great scene, one of the best in the film). The Nazis were also really good as villains but the standout is Pilou Asbæk as a Nazi officer who really ends up being the most central antagonist of the Nazis. Asbæk is so great at being absolutely hateable and ultimately worked well as the main villain.
While Overlord definitely is a B movie, it is actually directed really well by Julius Avery, I haven’t seen any his previous movie Son of a Gun but he did very well with this movie at least. The action scenes themselves are also well directed, you can see what’s going on and they are all rather entertaining. The practical effects also deserve a lot of praise, I think the vast majority of the effects are practical and I’m glad for that, it really paid off. There are some really gratifying and grotesquely gory moments and deaths. While it's not a full-on horror movie, it has a lot of horror aspects to it, and the body horror side of it was really strong (much more than when they tried to do genuine scares, with overuse of jump scares which didn’t really work). The score by Jed Kurzel also added a lot to the scenes, amping up the tension even more. The only out of place bit of music was during the end credits, which really didn’t fit at all.
You may be a little disappointed if you’re expecting Overlord to be a Nazi Zombie movie based off the trailers, but it is still a really entertaining action-horror flick. The actors all did well, the direction of the movie is great, it’s entertaining from start to finish, it really handles well all the aspects needed in a B movie. If you’re into violent action B movies and if Overlord looks good to you, this is definitely right up your alley, and you’re going to have a lot of fun with it. I'm going to give Overlord an 8 out of 10.