Overlord: A Film Review

Many are not fond of the work J.J. Abram’s Bad Robot Productions has produced. I have personally been a fan since the glory days of "Lost". Viewers might recognize the name Abrams, as he has worked on other films such as the first two "Star Trek" films, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and upcoming "Star Wars: Episode IX," "Mission Impossible," "Super 8," the Cloverfield trilogy and now "Overlord."

"Overlord" was produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Julius Avery. It hit theaters Nov. 9. One of the more promising films for the months line up, which I have eagerly anticipated since rumors first surfaced.

After the release of "The Cloverfield Paradox," fans were expecting Overlord to tie into the Cloverfield movie universe Adams established. As both "10 Cloverfield Lane" and "The Cloverfield Paradox" films originated from low budget spec scripts, which are non-commissioned and unsolicited screenplays. Considering the fact the second and third films were not originally pitched as Cloverfield films, but were later adapted into it made the possibility of "Overlord" being one much more intriguing. If it did in fact turn out to continue to Cloverfield story, this would make it the fourth film in the series.

Overlord’s title is a reference to Operation Overlord, which was the code name for the Battle of Normandy aka D-Day. Based off the trailer alone, one would assume they are diving into another senseless zombie massacre film. Movie trailers are misleading at times, you expect a grindhouse-esque Nazi zombie shoot ’em up film, but instead end up with more of a World War II thriller that incorporates horror elements.

Overlord’s opening scene is horrifying as It introduces the main characters just as they are on an airplane approaching decent into Nazi-occupied France. Showing extreme close ups of fidgety hands and the uneasy faces of the young and unfortunate soldiers that were living normal lives just weeks prior. As with most war films, the audience is presented with a cast of macho men but what I liked about the cast of "Overlord" was that they appeared as if they didn't belong. Composed of an average set of looking guys which made them more sympathetic.

Actor Jovan Adepo’s character, Boyce, reveals he couldn't even bring himself to hurt a mouse during basic training, giving viewers a sense of the people fighting in this nightmare. Whether a strategic thought by the director or completely unintentional, it added to the experience as the film features exceptional character development, something recent horror films have been lacking.

With a great use of sound and score, Overlord does not rely on measly jump scares to instill fear into its viewers. The score amplified and reinforced the emotions of the scenes presented. With a running time of an hour and 48 minutes, Overlord is tense from beginning to end, but it is not the Nazi zombie film viewers were expecting to see. Like previously stated, Overlord was more of a World War II thriller with a touch of Nazi experimented zombies thrown into the mix.

Regardless, I thought the film was most excellent and fresh, as an original piece of work is always appreciated. Nothing is as exciting as going into something blind, not having an expectation for the fear of ruining the experience if not met. I went in expecting one type of movie and, in a way, I’m glad my expectations were not met, on the contrary it made for a better film experience since I had no idea how things were going to unfold. I give Overlord a strong 8 out of 10 for the thrill ride, and the edge of your seat experience it presented. I just wish it had a tad more of that classic zombie slaying action.