Overlord was rumored to be the fourth film in the Cloverfield Universe well before its officially announcement. The Cloververse subreddit was alive with rumors and speculation that this new ‘WWII Nazi Zombie’ film would be the next step in developing the horror anthology series but producer J. J. Abrams made it a point to deny this claim at the 2018 CinemaCon.
Despite this, plenty of people were still extremely excited to see what would become of this idea which seemed heavily influenced by games like Call of Duty’s Nazi Zombies and the Wolfenstien series.
I was one of them.
From the initial rumors up to the reveal trailer, I knew that this movie was made for me and I desperately wanted to see it. This past weekend I got the chance when I found a 4K UHD Blu-Ray at my local video store and finally got to watch it. (Yes, I still rent movies and games. Shout-out to Family Video for staying in business.)
Overlord contained all of the action I expected and over-delivered on the horror and drama aspects which caught me off guard more than once. Without sharing any major spoilers, two scenes come to mind involving the first time we visit an underground lab and a part when we meet a character’s aunt. These scenes aren’t just jump scares but genuinely build a sense of dread as the music swells up to the reveal.
One thing that surprised me is that the filmmakers opted to make the zombies fast and powerful as opposed to weak with high numbers. In total, I believe we see less than a dozen ‘living’ undead in the film, though there are several failed experiments laying about, but they make up for this by making the creatures a genuine threat that the heroes wouldn’t stand a chance against in greater numbers.
The special effects, make-up and design are all wonderful. This movie genuinely has some of the most gorgeous gore I’ve ever seen and to the casual movie-goer parts of this film would seem excessive in it’s brutality but to those who are horror/gore/macabre fans, you might be surprised at how tame it can be.
By that, I don’t mean there’s no brutality – you literally see a man have a grenade go off in his mouth – but they don’t rely on gore to get you through the movie. When it’s there, it’s a spectacular spectacle that provides an adrenaline rush and man, it. is. beautiful. But when it isn’t, you aren’t left with your arms crossed feeling cheated.
Some of the zombies look like X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s Deadpool but others, including one of the big bads, have insane detailing on every part of their body to really highlight the torn ligaments, shattered jaws, rotting teeth and shredded torsos and that’s not exclusive to the undead but also the soldiers of war well before you see any of the creatures!
In summary, Overlord isn’t great because it gives us a gorefest as everyone expected it too – it’s great because it does that and also manages to blend it beautifully with drama, conflict, tension and pain.
This isn’t just a zombie apocalypse movie. In fact, it’s nothing like one. Instead, it’s a war film that focuses on the horrors and monstrosity of man just as much as it does the undead.
Overlord is a wonderful movie that is a great way to spend an hour and forty-eight minutes of your time. If you can, check it out in 4K UHD as some scenes really stand out including an explosive ending sequence. My only regret is not seeing it in theaters.
You can find the film on digital or physical at one of the retailers below