Overlord is an unexpectedly entertaining film that has many aspects about it that leaves it memorable in the production and so cheesy in its execution that it feels like it came straight from the ‘90s.
The film is set in the Second World War where a group of American soldiers needs to take over a church in a small French town and end up encountering a variety of horrors on their journey.
The first things that people should know is that this isn’t a zombie film. The fact that it was both advertised as that with the synopsis even stating this, to begin with, is very misleading. Zombies are not prominent in the film except for the last act and a few seconds in the middle act. The zombies in the movie are well designed and do add to the film, yet to claim them as such an integral part of the film is false marketing on the film’s behalf.
The next thing that needs to be addressed is the amount of cheese that is in this film. If a movie about a group of Americans killing Nazis and eventually the supernatural seems attractive to you, you’ll love Overlord. And that’s all right, sometimes an art piece that is mindless can be done well and in this film, it is.
The action does hold a viewers attention right from the start, with the opening scene, in particular, being quite jarring. As well, the effects of some of the scenes are well crafted, leaving a majority of people unsettled. There are multiple scenes where it can be utterly disturbing and does deserve to be recognized.
When gore is used correctly, it can convey a sense of reality to the situation that most audiences don’t witness quite that often and can place someone in such a feeling of uneasiness that it becomes memorable. Sometimes, this is done for the better, with films such as this one or the first three Saw movies and sometimes it doesn’t add much, like in Saw IV, V and VI or The Human Centipede.
The failures of the film, however; are in the writing, where there is nothing about the characters that is interesting. The only way of identifying anyone in the film are their traits, where the main character is a pacifist, the sergeant is the leader and then there’s the one who is scared of war, etc. The show isn’t bad due to these factors, it just adds to the cheesiness of it all, which is noticeable while watching. The pacing is also a bit rough with such a great start to be riddled down by a slower middle to then finally pick up when it gets to the end.
A decent film doesn’t need to have such big philosophies or giant premises attached to it for it to be enjoyable. And what Overlord does well is that it shows scenes that can both separate itself from any mediocre action film and yet still be contained enough to be enjoyable for most audiences.