JJ Abrams-produced this movie, which makes it interesting to check out even if the trailer makes it look like a B-movie.
It is a B-movie in terms of storytelling but self-aware enough that you’ll go along with the ride. Overlord, just by the introduction, riffs on old-school horror tropes.
It’s well made, with some immersive camerawork and decent acting.
The production value is modest but there’s enough here to provide a decent backdrop and set pieces for the plot.
That’s the operating word here – modest.
Overlord sets expectations early on that you’re going to turn your brain off and prepare yourself to gloss over contrivances. The problem is despite having the advantage of low expectations and a narrative that lends itself to campy fun escapism, it provides too little.
The action sequences are monotonous with the occasional use of gory visual effects. The horror elements here are nicely rendered but used in generic ways – a couple of jumpscares here, a chase there, and an uninspired showdown.
There’s a moral commentary here underneath its sci-fi gimmick. When you stop thinking about the fact that within the context of this movie Anne Frank could be a reanimated corpse, Overlord is about how violence makes monsters out of men. But that’s just a footnote in a popcorn movie.
It’s clear that it’s about Nazis and zombies. But how the movie uses them is perfunctory that I wonder what a better director, say, Guillermo del Toro, could have done.
Overall, Overlord is like a mediocre videogame with repetitive gameplay, recycled imagery, and cardboard characters that you can finish in half a day. It has decent enough graphics that you buy it, play along, and forget it once you’re done watching the end credits.
Overlord doesn't offer anything beyond Nazis and zombies, but its disposable entertainment is enough to pass the time.