Bad Robot Productions has been delivering audiences riveting sci-fi and horror films full of complex mysteries for more than a decade, gifting audiences with experiences like the TV series Lost and the Cloverfield films. An unintentional drawback to the studio building such a reputation is that virtually all films developed by the studio ignite speculation about how it ties into its other films. In the case of Overlord, it is categorically not a Cloverfield film, which makes the unique sci-fi horror film feel even more rewarding.
In the film, a group of soldiers lands in France on the eve of D-Day and has a mission to carry out that will make the historical invasion a success, only to uncover a horrifying secret the Nazis have been keeping which threatens the entire world.
Largely as a result of the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moviegoers have been trained in recent years to analyze every element of a genre film in search of clues. We don't always know what those clues are, but we always want to be prepared for how a film might reference an established franchise or stick around after the credits to see if we learn any hints about what's next in the narrative.
Overlord doesn't have a post-credits sequence and it doesn't have Easter eggs references to other franchises. Instead, fans are delivered a riveting narrative full of suspense, humor, and unexpected plot twists. It also offers audiences hints that the journey of the film's characters might not be over, though we are still delivered a fulfilling conclusion that doesn't require a follow-up adventure. Being gifted a unique piece of fiction that can be consumed and enjoyed in one sitting bucks the current trend of blockbusters merely only being one piece of a puzzle.
The original Cloverfield was merely a monster movie told in a found footage format, which included a variety of clues that fans could dissect to learn the true nature of the creature's origins, allowing us to explore the mystery long after the credits rolled. 10 Cloverfield Lane delivered audiences a completely disconnected narrative from its predecessor, with the link being both films were compelling sci-fi thrillers. This year's The Cloverfield Paradox drew more connections to the original film, with many audiences considering these components as the detracting elements of an otherwise original sci-fi film.
Complicating matters further was last year's Split, a film completely detached from the Cloverfield franchise, that ultimately included a reference to the 2000 film Unbreakable, confirming M. Night Shyamalan's latest was a secret sequel to the Bruce Willis superhero story. This planted the seed in audiences' heads that any movie they went to see, no matter how it was marketed, could end up being connected to something more established.
The immediate connection of fans knowing Overlord was a Bad Robot film and the assumption it was a Cloverfield film isn't inherently bad, as even director Julius Avery doesn't mind the comparison.
“Not everything that that comes out of [Bad Robot] is going to be a Cloverfield movie,” Avery shared with shared with io9. “The Cloverfield franchise is really cool and because it’s so cool, [people] see the Bad Robot logo, they see J.J. Abrams’ name, and they put two and two together. This is its own beast but it’s great that everyone was showing a lot of interest in it.”2comments
The release of Overlord and its lack of connection to Cloverfield is a win-win for movie fans, as we still get a compelling sci-fi thriller and the film's accomplishments could result in an all-new franchise that runs parallel to the Cloverfield series, forcing each franchise to bring their A-game when it comes to delivering audiences rivetting tales of terror.
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