Even before the first zombie movie, ‘White Zombie,’ people have been obsessed with the undead; the once living, neighbors, friends, relatives, now reanimated and attempting to eat you alive. This concept may be overused in today’s culture, but it was once terrifying.
Creating a modern best of list is difficult, as “best,” to some, may mean scariest, but to others, it may mean cinematic, drama or even humorous. And to others still, it may mean general, quality movie standards of creative story telling and developed, transformative characters. This list will include all of the above and is a recommended watch list for anyone willing to see people eating other people.
TV, Top5 (– wait, are there more than 5?)
‘The Walking Dead‘ always deserves a mention in anything zombie, I mean, walkers, sorry Robert Kirkman. The first episode is still one of the best, created by Hollywood cinematographer, David Tatersall, and set the tone for the entire series. I wish AMC never fired him; the end of season 1 and the entirety of season could have been good. It got better, of course, and some of those episodes in season 5 and 6 were truly amazing. I personally feel, mid-Negan, the show has gone down hill and lost its appeal to many; (hoping it gets better). I spoke with Robert Kirkman, mid-season 6; he explained that ‘The Walking Dead’ is still in its first act of storytelling. Not sure how that will play out with Andrew Lincoln, ‘Rick,’ leaving the show. AMC will hang on to this show as long as possible, so maybe the overall plan is to realize the big picture story with additional spin-off series like the underwhelming ‘Fear The Walking Dead;’ just make a show about the beginning of the apocalypse, not ‘West Coast Walking Dead,’ it’s not CSI. I did, however, enjoy the brief ‘Flight 462,’ for the mere fact that you cannot escape walkers on a plane.
‘Z Nation’ is just not worth mentioning, aw crap, I mean besides now. Zombie baby, #noop.
CW’s ‘iZombie‘ is a happy-go-lucky tv series that is all fun and will get you to anticipate each entree Liv Moore creates in every episode. The moral of the series is don’t chase drugs with energy drinks. Or maybe it’s the living and the undead should never date? Anyway, it’s nothing like the comic.
‘Santa Clarita Diet‘ is hysterical all the way through. (if you’re reading this from a time capsule, there are only 2 seasons so far, so I can’t speak for future seasons). What happens when a realtor, or real-a-tor, from the ‘burbs starts to crave human flesh? Does she eat her misogynistic neighbor?
Let’s get the comedy out of the way first..
‘Life After Beth.’ Aubry Plaza makes this film fun to watch. Unexplained zombie outbreak in suburbia.
Fido is like ‘Leave It To Beaver’ 50s style television, but with zombies, you’ll love it!
Zombieland is a how-to guide to surviving the zombie apocalypse, with great rules to live by. Not only is it entertaining, but it’s a good film as well. I truly loved this movie.
‘Shaun of the Dead‘ is a masterful modern classic, with comedy only Edgar Wright can deliver, and overall, it’s a really good movie. Pulling the blind down to ignore the zombies was a classic scene. Also, setting the stage in the beginning, with people zoning out on the bus before the outbreak is genius. Watch and re-watch.
Drama, action, suspense & horror:
‘Warm Bodies.’ If you can handle a “zo-mance,” where zombies fall in love and retain human-like qualities, with a happy ending, then this may be for you.
‘Dead Snow‘ (Norwegian, subtitles). Nazi zombies unearthed in Norway cause havoc. Gory action, with humor.
‘Resident Evil.’ The first one was clearly the best in the Milla Jovovich series, but every one is entertaining & promises the Umbrella Corporation, so cool in that regard. Yes, the game is better, but the movies will be rebooted soon and promise more Umbrella Corp, so I’ll be watching.
‘The Rezort.’ (I still believe ‘Last Rezort’ would have been a better title). A solid movie, with a concise a story, but rather generic. After the zombie outbreak, zombies were defeated, but not eradicated, just put on an island to shoot for recreation. It’s like Jurassic Park, but with zombies, what could go wrong?
‘Here Alone.’ An indie zombie film. A woman accustomed to isolation in the woods, has her routine upended when she encounters a father and daughter. I liked how you heard the zombies throughout the film, knowing their presence was nearby, but only saw the creatures at the end.
‘World War Z.’ Once bitten, you have 11 seconds before you turn. You can’t outrun the turned. If you do manage to escape into a large building, they’ll just pile themselves up a hundred feet high until they breach the building. I’m not spoiling anything am I? I feel like the plot was a little muddled, and it felt like the ending didn’t fit the rest of the film, but it did have some great scenes.
‘Cargo‘ was a nice film about a man protecting his family. I feel like they traveled in circles the entire film. I enjoyed it, with great performances, but they didn’t follow their own zombie rules at the end.
‘I Am Legend.’ Nope, they were vampires. Yes, it was an apocalyptic movie, like ‘Stakeland,’ but, again, vampires, not zombies. The book had both ravenous zombie-like, flesh-eating vampires, as well as, civilized, societal vampires.
‘Maggie.’ Clearly the best acting performance of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career. His daughter has been bitten and slowly turns. He comforts and connects with her and gradually lets go of his child, knowing there is nothing he can do to stop the change.
‘The Horde‘ (Belgian, subtitles). A good film, despite its flaws. A zombie outbreak occurs during a police raid on a notorious criminal gang; they must team up in order to survive.
‘28 Weeks Later.’ A good sequel to a great film.
‘Rammbock‘ (German, subtitles). The true spirit of a zombie horror flick; it’s suspenseful, scary and has cinematography that enhances the scenes.
‘The Battery.’ A true low-budget indie film, and one of the best on this list. It tells a story, a good story, of two former minor league baseball players, hence the bats, dealing with the end of civilization, loneliness and the need to connect with other human beings, in an apocalyptic landscape.
‘Ravenous‘ (2017, there are many movie titles by this name). (French, subtitles). Really good! This movie brings suspense back to zombie films, a must-watch.
Scariest, for me, on this list would go to ‘[REC]‘ (Spanish, subtitles). Other titles on this list have scary moments and overall creepiness, but this found footage horror movie is edge-of-your-seat thrilling. The American remake, ‘Quarantine,’ and both of [REC]’s sequels were not very good.
‘Dawn of the Dead.’ George Romero’s 1968 ‘Night of the Living Dead’ created the zombie film genre, and his 1978 ‘Dawn of the Dead’ perfected it. This original recipe, classic horror film sets the stage for everything zombie to follow. The 2004 Zack Snyder ‘Dawn of the Dead’ reboot is a non-stop action film, quite different from the original; a must-watch for any zombie fan.
‘28 Days Later.’ Danny Boyle completely changed the zombie rules, which revitalized the genre with this suspenseful film. ’28 Days’ is the first movie to depict zombies as mad, crazed-sprinters; run for your life! These zombies created so much more tension as a result. Also just one drop of infected blood can turn someone in an instant. However, I felt the last portion of this movie was little uninteresting, compared to its thrilling beginning.
‘Train to Busan‘ is my favorite on this list. It’s a Chinese, action-thriller that is suspenseful from beginning to end. It’s everything a zombie film should be. Just watch it.
If I missed a zombie movie title that you loved, by all means, scream at me in the comments. I mean, you may get blocked, but I would love to hear your opinion, not really, but I would like to know if there is a good film that I missed or haven’t seen.