What are some of the best zombie movies to watch? What is the thing that we are ALL most afraid of? Death, right? What could be worse? There’s an answer to that.
A dead person that refuses to die! Welcome to the imaginary world of zombies.
The first zombie film, White Zombie, was made by Garnett Weston in 1932, and since then, zombies have captured the human imagination.
The Popularity of Zombie Movies
The zombie movie genre has been a staple genre in the movies and on TV for almost 90 years. There is just something about the concept of zombies that just keeps drawing us back. They fulfill our need to play out our fears; fears of extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and the death of the ego.
These five essential traits of zombies, coupled with the fact that zombie horror movies come in all shapes and sizes, from thriller to drama and even comedy, keep us coming back for more.
Why Are There So Many Zombie Movies?
In addition to their crushing popularity, producers are incentivized to keep making new horror movies for several reasons. The first of these is a lower budget which, in turn, gives way to higher returns – zombies are good business.
There is also the fact that the premise of zombies alone can guarantee that there will be suspenseful and engaging action. If you are interested in dipping your toe into the top zombie movies, we’ve prepared a list of them.
8 Best Zombie Movies – Ranked and Reviewed
If you are interested in dipping your toe into the proverbial zombie water, we’ve prepared a list of the top zombie movies to help you kick off your search.
Zombie Apocolypse (2011)
A plague almost wipes out the population, and the movie follows the survival attempts of groups of survivors. Inevitable losses from fighting off swarms of attacking zombies attracted to noise provide action, suspense, and emotionally charged moments.
At one point, the group members have to hold down one of them who has been bitten so that another group member can snap his neck to avoid him changing fully into a zombie.
Directed by the multiple awards winning Nick Lyon, this is one of the zombie films that bring you close to despair but still manage to leave you with a glimmer of hope for humanity’s eventual survival, as the movie ends with the notion that some survivors will make it onto the ferry to reach a refugee camp.
Train to Busan (2016)
This South Korea’s first feature-length zombie movie by the acclaimed Yeon Sang-Ho brings you up-close and personal with flesh-eating, fast-transforming zombies as we witness the struggles of a small group of survivors against the hordes of zombies intent on feasting on their flesh.
As the name implies, Train to Busan is mostly set in a high-speed train that is traveling from Seoul to Busan, but just then, a factory leak causes a zombie apocalypse to break out in all its awful horror. One infected woman boards the train unnoticed, and soon survival on board is no longer guaranteed.
The star of this 2016 action-horror, Gong Yoo, and many other passengers onboard provide robust characterization that gives this movie depth. Courage, skill, and sacrifice go head-to-head with cowardice and selfishness as the survivor’s struggle (through plenty of original action) to get to Busan, which is a quarantine zone.
The first season of The Walking Dead premiered on October 31, 2010. It is based on the post-apocalyptic horror comic book series of the same name written by Tony Moore, Robert Kirkman, and Charlie Adlard.
This series carries us through the lives of the survivors of a zombie apocalypse as they not only have to fight for their lives against zombies (known as walkers and other nicknames in the show) but also against other surviving humans who turn against their kind in a search for power in this post-apocalyptic world. The show has 11 seasons and counting, keeping viewers hooked through an engaging plot and high-quality special effects.
Dead Alive (Braindead) (1992)
This movie has been described as a gory splatter film, yet it retains more than a dash of good humor. Braindead is set in New Zealand and was released as Dead Alive in North America. The movie was one of the earlier works of Peter Jackson (who later went on to make the Lord of the Rings trilogy, among other acclaimed films) shot on 16mm, but the good news is that it is getting a 4k remastering.
In all his films, Peter Jackson makes a cameo appearance as the undertaker’s assistant. Timothy Balme, who plays Lionel, finds that his overly-strict mother, Vera, is slowly becoming a zombie after being bit by a “Sumatran rat-monkey.” Lionel attempts to keep her and all those she turns locked away in the basement – but fails woefully.
His greedy uncle Les finds himself face-to-face with the re-animated Vera after he tries to wrestle the house from Lionel, with dire consequences. The original screenplay and comedy action have won a devoted cult following for this movie, one of the best movies ever made.
The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
This horror-thriller focuses on Melanie (played by Sennia Nanua) after a fungal epidemic turns most of humanity into fast but mindless flesh-eating zombies. The survivors find that children born with the infection, including Melanie, are different, and they set out to study and experiment on them. Eventually, their lab is overrun, and in their escape to London, they encounter danger and losses. The film ends with the realization that these children are the new human species.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
This horror-comedy stars Simon Pegg as a white-collar worker whose life is so dull that at first, he doesn’t even notice that a zombie apocalypse has occurred. He and his friend do eventually realize, and Shaun of the Dead proceeds to provide fast action, lots of laughs, and many emotional moments in addition to real horror, making it appeal to a wide audience without alienating hard-core zombies fans.
28 Days Later (2002)
This 2002 movie by Danny Boyle was the first to bring the idea of fast-moving zombies. It is also to have revived the zombie genre, which was flagging at the time, influencing other films and espousing a sequel, a television series, and even a graphic novel with the same name.
Set in the United Kingdom, the movie focuses on the struggles of the four main characters. Actor Cillian Murphy, who plays Jim, wakes up from a coma to find himself in post-apocalyptic London.
Interestingly, the word ‘zombie’ was never in the movie. 28 days earlier, a virus named Rage had broken out and spread quickly through the population, turning those infected into angry fiends. This action-drama sees Jim join the other survivors, but the promise of safety lures them into human captivity. Three of the four eventually make it out.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
This 1968 film by George A. Romero is considered to be one of the most important and influential zombie films because it was the first movie to translate the zombie away from the Caribbean concept of voodoo and magic from which the undead emerged, and more into the form in which we know it today.
In addition, the Director cast Duane Jones, an accomplished black actor, who played an active and noble role, which was also hitherto unheard of for a black actor in a horror film. Jones was an influence on both the script and the choice of ending. In which his character survived the zombies only to be killed by a white policeman.
Do Zombies Exist?
The concept of zombies is from Haitian folklore, where it represents a dead body that has been reanimated through magic like voodoo. Various artists have since transformed it to represent reanimation through other means. Overall, the idea of zombies is that – an idea. It is just as real as vampires, dragons, and other fictional creatures.
What is the #1 Zombie Movie?
The consumption, interpretation, and enjoyment of entertainment are purely subjective. Still, we’ve been able to choose the overall best zombie movie based on presentation, thematic complexity, professionalism, special effects, and the use of satire.
The position of number one Zombie movie goes to Dawn of the Dead (1978) by George A. Romero. Romero’s original zombie movie – Night of the Living Dead, was iconic and influential, no doubt. It brought forth the current Americanized version of zombies that differs quite from the original Haitian voodoo version.
However, it was a bit old and was with a relatively low budget. Dawn of the Dead makes up for where NOTLD falls short and takes huge steps forward in a more engaging plot and overall production quality.
The zombie movie genre has developed and continues to develop. To the point where even the very concept of what a zombie has remained fluid. But if horror movies are your thing, then zombie films will provide every flavor of entertainment, from skill to luck, from comedy to drama, from intense to general, and everything in between.
While zombie movie-making is currently in decline, there are enough movies all ready to keep you going. This is until something new comes along and fires up the imagination of the zombie world once again.