The first official trailer for HBO’s adaptation of The last of us has fans of the wildly successful game franchise more than a little excited for the series’ arrival. Although the living dead in The last of us are unlike those previously seen in most zombie movies, they carry on a beloved horror legacy that has been in demand for over 50 years now.
In fact, the popularity of zombies is so great that even bad zombie movies often receive some support from fans of the genre. As a result, there are tons of opinions about which zombie movies deserve to be included in a list of the best zombie movies. Thankfully, zombie-loving Redditors are always ready to share their thoughts on the best of the best when it comes to sitting back and watching the undead wreak havoc.
The Battery (2012)
Shot for just $6,000, this 2012 zombie indie feature didn’t get a huge amount of attention, but still managed to make an impact on fans of the genre. Editor hail_freyr made his pick of it, saying, “Skipping all the obvious classic recs, I really liked The Battery micro budget.”
The film tells the story of Ben and Mickey, two friends who face the terrifying reality of the world in the wake of a zombie outbreak. Simple and discreet, Battery tackles some legitimate emotional issues, the likes of which put the film in a class of its own. It may not be an entirely uplifting journey, but Battery still worth looking for.
World War Z (2013)
Brad Pitt produced and starred in this high-octane zombie film from Marc Forster about a virus that is rapidly consuming Earth’s population, turning people into flesh-eating undead. As Redditor Vily_K says: “I totally suggest you watch World War Z it’s a great movie starring Brad Pitt and gives a realistic take on zombies and their creation!!!”
In terms of scale, World War Z take the movie concept of a zombie outbreak to new heights by forcing its protagonist, Gerry Lane, to travel the world in search of a solution. As a result, the film has considerably more intensity than many other films in the genre, and while it may be too soon to call it a classic, there’s every reason it should eventually reach this status.
Zombie Land (2009)
With its comedic approach to a world devastated by zombies, zombieland sees four post-apocalypse survivors form an uneasy truce while traveling to a supposed zombie-free zone. Editor No reference3 celebrates the film with “Zombie Land, a good comedy classic”.
While some fans of the zombie genre might not think that zombieland sticks to the more traditional aspects of a zombie horror film, zombieland was a smash hit when it was released. The film easily earns its place as a classic of the genre, and the comedy adds a refreshing change of pace to the more traditional elements often expected in zombie movies.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Loosely based on a novel by night of the living dead co-creator John Russo, Return of the Living Dead was one of the first zombie movies to put a comic twist on the genre. Editor shanobirocks love this entry, saying “Return of the Living Dead.”
With its story about a group of unlikely heroes facing off against vicious undead brought back to life by poison gas, Return of the Living Dead has become a cult classic. The film is arguably unlike any other zombie movie ever made – if only for its sense of place and time, the likes of which have been superbly captured for generations to come.
Brain Dead (1992)
Today he is perhaps best known as the man behind the epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but Peter Jackson was only two feature films away from his then little-known career when he directed this zombie comedy. Editor Hermit0fAlbion think it’s one of the best of its kind, saying “Peter Jackson’s Braindead”.
There’s no shortage of grossing moments in this ridiculously fun zombie game, the likes of which come with solid laughs. Jackson’s take on the genre is often overlooked due to the preponderance of classic zombie movies, but there’s no reason why. Brain death cannot rank among the best. It’s a treasured gem for any zombie lover.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
After a zombie outbreak in London, disorganized slacker Shaun and his best friend drug dealer Ed lead a half-baked survival attempt, while Shaun tries to win back his girlfriend, Liz. Editor SeenTheYellowSign summarizes their choice for the best zombie film with “Shawn of the dead, incredible horror comedy…”
by Edgar Wright Shaun of the dead was very popular when it was released and the film is a virtual treasure trove of classic horror movie references, as well as homages to the zombie genre. In terms of story, the film doesn’t exactly offer anything very unique, but the characters and stylistic elements are what really takes Shaun of the dead on another level.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Zach Snyder’s remake of this beloved 1978 George Romero film sees a group of people trapped in a mall as a zombie apocalypse unfolds. Editor asian devastation praised the film, saying, “The Dawn of the Dead remake will always be my best. Just the right amount of humor, dread and incredibly gritty/realistic action.
It’s very rare – whether in the horror genre or not – that a remake of a film by an iconic filmmaker receives more praise than the original. That always seems to be the case with Snyder’s dawn of the dead. The film is strong from start to finish, with an intensity that proves the zombie genre remains one of the most fun and scary around.
Train to Busan (2016)
This Korean zombie tale was an instant hit upon release, even win a place at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival – no mean feat for a horror movie. Editor Magey357 makes it clear why the film is their choice with, “Train to Busan is amazing…”
With its tiny budget and confined spaces aboard a train during a zombie invasion, Train to Busan proved that the zombie genre can still attract audiences in a big way. Indeed, the film has all the hallmarks of a classic horror movie, which means few modern zombie films can challenge Train to Busan call and continued success.
28 Days Later (2002)
Filmmaker Danny Boyle rallied behind the lukewarm 2000s response The beach with this apocalyptic nightmare that introduced the world to Cillian Murphy. Editor Screen name0 made the film his choice saying, “28 days later”.
Not only 28 days later offer the public images of a post-apocalyptic London, but the film was also the first mainstream zombie hit to feature the undead running after their prey. It was a game-changer in terms of what could be done with zombies onscreen, and even today the film still feels fresh.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
The movie that gave birth to the zombie movie genre, night of the living dead used its simple premise of a group of aliens banding together against a zombie invasion, to considerable effect. Editor HarveyMushman72 accepts, making their pick for Best Zombie Movie, “Night of the Living Dead, The Original.”
Decades ahead of its time, night of the living dead can be credited with not only being the first mainstream iteration of cinematic zombies, but also one of the first horror hits to use the genre as a medium for social commentary. The end result was a genuinely chilling film that offers so much more than meets the surface.