It may seem like the golden age of zombie movies is long gone. The Walking Dead effectively killed the zombie genre in the 2010s, both by being so incredibly popular and by ultimately sucking and bringing down the reputation of the genre. Even when it comes to movies, it looks like the golden age of zombies is over. It peaked in the late 70s and early 80s thanks in large part to George A. Romero and his many successors.
ten Resident Evil (2002) – 6.7
It is a surprising fact, but the first resident Evil the movie was actually quite good. While the series ultimately went off the rails with clones and underwater installations and ridiculous visual effects, the first was a relatively straightforward zombie story about a virus turning people into bloodthirsty monsters. While not particularly faithful to video games, it still delivered some decent scares and iconic footage, including the laser grid.
9 Fido (2006) – 6.7
Fido is another kind of zombie movie. Serving as a unique combination of horror, comedy, and coming-of-age drama, Fido takes place in an alternate world of the 1950s in which space radiation has turned the dead into zombies. Little Timmy and his family employ a zombie named Fido for manual labor, and Timmy develops a bond with his undead companion. It’s a cute and touching little film, and it puts a quirky spin on the decaying genre.
8 28 Weeks Later (2007) – 7.0
It’s not often that sequels serve as worthy companions, but 28 weeks later mostly does the job. The film has its issues, including plot holes and wildly stupid character decisions, but, if viewers can look past its flaws, 28 weeks later serves up a very solid, very scary, and very fast-paced zombie movie. It’s certainly not the disaster that many claim, as evidenced by its strong IMDb rating.
seven Planet Terror (2007) – 7.1
Planet Terror is a glorious throwback to the grindhouse B movies of yore. That’s probably why it was originally released as half of the Crusher double feature film, opposite that of Quentin Tarantino Proof of death.
It’s a throwback to the cheesy, ridiculously gory exploitation movies of yore, complete with film grain, a machine gun leg, and some kind of nasty chemical agent that turns people into ghouls. It’s gory, it’s goofy, but, above all, it’s great fun.
6 I Am Legend (2007) – 7.2
It is not known exactly what the monsters of I’m a legend are really. Zombies? Vampires? Deranged cannibals? Some kind of mutated human? Either way, they’re stupid killing machines, well, for the most part, so they fall under the zombie umbrella. I’m a legend was a huge movie in 2007, grossing nearly $600 million and receiving rave reviews for Will Smith’s incredible performance as Robert Neville and his portrayal of a post-apocalyptic New York.
5 Dawn of the Dead (2004) – 7.3
No one on Earth thought a remake of dawn of the dead would work. It’s just one of those seminal horror films that you don’t touch. However, Zack Snyder dared to touch it, and it was pretty good. It’s very different from its predecessor, favoring high-octane action and bombshell over anything else. But, it does what it does exceptionally well, and it remains a very well-made zombie movie on its own terms.
4 REC (2007) – 7.4
Spain released one of the greatest zombie movies of all time with RECwhich sees a journalist trapped in an apartment complex as its inhabitants turn into zombies. REC remains the greatest mix of zombies and movies found despite George A. Romero’s efforts with Diary of the dead.
The confined setting ensures a spooky, claustrophobic atmosphere, and the screaming zombies are some of the scariest ever to appear on screen.
3 Zombie Land (2009) – 7.6
Zombie movies were big in the 2000s, and that meant zombie comedies. Enter zombielandwhich was perhaps the greatest zombie comedy produced in America. zombieland is a well written and directed film, but what makes it so good is the incredible chemistry between Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin. They undeniably carry the movie, helping to create one of the funniest comedies of the 2000s.
2 28 Days Later… (2002) – 7.6
Zombie movies were basically dying – no pun intended – before Danny Boyle and 28 days later came with. This British film was a dark, introspective look at the post-apocalypse, as it followed a small group of survivors who bonded and sought refuge in an empty England. But, above all, the film was relentlessly terrifying, helped in large part by the fast, screaming zombies. He revolutionized the genre, and many subsequent zombie films followed in his footsteps.
1 Shaun of the Dead (2004) – 7.9
zombieland was a great comedy, but the zombie craze of the 2000s belonged to the British. 28 days later revolutionized the genre and Shaun of the dead was one of the funniest comedies of the entire decade, helping to popularize the genre and launch the careers of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. It’s a smart, well-written, and energetically directed film, but what else do audiences expect from Edgar Wright?
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