Zombie movies have undergone a real transformation over the years. From George Romero’s moaning and stumbling past Night of the Living Dead (itself inspired by Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I’m a legend) to the screaming and sprinting terror of Danny Boyle 28 days later (then come full circle with the 2007 adaptation of I’m a legend– which we’ll call both vampire and zombie.) Zombies have gotten harder, better, faster, stronger.
But the concept of the zombie hasn’t changed that much. Romero said the zombies represented a people’s reaction to change – how a human faces the overthrow of nature’s law: everything comes to its death. Faced with the zombie, the human faces the abnormal, the eternal. The horror of the zombie movie is therefore not that of death; it is one of not dying. The irony of zombie cinema is that it makes death less frightening, more welcoming. We fear not when our hero’s friends and families die, but when they return.
As to why we can’t get enough of the zombie genre, well, the answer to that might be more grotesque. It’s not that we want to hunker down above a mall with a sniper rifle and mow down the walking dead – at least, we hope that’s not your IRL fantasy; go buy a video game, you psychopath. It is the dissolution we aspire to, a world where we are no longer constrained by class or race or, for you psychopaths, the law. (Also, there’s probably a spurious Second Amendment reverse rationale here; uh, why else did London have no luck in 28 days later??)
So, whatever your immortal fear or your apocalypse, here are the best zombie movies to stream on Netflix right now.
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Maybe not as good as its previous counterpart Train to Pusan. Always, this zombie part proves that korean cinema continues to kill in all genres.
It comes at night
Residing in this contemporary genre of “post-horror” (cries of art and essay smarter and on a low budget), It comes at night is less of a zombie festival and more of a meditation on all of that colliding in the dark, including images of ravenous humans. It’s scarier when you can’t see them, trust us.
The short film contained in the science fiction anthology series Love, Death + Robots intersects with several genres, including mystery, historical drama and folktale. At its heart is a zombie fight, but that’s not even the best part.
the land of zombies
Perhaps the most successful zombie comedy of all time, the land of zombies is probably too popular for cult status. Still, the characters and jokes will stay with you until all of the Twinkies in your house expire, which they never do.
While Bird box could not do with the sight what A quiet place made with sound (i.e. making a horror movie that’s really scary), it’s a concept movie that’s always worth a look. Please don’t blindfold or do bullshit after you’re done.
Army of the dead
Director Zack Snyder went to George A. Romero in 2004 with Dawn of the dead, an update on the classic genre. Snyder got even bigger this year with Army of the Dead, a heist zombie flick that absolutely kicks undead ass.
Create an army of the dead
This short documentary follows the Army of the dead team during the production of the hit Netflix. For fans of zombie movies, this is an invaluable look behind the undead makeup and VFX innovations of a big budget zombie movie.
Cargo is just an overall solid post-apocalyptic film, similar in structure to The road but without being (quite) so dark.
Set in Quebec, this Canadian horror flick mostly hits all the zombie tropes, but in a way that feels fresh. It’s also (perhaps) an allegory of Quebec politics, giving it that extra layer of interpretation on top of all the decaying human matter.
Ladramas of Almas
Translated as “soul thieves,” this Mexican horror slasher is just bloody good fun, as well as a decent period piece about the Mexican Civil War.
So it’s technically a miniseries, but it’s a little over two hours long, so we’re going to put it here. The UK production is a reality show that meets a zombie invasion, which is both funny and very not funny in the finest English way.
Resident Evil: the afterlife
While we have a soft spot for the former resident Evil movie, it’s hard to fault this video game franchise that has turned into a B-movie. It’s what it is, and what it is, is zombie killing fun.
Okay, this is weird and chances are you will find it ridiculous and impossible to watch. There is also a chance that you will have a lot of fun watching it at different levels of intoxication. It’s one of those movies.
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