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Zombies crave our brains and they get them because of their prominent present in pop culture. Zombies are in popular TV shows, novels, comics, video games and of course movies! With Brad Pitt’s big budget version of World War Z about to storm our theaters now is a great time to look at the best movies the genre has to offer.
10. [Rec] (2007)
Before the found footage genre became oversaturated the Spanish horror [REC] movie earned high critical praise. Set up as a TV reporter making a documentary about the fire service she ends up trapped in a building with her cameraman and the firefighters with processed people able to attack them at any turn.
9. Warm Bodies (2013)
The most recent movie on this list is the comedy Warm Bodies. Directed by 50/50’s Jonathan Levine, Warm Bodies has sometimes been dubbed as Twilight with zombies, but the movie has earned positive reviews, including here. R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie with no memories of his previous life who starts to find his humanity after falling in love with a human. It is the Romeo and Juliet for our time.
8. Dead Alive (1992)
Before Peter Jackson made movies like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Lovely Bones he was best known for making horror-comedies in his native New Zealand. One of them is Dead Alive (or Braindead in some territories), a violence schlock fest about a man who has to battle fresh ending monsters, including his evil mother as he tries to win over a girl.
7. I Am Legend (2007)
Loosely based on Richard Matherson’s popular vampire novel I Am Legend was a vehicle for Will Smith as he stars as Robert Neville, a military scientist surviving in an devastated New York with a zombie-vampires hybrid trying to find him. I Am Legend’s strongest element is showing the effects of isolation and loneliness on an individual, complimented by an excellent performer from Smith.
6. Zombieland (2009)
Who says that the zombie apocalypse has to be all doom and gloom? For a movie that looked like it was going to be a Shaun of the Dead clone it turned out to be a funny, action packed movie with plenty of blood in its own right. Zombieland focuses group of survivors journeying to Los Angeles for various reasons, including finding the last twinkle. Plus it showed all movies can be improved with an 11-year-old girl with a shotgun!
5. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Before we get to the work of George A. Romero let us look at a movie that homages and parodies his work, the British comedy Shaun of the Dead. Shaun of the Dead was marketed as a romantic-comedy with zombie as we follow Shaun (Simon Pegg), a man corrupted by his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), leading to his break-up with his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). But when the dead start to rise from the grave Shaun has to take his love ones (and his nemesis David) to the safest place Ed knows, the pub! Romero enjoyed the movie so much that he gave Pegg and director Edgar Wright a cameo in Land of the Dead.
4. 28 Days Later (2002)
Danny Boyle is known a genre hopping director and he made on the horror genre with 28 Days Later, a movie that was more popular in North America then it was in its native Britain. Set 28 days after a virus had killed most of the population of Britain or turned them into fast rage monsters who feed on human fresh (zombies in all but name), 28 Days Later sees a group of survivors who travel from an empty, haunting London to an army base, where fellow survivors are just as fearsome as the infected. The sequel 28 Weeks Later is also an entertaining romp.
3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Remakes of classic horror movies is a blight on cinema, but we do get the occasional diamond. One of them is Zack Snyder’s version of Dawn of the Dead. It works as a remake because it takes the very basic premise of the original and make they own movie. This remake has plenty of bloody action, using the controversial fast zombies, atmosphere and creepy imaginary and a great montage showing the worldwide effects of the zombie virus. But this movie is not as deep as the original.
2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George A. Romero started his with the low budget independent movie Night of the Living Dead. Night of the Living Dead is a cult classic and essential movie for anyone who considers themselves horror fans. Told as a siege movie as the dead come back alive to feast on human flesh, Romero was able to inject social commentary by having a black man as his lead protagonist in a movie made at the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
Dishonorable Mention: Zombie Strippers! (2008)
Like with any genre there are dud zombie movies, including Zombie Strippers. The title says it all with the movie focusing on a sleazy strip club owner as his strippers are turned into zombies and keeps them working anyway. Nightmare on Elm Street’s Robert Englund and porn star Jenna Jameson star in this very low budget movie. Empire Magazine describe it best as “A brilliantly high-concept title and some decent gore aside, you’re better off watching the version in your head. It will be infinitely more fun and have markedly improved production values.”
1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The original Dawn of the Dead is often considered the best zombie movies ever made and there is good reason behind it because of the movie’s social commentary and satire. Dawn of the Dead focuses on a group of four survivors as they hide in a mall during the zombie apocalypse, slowly seeing society collapse from a distance and having to face the zombie hordes and biker armies. Some of the effects and make-up are dated, but it is still an important movie in the genre and perfectly gory fun.