Continuing on with our Halloween themed Top 10 articles I decided to write a post on my favourite Zombie films. Surprisingly, if you limit yourself to genuine Zombie films i.e. people who are actually reanimated from the dead, the selection isn’t great. Well not for my tastes anyways. So, this list will be of films where the term Zombie is used loosely to refer not only to the undead, but angries, hungries, runners, and those controlled by viruses, fungi, or parasites. Also, so as to not upset a friend, I cannot include comedies in this list like I didn’t with my Vampire list. This makes things much more difficult for me considering the best Zombie films are comedies such as Shaun of the Dead (Sorry Al), Zombieland, Slither, Braindead, The Evil Dead, and Warm Bodies (whether you like the film or not it was a clever concept). Also, Zombie aren’t my favourite thing considering I do suffer from a totally irrational Kinemortophobia to the point that the amount of undead related nightmares I’ve had must be in the triple digits and when I read Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide I took it entirely too seriously. Therefore, sadly you won’t find any of the great classics in this list, purely because they fail to scare me. Still, admittedly there is that sick side of me that enjoys being scared, so here are my favourite Zombie films that have actually frightened me or freaked me out.
10. Outpost (2008)
Not a particularly good film by any account but Outpost does have some disturbing parts in it, so if you are just looking for scares then I would recommend it. Directed by Steve Barker, Outpost tells of a gang of mercenaries who are hired to retrieve something from an old Nazi military bunker. On arrival the gang discover that the bunker was used by Nazi’s to experiment on their soldiers, and something is awoken by their arrival.
9. World War Z (2013)
Groan, grumble, moan. I know, World War Z was a poor adaptation of some great source material by Max Brooks, but the scenes of thousands of Zombies pouring over the top of walls makes for some great source material for my nightmares.
8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Zack Snyder‘s remake of Dawn of the Dead wasn’t particularly scary for the actual Zombies, even with them being “runners”, but being only aged 15 at the time of seeing it, it did not matter how some parts were blatantly tongue in cheek. I remember being considerably upset by the baby scene and also vowing never to go near a chainsaw in my life.
7. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
The story of TGWATG is not perfect but it does delve into some interesting places that no other Zombie film has done before. What it was mostly frightening for was the Cordycep type fungus that had overtaken the population in a “The Last of Us” style scenario. I would also recommend it for its unique perspective on the relationship between humans and “hungries”, who are now the new apex predator.
6. Quarantine (2008)
I saw Quarantine before I saw the original film [Rec], it is a pretty decent remake and even though people were angry about it, I do see some merit in remaking foreign films. Except for Old Boy (2013), that was terrible. This film is well and truly terrifying not only for its claustrophobic and relentlessly stress inducing scenes but also for the fact that a simple mutation in the rabies virus is a much more realistic scenario than the reanimated dead.
5. [Rec] (2007)
Quarantine is far inferior to the original [Rec], which is another gem of the found footage genre, even though there is not much to it plot wise, it is brilliant crafted to keep the tension maxed out right until the finale. This film stuck with me for weeks and I would definitely recommend it this Halloween for a good scare and a couple of sleepless nights.
4. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
It is not often that I approve of sequels, especially when they are by different directors but 28 Weeks Later is alright. Yes, there are some huge absurdities in it, like, who in their right mind would want to repopulate a city only months after an infection of that severity?! On the other hand there are some genuinely upsetting parts in this film, mostly in relation to Robert Carlyle‘s character and the way he “treats” his wife.
3. Resident Evil (2002)
A relatively time-worn adaptation of a much-loved gaming series is not so effective to watch nowadays, nevertheless RE was my first ever Zombie movie and it scared the shit out of me. Also, I loved it for Milla Jovovich’s and Michelle Rodriguez’s sexy but strong female characters and the awesome soundtrack. RE will always have a special place in my heart.
2. Here Alone (2016)
When I watched Here Alone I almost audibly rejoiced for how different it was, there are very few scenes dedicated to the Zombies of this universe. It focuses almost entirely on the difficulties of surviving in this environment, especially when one has a noisy baby to care for. I’m happy to admit I had a good cry at the tragic reveal at the end of this emotionally charged film.
1. 28 Days Later… (2002)
Danny Boyle set the bar with his brilliantly raw and horrific film that shatters all the standard Zombie tropes. For me, 28 Days Later was pure terror from start to finish. I could talk about the clever allegories and nuances in the film, about the origins of the rage disease and how their salvation wasn’t a paradise after all, but it isn’t necessary for me to break this film down into its components. 28 Days Later is an intelligent film that is still incredibly terrifying and it trumps every single Zombie movie ever made…IMHO.