The film canon is rife with movies featuring various incarnations of the undead creature that are zombies. From the original slow, brain-hungry zombies seen in George A. Romero’s films to the fast and rage-driven versions modern movies portray, we’ve surveyed the large library of the zombie subgenre and listed out the 10 best zombie movies of all time.
Top 10 Best Zombie Movies of All Time
Zombi 3 (1988) also known as ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters 2’
Zombi 3 (1988) is Italian film directors Lucio Fulci and Bruno Mattei’s follow up film to Zombi 2. The film is only a titular sequel and tells an unrelated story.
In this installment, the vacation of three soldiers is cut short by the threat of flesh-eating zombies created by a leaked weapon from a research facility nearby. With other vacationers, they barricade themselves in an abandoned hotel.
While popular to genre fans, the film was derided by critics who say that it’s ‘extraordinarily bad’.
Train to Busan (2016)
The only non-Western film on the best zombie movies list, the Korean zombie film Train to Busan (2016) became an instant genre classic upon its release.
The film follows a group of passengers on a bullet train on the way to Busan who learns that the nation is ravaged by a zombie pandemic that has also found its way on the train. Despite suspicion and fear, the group must persevere to make it alive to the resort city which has allegedly fend off the epidemic.
[Rec] (2007) is a Spanish-language found footage best horror film about a news crew trapped in a quarantined apartment building where an unknown virus is causing the residents to turn into rage-filled zombies.
The film is responsible for revitalizing the found footage subgenre in horror films. It inspired an American remake called Quarantine (2008) starring scream queen Jennifer Carpenter.
Zombie (1979) also known as Zombie Flesh Eaters, or Zombi 2
Lucio Fulci’s unofficial sequel to George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Zombie (1979) is the perfect film to watch with friends on Halloween.
It tells the story of a group vacationing tourists who encounter a doctor looking for a cure to an affliction that reanimates the dead. All hell breaks loose as the undead start to literally crawl out of their graves to terrorize the living.
The film is notorious for its vomit-inducing graphic scenes of human mutilation and an iconic scene where a zombie fights a great white shark underwater (yep). Zombie is one of the 70’s best zombie films.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
When a genre directors get comfortable, films become indistinguishable from each other. But once in a while, we’ll get a refreshing film that plays on the genre’s tropes but makes it better. One of those few ones is Shaun of the Dead (2004). It is one of the best zombie movies ever.
Simon Pegg is the titular Shaun, an underachiever who finds himself to be the unlikely hero that will save his friends and family from being eaten by the undead. Here’s his plan: Take car. Go to Mum’s. Kill Phil – “Sorry.” – grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.
Dead Alive (1992) also known as Braindead
Before Peter Jackson directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was making gory zombies like Dead Alive (1992) in his home New Zealand.
Notorious for being one of the goriest films ever, this slapstick horror film centers on a mama’s boy whose hopes for a romantic relationship with a beautiful girl is foiled by the sudden and rapid decomposition of his own mother after being infected by a ‘Sumatran rat-monkey’.
As a dutiful son, the boy is unable to kill his mother so he keeps her ‘alive’ (hence the film’s title) until she becomes a rabid uncontrollable zombie who attacks everyone who comes near. Dead Alive is one of the 90’s greatest zombie movies ever.
28 Days Later (2002)
Twenty-eight days after a group of infected chimpanzees spread a virus that turns humans into fevered zombies eager to kill, a man wakes up from a coma in a deserted hospital in London.
Unaware of the pandemic that hit the country, he wanders around the city and encounters other survivors who fill him with the deets of the events of the past month.
The film was a critical success and is followed by an excellent sequel, 28 Weeks Later.
An excellent entry from Canada, Pontypool (2008) is a slow burn zombie film about a radio disc jockey who realizes that his town is hit by a zombie virus which turns the people into the slow-walking undead. He then barricades himself in his radio booth as the virus spreads fast and the people grow restless.
The film received mixed reviews from critics who can’t whether the film’s focus on talk more than action is a good or bad thing.
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Making it to the second spot on our best zombie movies list is the classic comedy horror Return of the Living Dead (1985).
The film follows the story of how a group of people including teen punks, a mortician, a warehouse owner and two employees deal with the accidental release of a dangerous horde of hungry zombies.
The film is famous for introducing the concept of brain-eating zombies to the genre. It would go on to become a cult classic and would spawn four more sequels.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Of course, we can’t end this list without George Romero’s seminal best zombie movie Night of the Living Dead (1968).
This iconic zombie film tells the story of a group of people trapped in a rural farmhouse as a horde of the ‘living dead’ comes dangerously close.
An instant classic, this independent production earned over 15 times its original budget and proved that horror films can be both profitable and excellently made. It has five sequels and cemented Romero’s name in the horror genre. Night of the Living Dead is one of the best zombie movies of all time.
Which of these zombie films have you watched? Better get your friends for a zombie movie marathon. Tell us in the comments below.
Also, check out our other top 10 best movies list.