Top Five Zombie Movies

Zombie_top_five_featureWhen it comes to the zombie genre the definable standards are fairly fluid. There have been numerous approaches to defining zombies and how they are created and killed. Well, maybe, the method of killing a zombie is the only universal standard in the genre. Zombies can be created from chemicals, radiation, viruses or unknown. They can be fast or slow, organized or automatons. The genre continues to develop into more plausible stories with some movies providing pseudoscientific explanations. Some zombie movies now even offer cures. In recent years the genre has moved from the fringe to the main stream with the successful television show The Walking Dead and this summer’s hit movieWorld War Z. This is my list zombie movies that I have enjoyed. This list contains spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

5. Warm Bodies

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Buy

This film included three interesting additions to the genre even if they were not necessarily original. Warm Bodies had two tiers of zombies. 1. There are dead people who are zombies and then there are zombies who become more zombified. 2. What I enjoyed about this film was the possibility that zombies could come back to life, well at least mostly. 3. If a zombie eats someone’s brain that zombie experiences their victim’s memories and emotions. This was arguably the first zombie romantic date movie, because of the romance that develops between the two leading characters. (My wife does not agree with this.) Warm Bodies contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Smart, memory recall from victim’s brains
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Depending on which tier of zombification
  • Speed: Slow to Extremely Fast
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

4. World War Z

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Buy

I am including World War Z in this list, because of what it has done for the genre overall. There were concerns within the movie industry that the World War Z would fail epically, but those concerns were put to rest. World War Z has become the most successful zombie movie of all time with a worldwide gross of over a half billion dollars. It can not be overlooked that World War Z cost nearly $200 million. Clearly, Brad Pitt and his team at Plan B Entertainment believed in the story presented in Max Brooks’ book of the same title. And after a few months in theaters their investment has paid off. With the success of World War Z there is an increased likelihood that other movie studios will invest in zombie movies of higher quality. World War Z contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Some Intellect
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: TBD
  • Speed: Slow to Fast
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

3. Zombieland

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Buy

Zombieland was successful for only one reason, and this is only my opinion, Woody Harrelson. He made this movie. His character, Tallahassee, was the stabilizing force for the other characters. Even though he was a source of humor he kept everyone grounded. I don’t mean grounded in the sense of his character playing the straight guy in a comedic dynamic, because clearly that was Jesse Eisenberg’s character Columbus.

There has been discussion within the movie industry about a possible sequel, but it does not appear to be getting traction. This year Amazon ordered a television pilot based on the characters from the movie for its Amazon Instant video service. Upon completion and release of said pilot it was soon announced that the series would not be produced. Zombieland is a fun interesting movie that appears, for the time being, to be a one time experience. Zombieland contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Not Very Smart
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Incurable
  • Speed: Slow to Fast
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

2. Night of the Living Dead

Watch Online

Watch Online

It is arguably the zombie movie that created the current genre that brought us World War Z (for better or worse). It is a masterfully executed film. In 1968, when the film was released, the United States was still struggling through severe racial inequality. This film offered something rarely seen during that time, a Black man leading an all white cast as the hero. The irony of Ben (Duane Jones) being the sole survivor of the zombie horde only to be killed by an all white posse could not be ignored during this racially tense time.

Due to a mismanaged copyright this film is now in the public domain and can be watched online for free. You can watch it below if you like.


Night of the Living Dead contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Not Very Smart
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Incurable
  • Speed: Slow
  • Zombie Killing People: Horde
  • People Killing Zombie: Head shot

1. 28 Days Later

Buy

Buy

I have watched this movie about a dozen times and I finally realized why I liked it so much. Simply,the characters made fairly reasonable decisions. Most zombie movies are plagued with stupid characters who make stupid decisions. 28 Days Later had conflict because of circumstances and not because of idiotic decisions. Not until late in the second act of the movie do the main characters meet people who were dangerous.

The director, Danny Boyle, brought an intelligence and sophistication to the genre that had previously been lacking. And something I consider a pleasant break from the typical zombie movie, it featured women who were tough, not guy tough, but woman tough. They were not helpless and irrational. Most zombie movies have the obligatory stupid woman that goes off alone for no logical reason or chooses to embrace her zombified boyfriend.

If you have never seen 28 Days Later it is worth watching. Skip the sequel 28 Weeks Later. Even though it has a great cast, the plot of the sequel is filled with character choices that are inexplicably stupid. One would be forgivable, but I remember about five really nonsensical choices.

28 Days Later is a standout in the genre. I hope that more movies within the genre can take cues from it to build smart interesting stories. 28 Days Later contains the following types of zombies:

  • Intelligence: Alert and aware
  • Senses: Sight and Audio Sensitivity
  • Curability: Incurable
  • Speed: Fast (humanly so)
  • Zombie Killing People: A few zombies can get the job done
  • People Killing Zombie: trauma to vital organs

What are your favorite zombie movies? Let me know in the comments below.

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