Zombies, those not-so-lively creatures, have crept into countless stories, but there’s more to them than just being scary. They’re like a mirror, reflecting how people act and what they care about. Even though they’re dead, they tell us a lot about being alive. Now, we’ve got a killer lineup of the absolute best zombie movies you gotta check out. So, if you’re up for a wicked movie marathon, get ready to have a blast next weekend by diving into these awesome flicks.
From classic spine-tinglers that started it all to fresh and exciting takes on the undead, this list has something for everyone. But don’t just expect mindless scares – these movies dig deep. They show us the guts of survival, how friends stick together no matter what, and what it truly means to be human, especially when things get, well, a bit apocalyptic. So grab your popcorn, huddle up with your pals, and get ready for some undead fun that’s both thrilling and thought-provoking!
25 Best Zombie Movies Of All Time
The Best Zombie Movies
1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
In terms of presentation, professionalism, thematic intricacy, and ground-breaking spectacular effects, Dawn of the Dead takes a huge step forward. Romero waited ten years to complete his first sequel, but he ups the ante in every way. The narrative is more interesting and cleverly sarcastic, with themes against materialism that emerge when a group of survivors hides out in a garish mall that has been overtaken by the walking dead. The guy speculates that something has prompted the zombies to return to a site that was “essential to them in life,” but the undead pour in instead, just wandering around.
2. 28 Days Later (2002)
By the time 28 Days later appeared in 2002 and entirely revived the zombie movie genre, the traditional zombie movie had all but died. Please don’t feel the need to inform us in the comments that the “infected” in this movie aren’t technically zombies (and YES, we all know that). The term “zombies” has a flexible and ever-expanding meaning. The “anger virus” has infected these unfortunate individuals, making them go amok and destroy anything living they come across. Instead of being dead, they are alive here.
3. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Russo is effectively one-half of the creative power behind the most well-known zombie movie of all time. He co-wrote the original Night of the Living Dead plot with George Romero. Following their split after NOTLD, the two agreed that Russo would keep the rights to any future movies having the word “living dead” in the title. Romero would thereafter be known as “of the dead” in his flicks. While this was going on, Russo penned his follow-up as a novel, which director Dan O’Bannon then extensively rewrote before being eventually made as a movie 17 years after the first NOTLD.
4. Train to Busan (2016)
One of the best zombie movies, there is always at least one excellent, independent zombie film made each year. And in 2016, Train to Busan was that film. This is true even though the genre has occasionally been running to the ground in recent years. This South Korean tale of a career-minded father trying to safeguard his little daughter on a train full of ravaging zombies has been wrongly derided as “Snow piercer with zombies,” but it is a heartfelt family drama sans Snow piercer’s polish of comic book social satire. It ends with several action scenes that I’ve never seen in a zombie movie before, and whenever you can bring something genuinely new to the walking dead genre, you’re obviously onto something.
My personal favorite of George Romero’s zombie movies is Day of the Dead, and I don’t believe it ever truly receives the attention it merits. It arrives at a kind of perfect time, with a greater budget, more ambitious plans, and Tom Savini at the height of his abilities as a practical effects artist. This time, the human characters are scientists and members of the military who reside in an underground bunker, giving us a greater perspective on what has been happening since the dead rose for the first time in the series. By finally making one of the major protagonists (Matthew “Frankenstein” Logan) a researcher who has had some time to study the zombies in the comparatively safe environment of a lab, this movie brings science back into zombie movies.
6. Re-Animator (1985)
Re-Animator is the greatest type of pulp science, like what one could have read in the heyday of H.P. Lovecraft in the pages of Weird Tales. Re-Animator, which is still perhaps the greatest adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s short stories, is a modernized version of a 1921 story. Jeffrey Combs excels in his brilliantly manic, campy depiction of mad scientist Herbert West, who uses syringes of flashing green goo to resurrect the dead. Only issue? They panic as soon as they reanimate and attempt to murder everyone around them, but West continues to try again and over again in the film’s weaker sequels (although the first, Bride of Re-Animator, is great and entertaining). Despite the gore and brutal violence, Re-Animator also has a vein of dark comedy that would start to show up frequently in zombie movies from this point on. The picture seems to be Stuart Gordon’s response to genre fans who wanted to laugh at brutal zombie violence rather than merely flee from it after getting jaded by the somber ambiance of true horror movies.
7. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead set standards for the “contemporary” best zombie movies that have mostly persisted to the present. The former restored the horror of “zombies,” while the latter demonstrated how the cultural zeitgeist of zombie Dom, which was taking up at this time, could also be used for belly laughs. Most crucially, the two kinds of movies could coexist. Shaun of the Dead’s fantastic build-up and tracking shots, which show slacker Shaun strolling his neighborhood and failing to even recognize that a zombie apocalypse has occurred, offers a humorous, entirely fair condemnation of modern, digital, white-collar existence. After realizing what is occurring, he and his oaf of a pal decide to defend their friends and loved ones by using force. Just go back and watch the moment where David is physically ripped to bits by zombies and pulled through The Winchester’s window to see how well this horror comedy combines fun and genuine terror in some instances.
8. Pontypool (2008)
The film Pontypool is one of the most intellectual and ethereal interpretations of what the term “zombie” may be understood to represent, and I greatly admire it for taking the risky approach. We want something we’ve never seen before, but we also want our movies to represent everything that has happened in the history of the genre, which is a nearly impossible undertaking. Zombie fans (and horror fans in general) are a fickle bunch. Pontypool makes no effort to attend the zombie conference. Instead, its antagonists—never referred to as “zombies” and occasionally termed “conversationalists” by the film’s director Bruce McDonald—are a criticism of humanity’s failure to properly connect and debate important, actually critical matters in the 21st century. There is a “zombie virus” in our country, but it is not spread by bites or blood; rather, it spreads via ideas and the English language itself, which has become so diluted with politeness and insincerity that it has developed a fatal life of its own. In the end, the movie delivers all the gore and carnage you’d expect from a great independent zombie movie, only in a different style and with a different message.
9. Demons (1985)
The finest zombie movie that blatantly purports to be about a different kind of creature is Demons. Demons may be the only movie on our list that is closest to the structure of Night of the Living Dead because, let’s be clear, the monsters in it are all zombies and it’s a near-perfect example of a “zombie movie.” The entire action takes place in a lavish old cinema theatre, which is the ideal setting for assembling a vast ensemble of bizarre people, including preppy youngsters, warring lovers, a pimp and his prostitutes, and even a blind man who is just watching the movie.
10. Zombi 2 (1979)
The best of all Italian zombie films, Zombi 2 is deftly hinted to be a direct sequel to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (thematically, not chronologically), which had been distributed there to great acclaim under the title Zombi. Zombi 2, directed by Italian Giallo /supernatural horror master Lucio Fulci, considerably increased the craziness and raised the bar for gore. This movie has incredibly revolting special effects and makeup, as well as several classic scenes that go beyond the confines of the horror genre. Scene of an eye being prodded out? They are frequently contrasted with the “eye-poking” scene from Zombi 2. The scene in which a freaking SHARK battles a zombie? Well, no one compares that because no one has the guts to try to top the zombie shark combat scene from Zombi 2.
The most significant zombie movie ever filmed, as well as a tremendously influential indie movie. Even though the word “zombie” is never explicitly used in it, George Romero’s low-budget but significant film marked a significant advancement in the meaning of the term in popular culture. More significantly, it created all of the guidelines for the genre: Reanimated corpses are zombies. Zombies must consume the flesh of the living to survive. Zombies are relentless, mindless, and injury-resistant. A zombie can only be put to death by removing its brain. Particularly in its somber cinematography and stark, black-and-white shots of zombie’s arms reaching through the windows of a remote farmhouse, the movie still holds up admirably.
Best Zombie Movies – Continued!
12. The Beyond (1981)
In Fulci’s “Gates of Hell” trilogy, the middle book, The Beyond, takes set in and around a dilapidated old hotel that also happens to contain one of those gates to hell placed in its cellar. In a movie that blends a haunted house aesthetic with demonic possession, the living dead, and eerie apparitions, all hell breaks loose in the structure as soon as it opens. As with so many previous movies of this type, things aren’t always crystal apparent. Furthermore, the storyline is largely unimportant. You’re watching it to see zombies rip innocent people’s eyeballs out or to witness heads being blasted off, and there are enough of both. You won’t recall any of the plot structure from Lucio Fulci films when you look back on them. You’ll only have in mind the film’s particularly graphic moments, which still have an impact on horror movies today.
13. Go Goa Gone (2013)
The first Hindi zombie movie, Go Goa Gone, is a hilarious and suspenseful movie where friends and the Russian mafia get stranded on a Goa island after a rave party introduces a new drug turning people into zombies. Hardik, Luv, and Bunny head to Goa to unwind, but zombies overrun the island. They join forces with zombie slayer Boris, and after trials, they escape using a clever cocaine distraction. The film humorously explores survival and the consequences of drug use, culminating in a standstill between zombies and cocaine. Returning to Goa, they find devastation, hinting at an impending end. The movie highlights the chaos caused by drugs and leaves audiences with a tense conclusion.
14. REC (2007)
While 2007 marked a turning point for post-Blair Witch found-footage horror with the release of Romero’s Diary of the Dead and the first Paranormal Activity, this approach was being used successfully worldwide. The finest found-footage zombie movie is still likely REC, a movie on our list that plays with the definition of what a “zombie” is or isn’t. The Spanish movie follows a news team as they breach into a facility that has been placed under quarantine because of the outbreak of what seems to be a zombie disease. The swiftly moving infected resemble those from 28 Days Later and are afterward discovered to be being controlled by demons via bites, deftly fusing classic zombie legend with Catholic doctrine. It offers a great sense of what it may be like if you were a regular person trapped in a massive apartment complex full of zombies since it isn’t nearly as forced as some films in this specific horror subgenre.
15. Zombieland (2009)
As the latter relocated the action to the USA and brought together survivors who were unknown to one another rather than a group of pals, as in the tradition of NOTLD, Zombieland was undoubtedly somewhat influenced by the former. Columbus, played by Jesse Eisenberg, is a completely new sort of survivor that we haven’t seen in a zombie movie before, not even in comedies. He is a little neurotic, not the best fighter, but smart and resourceful enough to get by on his own. Of course, Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee, a short-tempered vagabond on what seems to be a fruitless mission to locate the final box of Twinkies in existence, is the one who steals the show.
16. Cemetery Man (1994)
Unconventional zombie movies did, however, occasionally appear in Europe, with Cemetery Man being the most noteworthy. In one of the best zombie movies, a cemetery caretaker lives with his Igor-like helper and murders the zombies that sometimes emerge from their graves after being buried for seven days. That’s the basic idea, which sounds quaint and creepy. However, the movie is more of a horror art-comedy, an experimental picture with a loose storyline about a man who wonders why he bothers to do his job while drifting through life. Even when the protagonist tries to do atrocities and is caught, nobody seems to notice or care. He pines after a lady who he instantly loses to zombification, and some parts nearly remind one of American Psycho in the hopelessness and loss of identity he experiences. It has some of the comedy ones may find in Re-Animator and has the same creative flair and painterly beauty as the previous Italian movies on our list, but it’s moodier and more subdued.
Voodoo zombies are present in Plague of the Zombies, although they differ slightly from those in the early black-and-white specimens. They have a terrific design style and a very eerie, decayed appearance. They feel like a true bridge to the Romero ghoul, and it’s clear that Night of the Living Dead was visually influenced by them. It’s one of my favorite pre-Romero zombie movies, with fantastic production design and a chilling tale of a village progressively degenerating due to a zombie pandemic. This movie deserves a far broader audience. It blends in seamlessly with Terence Fisher’s better-known Hammer hits because of its gorgeous Technicolor visuals.
18. Night of the Comet (1984)
Even though Night of a Comet has a B-movie budget, you can tell it wishes it were something a little more. It is a superb mash-up of sci-fi clichés from the 1950s and 1980s, all mixed and seen through the prism of 1980s adolescent culture. Exposure to radiation caused by a comet’s near approach to Earth practically vaporizes most people, reducing them to dust. Those few who experienced partial exposure end up turning into zombies, yet this movie stands out on a list of zombie movies by having the fewest zombies. A major action sequence frequently feels like it will happen in this movie, but it never does. That’s hardly a complaint because what you get is a quirky, character-driven narrative with an excellent visual direction that conjures an abandoned Los Angeles. In particular, the protagonist Reggie is a satire of the ideal nerdy lady of the 1980s: a stunning but unnoticed girl obsessed with arcade games high scores,s and knowledgeable about comic books than her unappreciative doof of a lover.
19. The Battery (2012)
An extension of this structure is The Battery, a narrative about a former baseball pitcher and catcher team that journey across the nation together after the zombie apocalypse. And the storyline? That’s it. It’s a stand-alone movie that depends only on the actions of two actors to portray how two guys with very different personalities deal with the pressure and the difficulties of getting through each day and discovering a purpose for living. The zombies are around, but they don’t seem like active enemies, per; instead, they function as a continual obstruction and a sobering reminder of all these men have lost in their previous lives. Call the zombies your neighbors, your coworkers, etc; the difficulty of merely getting out of bed in the morning to face another day is practically mirrored in this movie.
A Few More Counted As The Best Zombie Movies Ever
20. Rammbock: Berlin Undead aka Siege of the Dead (2010)
The fact that Rammbock is aware of its limitations and doesn’t try to go beyond them is one of the best things about the movie. It’s a 63-minute independent German “feature picture,” but director Marvin Kren was right—it doesn’t need to be much longer. As a consequence, the film is refreshingly devoid of filler. The protagonist of the narrative is Michael, a rather delusional bum who recently was dumped by his lover. Michael and the other residents of the different apartments and tenements are met with a surge of angry zombies beating on their doors as a result of his surprise visit to “return her keys” which just so happens to coincide with the citywide outbreak of zombie virus. Rammbock is a lean, vicious little zombie thriller that breaks the mound just enough to stand out.
21. I Walked With a Zombie (1943)
I Walked With a Zombie is the second movie directed at RKO by producer Val Lawton, who in the early 1940s made a remarkable series of low-budget yet artistic horror movies including Cat People and The Ghost Ship. Even with its modest budget, this movie is a fair representation of the Hollywood system’s development from the early 1930s to the early 1940s since it is much more atmospheric and less corny than White Zombie. To care for a patient who may or may not be affected by zombieism, a young nurse travels to the Caribbean. While there, she becomes entangled in a mystery involving a local voodoo cult. In this movie, there are a few very amazing single images that play chillingly with dark, dense shadows and the tall Carre-lean Four’s physique. The first historical zombie movie with images that are likely to linger in your mind for years is I Walked with a Zombie.
22. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
An unusual movie called The Serpent and the Rainbow is based on the real-life experiences of an ethnobotanist who investigated the origins of the zombie legend and the various supposed potions and powders used to produce “zombies” in Haiti. Although some communities still accept these ideas on a superficial level today, the movie itself veers off into an absurdist parody of voodoo beliefs. The Serpent and the Rainbow serve as both an effective reminder of why movies, like I Walked with a Zombie, were so successful at terrifying audiences more than 40 years ago and evidence that it is probably still possible to make “voodoo zombie” movies that take themselves semi-seriously and intend to frighten.
23. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, a Spanish-produced zombie film that was shot in Italy and has an English setting is, therefore, an intriguing outlier combining the resources of many film industries. In this one, a “sonic radiation” device intended to destroy insects raises the living dead from the earth; suffice it to say that the effects are not quite what was planned. It progresses a little slowly but contains some very dark images. It’s a fascinating blend of American zombie clichés and difficult-to-place foreignness. The restored version of the picture, which is currently available on Amazon Prime, is a particularly stunning high-quality version, and the zombies indeed look fantastic.
24. Slither (2006)
In 2006, James Gunn enthusiastically released through Slither. Who also directed The Guardians of the Galaxy? Slither’s lack of originality is slightly hampered by the stark similarities to Night of the Creeps from 1986, another movie on this list, but it still manages to be entertaining on its own. Similar to Night of the Creeps, the plot center on an alien parasite that invades Earth and releases a swarm of parasitic slugs that transform those who become infected into essential zombies. One of the film’s finest points is its cast, which includes Jenna Fischer, who is barely a year into her career as The Office’s Jenna Fischer, and Firefly’s Nathan Fillion in heroic roles. Slither never aims to be much more than filthy entertainment; it’s equal parts hilarious, gory, and very, very slimy.
25. Nightmare City (1980)
The last on our list of best zombie movies is our subgenre’s version of the Holy Grail Nightmare City. Considering how crazy this movie is. Its zombies have pizza-faced, irradiated faces, terrible makeup, and an urge to drink blood like vampires since the radiation is causing their red blood cells to die. They differ from other zombies in that they still have enough mental capacity to seem to be healthy until they are close enough to a target to kill. And how they murder, oh how! Knives, axes, and even machine guns are used by these zombies as their primary weapons. In this film, zombies are shown shooting machine guns, acting like priests or doctors, flying enormous military planes on their own, and even landing them. Hugo Stiglitz, a Mexican actor who served as Tarantino’s model for the role in Inglorious Bastards, plays a rogue news reporter in Nightmare City. He travels around the countryside with his wife as she drones on and on about the pointlessness of life.