The first official teaser trailer for HBO's adaptation of The Last Of Us has fans of the wildly successful game franchise more than a little excited about the arrival of the series. Though the undead in The Last of Us are different from those previously seen in most zombie films, they continue a beloved horror legacy that has been in demand for over 50 years now.
In fact, the popularity of zombies is so substantial that even bad zombie films often receive a certain amount of support from fans of the genre. As a result, there are tonnes of opinions regarding which zombie films merit inclusion on a list of the best zombie films. Fortunately, zombie-loving Redditors are always ready to share their thoughts on the best of the best when it comes to sitting down and watching the undead wreak utter havoc.
The Battery (2012)
Shot for a mere $6,000, this 2012 indie zombie feature didn’t get receive an enormous amount of attention, but still managed to make an impact on fans of the genre. Redditor hail_freyr made it their selection, saying, “Skipping all the obvious classic recs over, I really liked the micro budget The Battery.”
The film tells the story of Ben and Mickey, two friends who deal with the terrifying reality of the world in the wake of a zombie outbreak. Simple and understated, The Battery addresses some legitimate emotional issues, the likes of which place the film in a class of its own. It might not be an entirely uplifting journey, but The Battery is still worth seeking out.
World War Z (2013)
Brad Pitt produced and starred in this Marc Forster high-octane zombie film about a virus that rapidly consumes the earth’s population, transforming people into flesh-eating undead. As Redditor Vily_K says, “I totally suggest you watch World War Z it's a very good movie with Brad Pitt and gives a realistic point of view about zombies and their creation!!!”
In terms of scale, World War Z takes the movie concept of a zombie outbreak to new heights by forcing its protagonist, Gerry Lane, to travel the world in search of a solution. As a result, the film has considerably more intensity than many other films in the genre, and while it might be too early to call it a classic, there’s every reason for it to eventually reach that status
With its comedic approach to a world devastated by zombies, Zombieland sees four post-apocalypse survivors form an uneasy truce while journeying to a supposed zombie-free zone. Redditor NoReference3 celebrates the film with, “Zombie Land, a good comedy classic.”
While some fans of the zombie genre might not feel that Zombieland adheres to the more traditional aspects of a zombie horror film, Zombieland was a runaway hit upon its release. The film easily earns its place as a genre classic and the comedy adds a refreshing change of pace to the more traditional elements often expected in zombie films.
The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)
Loosely based on a novel by Night Of The Living Dead co-creator John Russo, The Return Of The Living Dead was one of the first zombie films to put a comedic twist on the genre. Redditor shanobirocks loves this entry, saying ‘Return of the Living Dead.”
With its story about a group of unlikely heroes facing off against vicious undead brought back to life by toxic gas, The Return Of The Living Dead has become a cult classic. The film is arguably unlike any other zombie movie ever made – if for no other reason than its sense of place and time, the likes of which have been superbly captured for generations to come.
Today, he might be best known as the man behind the epic Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but Peter Jackson was only two feature films into his then little-known career when he made this zombie comedy. Redditor Hermit0fAlbion feels it’s one of the genre’s best, saying, “Peter Jackson’s Braindead.”
There is no shortage of gross-out moments in this ridiculously fun zombie romp, the likes of which are accompanied by some solid laughs. Jackson’s take on the genre is often overlooked due to the preponderance of classic zombie films, but there’s no reason whatsoever why Braindead can’t rank among the best. It's a worthwhile gem for any zombie lover.
Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
After a zombie outbreak occurs in London, disorganized slacker Shaun and his drug dealing best friend Ed lead a half-baked attempt at survival, all while Shaun tries to win back his girlfriend, Liz. Redditor SeenTheYellowSign sums up their pick for best zombie movie with, “Shawn of the dead, amazing horror comedy...”
Edgar Wright’s Shaun Of The Dead was wildly popular upon its release and the film is a virtual treasure trove of classic horror movie references, as well as homages to the zombie genre. In terms of story, the film doesn’t exactly offer anything highly unique, but the characters and stylistic elements are what really take Shaun Of The Dead to another level.
Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
Zach Snyder’s remake of this beloved 1978 George Romero film sees a group of people trapped in a shopping mall as a zombie apocalypse unfolds. Redditor asiandevastation praises the film, saying, “Dawn of the Dead remake will always be my top. Just the right amount of humor, dread, and incredibly gritty/realistic action.”
It’s very rare – whether in the horror genre or not, that a remake of a film by an iconic filmmaker is given more praise than the original. This consistently seems to be the case with Snyder’s Dawn Of The Dead. The film is strong from start to finish, with an intensity that proves that the zombie genre remains one of the most fun and frightening there is.
Train To Busan (2016)
This Korean zombie tale was an instant hit upon its release, even earning a spot at the prestigious Cannes film festival – no small feat for a horror film. Redditor Magey357 makes it clear why the film is their pick with, “Train to Busan is amazing…”
With its minuscule budget and confined spaces aboard a train during a zombie plague, Train To Busan proved that the zombie genre can still attract audiences in a big way. Indeed, the film does have all the characteristics of a classic horror film, meaning few modern zombie films can challenge Train To Busan’s appeal and continued success.
28 Days Later (2002)
Filmmaker Danny Boyle rallied from the lukewarm response to 2000s The Beach with this apocalyptic nightmare that introduced the world to Cillian Murphy. Redditor Screename0 makes the film their pick, saying, “28 Days Later.”
Not only did 28 Days Later offer audiences amazing footage of a post-apocalyptic London, but the film was also the first mainstream zombie hit to feature the undead running after their prey. This was a game changer in terms of what could be done with zombies on screen, and even today, the film still feels fresh.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
The film that gave rise to the zombie film genre, Night Of The Living Dead used its simple premise of a group of strangers uniting against a zombie invasion, to considerable effect. Redditor HarveyMushman72 agrees, making their pick for best zombie film, “Night of the Living Dead, the original.”
Decades ahead of its time, Night Of The Living Dead can be credited not only with being the first mainstream iteration of cinematic zombies, but also one of the first horror hits to use the genre as a means of social commentary. The end result was a genuinely frightening film that offers much more than what it appears to be on the surface.