Top 10 Zombie Movies [UPDATE]

by mogurod | created - 12 Mar 2013 | updated - 13 Jun 2016 | Public
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1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

89 Metascore

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Votes: 108,096 | Gross: $0.09M

What more can be said about Night of the Living Dead? It’s made the top spot of a horror movie list more times than a bong gets passed around at Burning Man. Despite a shoestring budget, homemade special effects, cheap grainy 16mm film, and unknown actors, this little zombie movie has turned out to be the most influential horror film since Psycho. It’s also a time capsule of the late 1960s–the era of the Vietnam War and civil unrest–in which good does not triumph over evil, and likable characters die just as brutally as the villains. The violence, which was shocking in its day, reflects the horrors Americans were seeing each night on the television. Mysterious dread is cast onto every frame pitch perfectly.

2. Day of the Dead (1985)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror, Thriller

60 Metascore

A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy

Votes: 59,440 | Gross: $5.80M

The film was collaboration between George Romero and Italian horror maestro Dario Argento. He consulted with Romero on the script and provided an original score performed and composed by Goblin. The incredible climax features some of the greatest zombie mayhem ever put on film. Dawn of the Dead is quite simply the zombie movie to end all zombie movies. It single-handedly put the zombie genre back on course for all of us zombie lovers to enjoy today.

3. World War Z (2013)

PG-13 | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

63 Metascore

Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Director: Marc Forster | Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale

Votes: 564,911 | Gross: $202.36M

World War Z was not the zombie apocalypse masterpiece we wanted–but it might very well have been the one we deserved. Initially, we were heartbroken when we found out how far the film strayed away from Max Brooks epic novel by going in the most conventional direction imaginable. Then there was the PG-13 rating, cartoonish looking zombies, non-existent gore, and the generic rah rah American nationalism. But as sheer spectacle, War World Z is surprisingly effective. The set pieces are sensational and the action scenes are relentlessly intense and often quite scary. There are very few horror films that are able to deliver pulse-pounding excitement at this epic of a scale, and for that we love this movie.

4. Dead Alive (1992)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Horror

54 Metascore

A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin

Votes: 87,800 | Gross: $0.24M

The Citizen Kane of gore movies, Dead Alive saw Peter Jackson taking his over-the-top horror style to the next level. Technically, this was Jackson’s best to date, with state of the art creature and gore effects that far surpassed Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles. Filled with rivers of blood, a woman nursing a zombie baby, hordes of flesh eaters, and a grandmother who swallows a cat whole. Sick. Twisted. Brilliant.

5. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

R | 100 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes according to plan.

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo | Stars: Jeremy Renner, Rose Byrne, Robert Carlyle, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 245,702 | Gross: $28.64M

28 Weeks Later is an exercise in visceral terror. Its use of horrific imagery and apocalyptic despair makes it one of the scariest and most realistic zombie movies ever made. 28 Weeks Later opens with one of the most chilling opening scenes in the history of horror cinema. From that moment on, like the Aliens sequel, the action strikes thick and fast, culminating in a terrifying take-no-prisoners descent into an apocalyptic nightmare.

6. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

R | 101 min | Action, Horror

59 Metascore

A nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague that is producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer, Jake Weber

Votes: 223,840 | Gross: $59.02M

Quite honestly, this is hands down our favorite zombie movie of all time. We think it more than surpasses the original, but you have to pay credit where credits due, to the originals. The remake is a pitch perfect horror movie that has every thing you could ever want in a zombie movie. It’s bloody scary, stylish, creepy, wickedly smart, edgy, darkly pessimistic and yet inflected with sick humor. Its sole aim, is to simultaneously scare and enchant you; to make you as terrified to look at the screen as to look away from it; to fill you with such a mix of horror and guilty pleasure that you can’t tell the two emotions apart. Plus, the opening credits playing to Johnny Cash is as good as it gets. Hollywood take note, this is how zombie movies should be made.

7. REC (2007)

R | 78 min | Action, Horror, Mystery

69 Metascore

A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.

Directors: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza | Stars: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Pablo Rosso

Votes: 156,275

A horror film that’s actually scary. In fact, it’s one of the scariest. Watching this film snowball into a seething siren of panic and dread is the most thrilling film experience we’ve had in the last 10 years. Rec takes the found footage Blair Witch Project style of filmmaking to the next level. The real scares come from what’s framed off the camera. There’s never a moment when sheer terror isn’t lurking around the corner. The staging in Rec is equally as brilliant. Rec also has the creepiest kid zombie ever. One things for certain, the last few minutes of Rec will truly mess with your psyche, sticking with you long after the credits roll. Note: make sure not to watch the dubbed version!

8. Planet Terror (2007)

Not Rated | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

After an experimental bio-weapon is released, turning thousands into zombie-like creatures, it's up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the infected and those behind its release.

Director: Robert Rodriguez | Stars: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodríguez, Josh Brolin, Marley Shelton

Votes: 192,134

The keyword here is fun. Planet Terror is a first rate homage to the sleazy B-movies of decades past. Loaded with gore, zombies, cliches, and self-referential influences from the likes of John Carpenter, George A. Romero, and Lucio Fulci, it’s so good it’s bad. This film is a loving ode to a lost film experience, when watching movies on the silver screen had meaningful imperfections like blips and scratches on the film. Now that digital projectors have completely taken over… this cinematic experience is long gone. Robert Rodriguez knows there’s a certain magic to the trashy movies from the days of yore and this film beckons us to return to our roots…in the best possible way.

9. The Horde (2009)

Not Rated | 90 min | Action, Horror

An end of the world battle between gangsters, cops and zombies.

Directors: Yannick Dahan, Benjamin Rocher | Stars: Claude Perron, Jean-Pierre Martins, Eriq Ebouaney, Aurélien Recoing

Votes: 14,647

Influenced by the gritty crime movies of the 70s, this French zombie gore-fest doesn’t let up from the moment the film begins. Unfortunately, due to the unappealing characters, an underdeveloped storyline, and the “let’s get out of the building” plot, this film is a far cry from a classic horror film. But if you love zombie-mayhem and violent action packed gore this film will make a perfect Friday night viewing for any hardcore zombie fan.

10. The Dead (2010)

R | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

59 Metascore

An American mercenary, the sole survivor of a plane crash, has to run the gauntlet across Africa, battling with the living dead.

Directors: Howard J. Ford, Jonathan Ford | Stars: Rob Freeman, Prince David Oseia, David Dontoh, Ben Crowe

Votes: 8,495

The Dead is a refreshing tribute to the early Romero films, building suspense and atmosphere rather than overusing the shaky cam gimmick and CGI gore that we have grown so accustomed to. It doesn’t offer anything new to the genre but its cinematography is absolutely breathtaking. And despite its low budget, the effects are incredibly well done. Filmed in West Africa, this superbly crafted film uses bleak and desolate settings to portray the dread and fear of the zombie apocalypse.

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