Let’s just get this out of the way first: if you’re not watching the hilariously bad-in-the-best-way made-for-tv Sy-Fy zombie movies that pop up in marathons every once in a while, you are missing some gems. In this installment of Nerdophiles Picks, we’re looking at some of our favorite zombie movies because zombies are never going out of style. Make sure you’re ready to defend your stance on slow-moving versus fast-moving zombies, your best survival strategies, and the best zombie-slaying weapons once we get through this list. Presented in no particular order…
28 Days Later
Pedantic complaints aside (it was a rage virus, not zombies), 28 Days Later really revolutionized the zombie game by giving us horrifyingly fast zombies – the kind that live long into your psyche after viewing. Danny Boyle put together a beautifully shot movie with haunting looks at an evacuated London, followed up by the dark and twisted that can only be strung together by humanity. The cast is fantastic, consisting of Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, and Christopher Eccleston. I’d even argue that the follow up, 28 Weeks Later, is worth a viewing (at least for the opening sequence and the adult cast).
Shaun of the Dead
Don’t lie, ever since Shaun of the Dead, you’ve put zom-rom-com’s as a genre of movies that you enjoy. I love Shaun of the Dead the best of the Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy, so I may be a little bit biased, but it’s clever and hilarious with a high re-watchability factor – in fact, you have to watch it more than once to catch all of the little idiosyncrasies it has (if you don’t blink, you’ll catch Martin Freeman!). Shaun of the Dead paved the way for more light-hearted fare in the zombie genre, while still giving nods back to the classics.
The suspense is palpable with this entry. The action occurs in mostly one place throughout the entire movie and the creeping fear comes in from the unknown. It’s the psychological terror that comes into play with Pontypool, more than the blood and guts variety of most zombie movies. Based on a novel called Pontypool Changes Everything by Tom Burgess (who adapted the screenplay), this isn’t your average monster movie.
Another entry into the rom-zom-com category, Warm Bodies is one of those movies that is self-aware and cheeky with the audience. Based on a book of the same name, it asks the audience to look at (some) zombies in a new light. The cast is great and there’s a lot of laughs to be had while watching this one.
World War Z
I read the book, so I wasn’t remotely satisfied with World War Z the movie, but I think the consensus of the average movie-goer and those who haven’t read the book (or who aren’t nearly as bitter about it and were able to divorce the book from the movie) found it to be a nice blockbuster offering of zombie apocalypse goodness. And while the alternate, open-ended, bleak ending would have satisfied no one at all, I have to begrudgingly admit that, for what it was, it was an alright movie.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
This is like one of those guilty pleasure movies. At the punch bowl, you swear up and down that the original was highly superior and then you go home and watch this remake every time it’s on the air. A straight forward blood-and-guts entry into Nerdophiles Picks, we even get the answer to zombie babies in this film. Don’t you still have that version of Down With The Sickness stuck in your head? And if you stuck around until the credits, it becomes a completely different movie.
If you last just over a minute into this (NSFW) music video, there’s a plug for Dead Snow, which is how I found this film. How did I find the music video…? I honestly can’t remember, but it’s still hilarious to link my friends to, as we all screech and scramble to cover our ears when we hear the opening notes. It turns out the music video and the film were both done by the same director or something and he wanted to plug his film. You’ll have to sit through subtitles for this one, but it’s honestly everything you could ask for in a zombie movie – including NAZI ZOMBIES!
I saw this movie for the first time in a packed theater, surrounded by other college kids on every side, and it reminded me why we should always watch movies with other people. Zombieland is hilarious and endlessly quotable, reviving Woody Harrelson’s career a bit and bringing us more Emma Stone. After watching this movie, you know you started listing out your rules for the zombie apocalypse too.
You’ve been warned, this one is a rough watch. Another completely inventive take on the zombie genre, this one centers on (as the title suggests) a dead girl and a group of high school boys. It makes a strong commentary on humanity, as well as making you question who the monsters actually are. Powerful and somewhat sickening at points, it’s horrifying in a completely different way.
Night of the Living Dead
Arguably, the one that started it all. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead has spawned sequels and remakes, but if you haven’t seen this original, you should drop everything right now and check it out – trust me, you’ll get that much more glee out of, “WE’RE COMING TO GET YOU, BARBRA!” in Shaun of the Dead if you do. Ahead of its time and somewhat controversial for its casting choices, it has held up surprisingly well for the times and still holds some of its commentary true. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t seen this one.
Some of our honorable mentions include Dead Air, Fido, Evil Dead (even if it’s about demonic possession, shhh), 28 Weeks Later, and anything you can catch on Sy-Fy these days. What do you guys think we’re missing out on? Anyone ready to argue the infection of living humans versus zombies thing? Let us know what you’re watching tonight! And I’m more than happy to discuss zombie survival plans in the comments!