As fans of The Last of Us (2023) impatiently await a second season, we must seek our zombie fix from other sources. Luckily, the zombie genre is filled with hit flicks that will cause terror, tears, and gasps. From the classic Night of the Living Dead (1986) to Train to Busan (2016), these films bring new life to the undead.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
As the film that began horror lovers' obsession with your classic brain-eating zombies, Night of the Living Dead starts as two siblings drive to a graveyard to visit their father's grave. But when they arrive, strange, pale beings emerge from the darkness and kill the brother, forcing the sister to run for her life and seek refuge in a nearby house.
2. Rec (2007)
This harrowing Spanish found-footage horror film follows a reporter and her videographer as they visit the scene of an emergency at an apartment complex. When they arrive, they're locked inside due to a quarantine order and must fend for themselves as they attempt to ward off people who've come down with a mysterious virus that makes them seek violence.
3. 28 Days Later (2002)
When a young man wakes up from a month-long coma after a bicycling accident, he realizes he's in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. As he wanders through the dilapidated streets, he finds other survivors scavenging, hiding, and fighting and must convince them to trust him if he wants to join their group.
4. Train to Busan (2016)
Train to Busan is my favorite zombie film and perhaps my favorite horror film of all time. It's about a distracted father and his daughter who board a train to bring the girl back to her mother's house. But after the train departs the station right after an ill woman hops on board, the other passengers soon learn that the woman doesn't have an ordinary case of the flu.
5. The Sadness (2021)
This Taiwanese body horror takes an interesting spin on the zombie concept. After parting ways at a train station, a young couple fights to reunite with one another before they turn into monsters. A mutated, fast-spreading virus causes those infected to bring their deepest, most sadistic urges to the forefront of their psyche, leaving death and destruction in their wake.
6. Day of the Dead (1985)
In the Night of the Living Dead universe, a group of soldiers, civilians, and scientists hide in an underground silo months after the zombies have taken over the planet. The ragtag group of survivors attempts to devise a plan to save humanity from extinction as the undead surround the silo and launch a terrible attack.
7. Braindead (1992)
This hilariously campy horror comedy begins as an overprotective mother stalks her son as he goes on a date with a girl at the zoo. When a monkey bites the mom, she turns into a zombie, and her son attempts to keep her from hurting others by locking her in their basement. But she keeps escaping her confines and infecting more neighbors with the zombie virus.
8. The Night Eats the World (2018)
The Night Eats the World is a French zombie thriller about a Parisian musician who visits his ex-girlfriend's apartment while hosting a party to pick up some of his belongings and accidentally falls asleep in her office. When he wakes up, he learns the entire city of Paris is swarming with the undead, and he locks himself alone in his ex's apartment as he tries to figure out how to survive.
9. Alive (2020)
While a teenager waits in his family apartment for his parents to return home, he looks outside to see chaos on the streets below. After a close encounter with a neighbor, he realizes the zombie apocalypse has begun and locks himself inside the apartment. When another survivor knocks on his door, he can't decide whether to leave the man inside or remain trapped alone.
10. Re-Animator (1985)
After a medical student develops a serum that, when injected into a dead body, brings it back to life, he and his roommate test the reagent on a few different corpses. He proves successful at his endeavor, but there's one problem: the reanimated bodies are violent zombies that go on a rampage.
11. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
When a bumbling employee at a medical supply warehouse attempts to impress a new hire by showing him barrels of toxic gas, he accidentally breaks the barrel's seal, causing the gas to spill out and reanimate a nearby corpse. As all of the employees' attempts to kill the zombie fail, their efforts make the situation much worse.
12. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
After his girlfriend dumps him for failing to plan something exciting for their anniversary, a lower-than-average electronics salesman meets his weed-dealer roommate at a bar. They head back to their apartment and wake up the next day to discover the undead roaming the streets of their city, and the man comes up with a plan to save his ex-girlfriend and win back her love at the same time.
13. Zombieland (2009)
Years after the zombie apocalypse wrenched people out of their normal lives, a group of tough survivors follows strict rules to prevent the infection from taking them as victims. They must evade zombies and other desperate survivors as they travel across the wasteland, searching for a rumored safe zone.
14. Fido (2006)
This horror comedy begins with the outbreak of the undead, but luckily, a corporation called ZomCon Corp. develops a technology that allows humans to gain control over the zombies with a collar. Now the undead take the jobs people don't want and even live in family's homes as a sick sort of pet. But when one family's zombie pet's collar malfunctions, humanity is again in peril.
15. The Crazies (2010)
When a sinister toxin turns a sleepy town into a war zone swarming with bloodthirsty zombies, the government quickly quarantines the area. While this action protects those outside the town from harm, the remaining uninfected civilians are trapped in a nightmare.
16. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
28 Weeks Later takes place in the same universe as 28 Days Later but tells the story of the apocalypse as survivors attempt to accept their new normal. The problem is that the U.S. government is in denial, believing they managed to extinguish the zombie problem. But soon, they realize their deadly mistake.
17. Warm Bodies (2013)
In this zombie romance film, humans struggle to survive as more and more become zombies. One day, a group of zombies attacks a young woman, and another zombie saves her. Despite her fears, the woman begins to fall for her undead savior.
18. Cargo (2017)
Cargo is an Australian post-apocalyptic horror film about a desperate parent's love and protection for their child that goes beyond the grave. When a man in rural Australia becomes infected with a zombie virus, he races against the clock to transport his infant daughter across the wilderness in the hopes that he can find a safe place for her before he joins the ranks of the undead.
19. One Cut of the Dead (2017)
This ironic Japanese horror-comedy follows the crew of a low-budget zombie flick who film their movie in an abandoned World War II water filtration plant. When a ritual performed for the film brings real-life zombies to life, the actors band together to escape their imminent demise.
20. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015)
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse follows four unlikely heroes as they attempt to save humanity from the undead to earn their zombie-killing badge for their Boy Scouts troop. Three boys team up with a cocktail server, and each uses their unique skills to disarm zombies and surprise the audience with their hilarious antics.
21. Pontypool (2008)
Pontypool provides a unique take on the zombie genre both by having an outsider narrate the events of the apocalypse from the safety of his radio booth and with the way the zombie virus is transmitted. It follows a radio host whose typical day on the job becomes a plea with the human race to survive against all odds as he assists them by sharing everything he knows on air.
22. Maggie (2015)
With the zombie apocalypse underway, a man receives a dreaded call from his daughter. She tells him not to seek her out because she was bitten and only has weeks until she becomes a cannibalistic member of the undead. Desperate to spend time with his daughter, the father doesn't heed her warnings and chooses to stay by her side as she slowly becomes a monster.
23. It Stains the Sands Red (2016)
As a woman and her friend drive through a desert hoping to reach an airfield where they plan to take a plane out of their zombie-infested country, their car gets stuck in the sand. A lone zombie approaches and kills the friend, leaving the woman to fend for herself in the desert. Although the zombie moves slowly, it's always close to the woman's tail.
24. The End? (2017)
On his way to an important business meeting, a man gets stuck in the elevator of his office building. As his attempts at contacting a rescue team continue to fail, he has no idea that his unfortunate situation is the last thing on the authorities' minds. They're much more focused on saving humankind from the undead roaming the streets.
25. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
Over a decade, most of humanity became zombified when a fungal infection mutated and spread rapidly. Only a few infected never contracted the deadly symptoms, and they live in a protected zone away from harm. But the once infallible safe area comes crumbling down, leaving one survivor with the potential to cure humankind once and for all.
Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist from Worcester, MA with bylines in publications like Pulse Magazine, HorrorPress, CM Pride, Fangoria, and TransLash News & Narrative. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more in the entertainment and lifestyle space. She loves horror, LGBTQ+ representation, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically.