Zombie films

Top 10 Modern Zombie Films

By Dakota Cantwell

Zombies have entertained mankind’s stories long into history, but it seems that the 2000s really saw an explosion of zombie popularity in pop culture. With this influx of zombie cinema comes the good and the bad. While the list of bad continues to grow, the title of top 10 will forever be a hotly debated topic among undead enthusiasts. 

10. Cargo (2017):

This Netflix adaptation of a short film by the same name asks the question of what you would do to protect your children. When Andy (Martin Freeman) finds himself bitent and on the edge of turning into a zombie, he will compete to stay human in a world where even the survivors are the monsters. This heart-wrenching story lives up to its short film predecessor and brings a whole new audience to the story of parenthood and humanity. 

9. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016):

Adapted from the book by the same title, The Girl with All the Gifts creates a world where the children hold the future of life after Z-day. Following Helen Justineau (Gemma Arterton) in her attempts to teach pseudo-immune children how to live with their strange cravings for flesh and their retained cognitive abilities. Melanie (Sennie Nanua) shows special promise with this goal, but when Helen, Melanie, and the military force are required to go on a mission as a group, with Melanie be able to assist with the hungries on the street or will her own hunger take over. The Girl with All the Gifts takes a new approach to the idea of immunity in this drama thriller that gives a fresh breath to the zombie genre.

8. Little Monsters (2019): 

Zombie comedies are readily prevalent in modern cinema as the world has come to realize that most things don’t always need to be taken seriously. With so many comedies flooding the market, it’s a challenge to stand out in the crowd. Little Monsters accomplishes this in the most unorthodox way by subverting the commonplace child zombie trope and instead follows a washed-up musician, a kindergarten teacher, and a foul-mouthed tv personality as they struggle to keep their class alive in a sudden outbreak. Bringing together the star power of Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad to create the field trip from hell. From the military already comfortable with zombie outbreaks to the ukulele sing-alongs, Little Monsters will find something to tickle its watcher’s funny bones.

7. REC (2007):

The horror genre is no stranger to the first-person film experience, with many notable franchises spawning from it. The zombie genre got a horrifying addition from this subgenre with Jaume Balaguero’s REC. Following a young television reporter as she and her cameraman cover the life of a fire station at night, the duo soon find themselves trapped in an apartment of violent people who want nothing more than their pain and deaths. In what would be a film series that had many American cinema remakes and riffs, REC would create an experience unlike any other.

6. Maggie (2015):

Indie movies are very good at proving that a small budget doesn’t mean a small impact. Director Henry Hobson shows this spirit with his film Maggie. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin, this film packs quite the punch in this short drama. When his teenage daughter, Maggie (Breslin), finds herself infected with the new virus known for turning those infected into violent cannibals, Wade (Schwarzenegger) will do anything to stay by her side in her final days. Despite threats from the local law, Wade will do anything to protect his daughter and keep her comfortable at her end, even if she may inadvertently find herself hungering for his flesh. This emotional drama captures the small-town element and the family life there. 

5. Zombieland (2009):

Zombie comedies cannot be mentioned without the recollection of the Zombieland. With a movie that waited a decade for its sequel, this film created a fun and entertaining world where it’s the zombies’ planet and we’re all just living on it. Following Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) as two polar opposite survivors on their cross-country journey, Zombieland definitely earns zombie film of the week and its place on this list.

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004): 

Starting off the cornetto trilogy, Shaun of the Dead holds accolades all its own. Its place on this list is well deserved for being a cornerstone of zombie parody. Simon Pegg stars in this British comedy about a 30-something man stuck in a rut in life. When Shaun has a huge fight with his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield), he and his best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), go on a bender to get through it. Shaun and Ed awaken to find themselves in a world overrun by zombies. Shaun must now rise to the occasion to protect Liz and the rest of his merry band of survivors. 

3. World War Z (2013):

The long awaited adaptation of the book by the same title, World War Z was met with mixed feelings by the lovers of the literature. Still, the world created in this blockbuster zombie film cannot be denied as terrifying to viewers. When the world ends by ravenous monsters, Gerry Land (Brad Pitt) must assist the UN if he wants safety for his family. Land finds himself on a journey around the world to discover the source of this new virus and any way to combat it. With the break from the infection time, Director Marc Forster had to create a new way to scare his audience and his running stackable zombies created fuel for nightmares to come. 

2. Train to Busan (2016): 

No Top 10 list would be completed without Sang-ho Yeon masterpiece Train to Busan. Capturing action, drama and horror in the bottle of a train leads to some very impressive and memorable moments in zombie history. This film follows the passengers of a South Korean train from Seoul to Busan. Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi and Ma Dong-seok this film is a must-see modern classic. 

1. 28 Days Later (2002):

Another staple of the modern zombie list, 28 Days Later gives a weird comfort when watching the genre. From its familiar opening of the star survivor (Cillian Murphy) waking up in the hospital with no idea what happened to the world they know to the raged out running undead. Much of the modern cinema finds its inspiration in this UK tale of a group of survivors just trying to find shelter and meaning in a world ravaged by the apocalypse. Alongside Murphy, this film finds the talents of Naomie Harris and Christopher Eccleston to create a work of art that easily earns its place on this list. 

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