For better or worse, the zombie genre is the supreme king of horror, and has flooded every corner of cinema. Today, we can find a romance in the category, such as this year’s Warm Bodies, all the way to hilarious comedies like Zombieland. We, as a culture, have a fascination with a zombie apocalypse, and what that says about us can be interpreted in various ways. That said, the staff at Renegade Cinema decided that our staff picks for this week would chomp into the bloodthirsty zombie category!
Top Zombie Movies
I just watched it 2 days ago. I really enjoyed it because it introduced a slightly new dynamic, namely, (SPOILER ALERT) the curing of zombification via love and hope. I was surprised that John Malcovich was in it in a supporting role. He was the only big name star. It had a sweet romantic story going on between a zombie boy and a cute totally alive girl. Also interesting were the two different zombie factions – the Bones, which were near skeleton zombies and the Corpses which were the more traditional type zombies. I enjoyed the developing relationship between the boy and the girl, and the way the Corpses join forces with the humans to kill the Bones. Lastly, it had some laughs along the way and a happy ending.
John “D-Rock” Dotson
I caught the premiere of this movie before it struck theaters and automatically knew Danny Boyle had a game changer on his hands. This was the first film to actually make me scared as hell of zombies. Why? Because these bastards could run! I mean holy sh*t! Before, all you had to do is just avoid huge clusters of the flesh eaters and you had a chance. The “rage” zombies made me realize if this were to actually happen, my ass would be lunch. “Rage” element aside, 28 Days Later has a stellar narrative and haunting score composed by John Murphy. I love this movie and will always carry nostalgic memories of my first viewing of the “rage virus.”
Return of the Living Dead. The OG funny zombie movie. The OG fast zombie movie. The first time in a movie a zombie ever said, “MORE BRAAAAAINS!” Dawn of the Dead may have made zombies an active means of social critique. But Return made zombies fun. And scarier. Beat for beat, it’s the most fun I’ve had with a zombie film. The meta aspect of the plot that ties into Romero’s films is brilliant. The punk rock aspect of the film is brilliant. The special effects are over the top and still make me wince. My favorite zombie film, hands down.
Here’s mine! 28 Weeks Later *Spoilers* Everyone knows 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle’s gripping and deeply disturbing 21st century zombie film which made powerful statements on mankind’s capacity to commit evil acts in the face of society’s ruin, and its capacity to find love, too. It’s a fantastic movie, and it certainly set the bar high for future scientifically explained and hyper-realistic zombie fare, like World War Z and The Walking Dead.
However, in the interest of gong against the grain, I wish to talk about its overlooked sequel, 28 Weeks Later. The follow-up movie is just as unnerving and thematically poignant. In this movie, the Rage virus has been entirely wiped out, and the UK is in the process of rebuilding London. The always amazing Robert Carlyle plays a guilt-ridden father who was forced to abandon his wife to hungry zombies in the opening scene in order to save his own life. He is reunited with his two children, and they begin the process of healing.
Oh, but of course things don’t go the way they planned. The kids find their mother at their childhood home and she is inexplicably not a zombie. She is promptly quarantined by the government. Turns out she carries the virus but is asymptomatic, and in an absolutely traumatizing scene, she bites her husband and through his immediate zombification, he starts attacking people all domino-effect Rage-style, wrecking havoc and reigniting the zombiepocalypse all over again.
That’s what you get for ditching your spouse! But the movie is also deeply sad and chock full of suspense and horror-fan gore. The traumatized children and several survivors (including the ever watchable Rose Byrne, playing a scientist) try to escape the city, which is now under strict order to be completely fire-bombed. They need to get the little boy out, you see, because he might be the missing link to a Rage virus cure! Jeremy Renner plays a soldier who abandons his “shoot everyone” post to help them. His demise is one of the best death scenes of any zombie movie I can think of.
I strongly urge everyone to re-visit 28 Weeks Later. Sorry die-hard fans, but I’d even go so far as to say it makes World War Z look like Wreck It Ralph.
Shawn S. Lealos
I would normally choose Shaun of the Dead or Dawn of the Dead, but I want to choose something more obscure to turn people’s eyes too:
This is a Canadian zombie movie that takes place after the zombie apocalypse has ended and humanity has won. Life has bee rebuilt, and since the zombie battles was so dark, the color palette for the new world is more like Pleasantville, all bright colors and Leave it to Beaver personalities.
Except for the zombies that are now used as pets and slaves. A company made a neck collar that forces the zombies into an undead life of servitude and strips them of their lust for flesh. They are now gardeners, love slaves, and in the case of our hero Fido, as a pet.
The movie is not so much a comedy as it is a satire. The zombies are there as tools for the humans to use. That makes the love that the boy Timmy has for his pet Fido kind of unique (and yes, Timmy is a reference to Lassie).
Billy Connolly plays Fido and is just perfect in the role. This is a fantastic movie and I would suggest that everyone watch it.
I am going to have to go for Zombieland, really just for Bill Murray’s cameo as himself and his amazingly hilarious death scene. I still remember the feeling of uncontrollable laughter as he let out his final, absurdly long, breath. I didn’t stop laughing for at least another minute after the scene had ended. I love that he avoided the zombies by dressing and acting like them, but the irony that that is what ultimately killed him. And Woody Harrelson’s justifiable violent impulses toward the kid who didn’t know who Bill Murray was. That scene alone makes the movie for me.
I like the humor factor, Zombieland is one I would watch…plus it is the only one that has a list of rules that can benefit during a zombie invasion….double tap, just sayin. Shaun of the dead is on the list as well as Warm Bodies.
Once upon a time there was a man named Lucio Fulci. It turned out he was a super genius at movies. No one really knew this about him until he made Zombi 2 (aka Zombie, Zombie Flesh Easters, or Woodoo). There is a zombie plague on an island. It’s got a mystery. It’s super bloody and violent. It was condemned for it’s graphic content by the government of the UK. All of that stuff is great. It’s really spectacular, but none of that has anything to do with why it’s my favorite zombie movie. No, the reason why this film stands above all others in the now oversaturated category is this: a zombie fights a shark. I’ll type it again, so that you can really come to terms with how great it is. A zombie fights a shark. The zombie takes a big bite of giant death fish flesh. The aquatic killing machine tears the arm off of the reanimated corpse. It all happens underwater. It looks awesome, and the concept is perfect. It’s one of those things people talk about at the end of a long night when the conversation gets kinda stupid. ‘Who would win in a fight, zombie or a shark?” People ask those questions. Lucio Fulci gives them answers. I won’t, watch it yourself to see how it all goes down. Just remember, A zombie fights a shark.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Edgar Wright’s first film was completely amazing. Incredibly well made and well thought out, smart, witty humor around every corner thanks to the genius of Pegg and Wright. The pacing and the fast paced camera work make this unique zom-rom-com a film to remember. And it shot off the famous Cornetto Trilogy and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s career. The film pays homage to all other zombie films while still keeping itself fresh and funny. Hell, Romero saw the film and loved it so much that he made Pegg and Wright zombies in one of his films. How’s that for a slice of fried gold?!
Shaun of the Dead – Honestly, if I have to explain myself, then you clearly haven’t seen the film. Hands down one of the most brilliant films ever created. I truly doubt we’ll ever see another movie that can blend three genres and hit a massive home run like this. Just a fantastic film that everyone needs to see. Absolutely brilliant.
I’m with Caliber for the exact reasons he mentioned. SHAUN is the king of zombie flicks. No other one – serious or comedic – can compare to the insanely detailed brilliance of Egdar Wright’s film.
Shaun of the Dead has set the standard for zombie comedies and the magic has yet to be duplicated (sorry Zombieland). Though to be fair between the witty British humor, the always awesome comedy team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and the brilliance of director Edgar Wright, how could it be duplicated? Oh and on a side note I think they unintentionally proved that Queen makes for awesome zombie killing music.
Zombie movies are not my favorite but I do love watching Milla kick butt in all the Residents Evils.
Lord please spare me of the virtual whippings I about to receive from my colleagues, but my go-to zombie flick lately has been Zack Snyder’s remake of Romero’s classic, Dawn of the Dead. I know that some consider it sacrilegious to introduce fast-moving zombies into the realm of Romero greatness but I thought it was a good take on the mythos. I also just really dig the movie from beginning to end — the opening chaos, the fantasy of living in a mall (c’mon, who among us hasn’t dreamt of being alone in some type of consumer paradise for an extended period of time, to do what we please?) being enjoyable in spite of — or perhaps because of — the terrors that roam outside. Did Romero do it better? Of course…his Dawn is arguably the BEST zombie film ever made. But it still sits on the shelf, just as this faster-paced, difference interpretation does. I like to think of it as Dawn on _____ (insert your most apt accelerating substance here), and to me, it is damned enjoyable.
***SPOILERS*** Plus I really dig the “first” ending, where a gunshot pretty much kills hope, even in the face of a boat and a supposed uninfected area which to inhabit and begin again. And just what happens amidst the closing credits when the group hits that island? Man, talk about crushing some dreams. If a zombie apocalypse ever does occur, will we really have a prayer? Maybe in the mountains where cold would slow the undead down. In the tropics maybe because they would rot more quickly, losing any semblance or cohesion or motor control. But in the end, the zombies just keep on comin’.
I am an amateur when it comes to zombie movies, so my choice may be a bit of a curveball. I choose Josh Whedon’s “Cabin In The Woods.” I know, I know, it may not technically be a true zombie movie, but I love it more than any other movie in that category. The backstory behind the Buckners was legitimately chilling, and they were horrible to behold in the movie. Also, instead of being a critique of the Red Scare or consumerism, the Buckners were a critique on torture porn. I greatly appreciated that since I hate torture porn.