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For about as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by all types of zombie movies. What started out as a fear of the zombie apocalypse slowly turned into an enjoyment of the genre. If there was a zombie movie on DVD, I had it in my collection. Both the good and the terrible ended up on my bookshelf back in my high school days. There was one time when I let an acquaintance borrow a certain DVD only to get it back months later missing the case and the disc was scratched to hell. Luckily we live in a day and age where we don't have to worry about that thanks to being able to stream or rent any zombie movie out there.
It seems like over the past 10 or so years, the zombie genre has become as bloated as the undead that fill the screen. Go to Netflix, Amazon, or even Hulu, and type in "zombies," and you'll find dozens of titles. What to do in a situation like that? Roam the dense libraries of your favorite streaming service in hope of finding something meaningful and worthwhile?
Luckily for you, I've put together this list of the 11 best zombie movies and where you can stream or rent them online. So when you're holed up in your house trying to avoid contracting coronavirus, now might be the best time to sit back, relax, and watch some of the best tales of the undead out there.
Night Of The Living Dead (Amazon)
You couldn't have a list of the best zombie movies without including George A. Romero's landmark low-budget thriller Night Of The Living Dead. Not only did this 1968 classic start one of the greatest horror franchises in the history of cinema, it also paramount in the creation of the modern zombie movie.
This black-and-white tale of the undead follows a small group of strangers who seek shelter in an old farm house in rural Pennsylvania. As the zombies slowly begin to overtake the exterior of the house, the survivors being verbally ripping one another a part as they fail to put aside their differences. Those looking for a happy ending or great special effects probably won't like this masterpiece, but Night Of The Living Dead is definitely a must watch for anyone who wants to see the roots of the genre.
Where To Stream: Amazon
Train To Busan (Netflix)
Nearly a half century after George A. Romero introduced audiences to the idea of the flesh-eating undead masses, South Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho gave us one of the most refreshing and beautifully crafted films in the genre with 2016's Train To Busan. Set aboard a high-speed train infested with the walking dead, this movie carries on a lot of the messages that Romero inserted into his classic Dead anthology.
Throughout its nearly two-hour runtime, Train To Busan contains some of the best and most inventive trappings for its survivors. With one half of the survivors stuck on the back of the train and the other half on the front, they must find a way through the wall of zombies separating the two. This action-packed and heartbreaking story has me even more excited to see what happens in the film's sequel, Peninsula, when it's released later in 2020.
Where To Stream: Netflix (opens in new tab)
Shaun Of The Dead (Starz)
Not all zombie movies have to be dark and dreary retellings of the apocalypse as Edgar Wright showed us in the hilarious horror comedy Shaun Of The Dead. Written alongside the film's star, Simon Pegg, this parody of the genre remains to be one of the best zombie movies, even 16 years after its initial release.
Following the life of Shaun (Pegg), a down on his luck electronics salesman and his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), the film pits the two deadbeat losers against hordes of undead on the streets of London. While technically a comedy, Shaun Of The Dead doesn't hold back on the gore, guts, or head shots as Shaun, Ed, and their friends and family try to escape to their favorite bar, the Winchester, where who knows what'll happen.
Where To Stream: Starz
28 Days Later (Hulu)
Although it's technically not a zombie movie (people are infected by a rage virus), 28 Days Later offers one of the best portrayals of how society would collapse in the face of a virus infection that turns its victims into mad superhumans who want nothing more than to kill everyone around them. With only a handful of survivors including Jim (Cillian Murphy) and Selena (Naomie Harris), this Danny Boyle-directed affair remains one of my go to movies in whenever I want a good scare.
What the movie lacks in special effects or even high-quality film, it makes up for it with an engaging story, a phenomenal cast, and some of the most hair-raising chase scenes I've ever seen. What's even more astonishing is the way in which Boyle and the production crew were able to make the bustling city of London look like a deserted ghost town. And while audiences won't be seeing Murphy's performance in A Quiet Place II for a while, you can always see where he first broke out.
Where To Stream: Hulu (opens in new tab)
If you are looking for a star-studded cast, loads of comedy, and plenty of zombie kills then Zombieland is the movie for you. Released in 2009, this Ruben Fleischer picture brings together Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as the group of outcasts come together and make their way across the continental United States that has been all but destroyed by the masses of undead littering the landscape.
One part comedy and one part horror, this highly imaginative mash up of the genres offers some of the most inventive zombie kills and plot devices ever seen in horror movies. With a long list of "rules" in order to prolong their survival, this ragtag group gives us laughs, chills, and plenty of kills. There are even a few tears along the way.
Where To Rent: Amazon
Day Of The Dead (Tubi)
When George A. Romero was developing Day Of The Dead, he intended for it be the Gone With The Wind of zombie movies, but when he refused to back down from the unrated rating, the studio involved with the 1985 horror film slashed the budget in half from $7 million to $3.5 million. Despite having to cut out a great deal of the original story, Romero still put together one of the most claustrophobic and thought-provoking additions to the genre.
Set inside an underground mine system, Day Of The Dead puts scientists up against the military who are forced to live in confinement while outside world lies in shambles following years of the undead's reign of terror. And while Romero's previous efforts lacked in the detailed gore department, his third installment in the Dead anthology takes it to the next level thanks to the work of legendary special effects artist Tom Savini. This one is dark, bloody, and maddening as hell, but any zombie fan should give it a go.
Where To Stream: Tubi
Dawn Of The Dead (Amazon)
I would have included the original Dawn Of The Dead on this list, but thanks to confusion over who owns the streaming rights to George A. Romero's groundbreaking 1978 horror classic, the only streaming options are YouTube videos with not the greatest quality. That being said, we'll have to settle on the decent enough 2004 remake from the creative minds of James Gunn and Zack Snyder.
The new Dawn Of The Dead is similar to the original in name and setting of a fully functional shopping mall, but that's not to say it's a bad movie. Instead, it's just a different approach to the zombie mall concept. With an ensemble cast that includes Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Ty Burrell before he went on to become the lovable Phil Dunphy on Modern Family, this reimagining has some bright spots. The most memorable of those scenes is the film's opening in which Polley's character must escape her suburban neighborhood as its being ripped apart by the undead masses. The way the scene transitions to the superb title sequence still amazes me.
Where To Rent: Amazon
Warm Bodies (Amazon)
Who says you can't have a romantic comedy set inside a world that has been overtaken by millions of zombies? I guess no one told Jonathan Levine that before he wrote and directed the 2013 zombie comedy Warm Bodies about a ghoul by the name of "R" (Nicholas Hoult) who falls in love with a very living Teresa Palmer (Julie Grigio).
Based on a novel by the same name, the oddball comedy horror mashup is as funny as it is terrifying as the romance blooms in a world that is nearly a decade into a widespread zombie outbreak. With their perfect mixture of romance, thrills, and chills, Warm Bodies is perfect for anyone looking for a happier approach to the zombie genre.
Where To Rent: Amazon
The Dead Don't Die (Cinemax)
I could hem and haw about the intricacies of Jim Jarmusch's absurdist The Dead Don't Die, but I'll cut to the chase and say that this is one of the most refreshing and hilarious zombie movies I've ever seen. Not quite a horror movie and yet still not exactly your typical comedy, this mishmash of genres, along with the insane cast (Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Twilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, etc.), The Dead Don't Die is a gem.
When a zombie outbreak takes over a small city, the local police force, mortician, and hermit must make sense of the world around them as the dead mysteriously return from the grave. This one isn't for everyone, but man is it great.
Where To Stream: Cinemax
The Return Of The Living Dead (Amazon)
I was just a kid when I first saw The Return Of The Living Dead, so young that I failed to see the humor in this 1985 oddball horror comedy and thought it was the scariest movie I'd ever seen. It was truly frightening watching this classic on WGN that fateful October afternoon. Since then, I've grown to love this unconventional zombie movie about a viral outbreak in Louisville, Kentucky, of all places.
Written and directed by Dan O'Bannon, who's mostly known for writing the screenplay for Ridley Scott's Alien six years earlier, The Return Of The Living Dead sets place in a world in which Night Of The Living Dead was based. Add a medical disaster, a gang of street punks, and a soundtrack for the ages, and you have yourself one of the goofiest and goriest comedies to come out of the 1980s.
Where To Stream: Amazon
World War Z (Amazon)
And then there is the Marc Foster-directed World War Z, starring Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who is tasked with finding the cause of a viral outbreak that has spread throughout the world. Based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks, World War Z, is a fun, globetrotting adventure about a man who happens to find himself in the face of danger at every turn.
And while the film is a departure from the narrative structure of the well-written novel on which it was based, World War Z does have some of the most exciting action sequences and a finale in the zombie-infested World Health Organization headquarters that still makes me quiver all these years later.
Where To Rent: Amazon
Those are just 11 of the great zombie movies that are available to stream or rent online. Did we forget to include one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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