35 Best Zombie Movies Ever Made
Zombie movies have been stumbling around since the dawn of the horror movie genre. Some of the best zombie movies touch on the failings of society while providing plenty of thrills. There were plenty of films prior to George Romero’s famous zombie trilogy, but he truly innovated the movie monster. You could say he is largely responsible for the way pop culture understood the undead.
It’s a sub-genre of horror that continues to this day in some of the grossest, scariest, and thought-provoking ways. We decided to curate some of the gnarliest zombie flicks from across the world all in one list. From America, Italy, and Japan it’s apparent people have an obsession with these flesh-eating fiends! We’re looking back to the 40s and going all the way up to the modern day with our selection of films.
We’ve collected some of the best zombie movie classics, to a few new selections that offer a little more bite! Grab your Lysol, gas mask, shotgun… and don’t forget the popcorn! We’re looking at the thirty-five best zombie movies ever made… we’re dying for you to see them. Enjoy!
1. Little Monsters (2019)
Directed and written by Abe Forsythe, Little Monsters follows a washed-up musician who teams up with a teacher and a kids’-show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies. The film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, and Josh Gad. It was released in the year 2019.
Starting with a light-hearted feature, Little Monsters puts a teacher’s love of her students to the test. It’s a fun movie with plenty of laughs with a few thrilling sequences. This zom-com is great to watch with friends on Friday night. If you’re not into scary flicks as much, this picture acts as a nice middle ground between horror and hilarious.
2. The Last Man On Earth (1964)
Directed by Sidney Salkow and written by Richard Matheson, William F. Leicester, and Furio M. Monetti. The Last Man on Earth follows a disease that turns all of humanity into the living dead, the last man on earth becomes a reluctant vampire hunter. The film stars Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, and Emma Danieli. It was released in the year 1964.
Technically they are vampires but they behave very much in the way we understand zombies in fiction. The Last Man on Earth coined the phrase “ghouls” in reference to the undead and provided an early framework to George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead by nearly four years. Also, how could we not include a Vincent Price picture on this list!?
3. Zombie (1979)
Directed by Lucio Fulci, Zombie (Zombi 2) follows strangers searching for a young woman’s missing father on a tropical island where a doctor desperately seeks the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead. The film stars Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, and Richard Johnson. It was released in the year 1979.
George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead was released in Italy under the title of Zombi, Lucio Fulci took the liberty of creating a sequel to the monster movie classic entitled Zombi 2 or Zombie. The film goes back to the roots of zombies by exploring themes of voodoo. It picked up some controversy in the UK for its graphic imagery but has developed a solid cult following since.
4. ParaNorman (2012)
Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell, ParaNorman follows a misunderstood boy who takes on ghosts, zombies, and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse. The film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, Anna Kendrick, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. It was released in the year 2012.
This is probably the only children’s film on our list, but it’s one of the best zombie movies for a reason. ParaNorman is expertly animated, the film is filled with tons of heart and lots of brains! It borders on dark and inappropriate humor while still maintaining its PG rating. It’s a film that kids, teenagers, and adults can enjoy.
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5. Splinter (2008)
Directed by Toby Wilkins, Splinter follows a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together in an isolated gas station to survive a voracious parasite that transforms its still-living victims into deadly hosts. The film stars Shea Whigham, Jill Wagner, and Paulo Costanzo. It was released in the year 2008.
Splinter is an underrated horror film that more people need to put their eyeballs on. The film locks itself into one location while making the most of its environment. The creature design is phenomenal and the premise just sells itself. If you’re into Night of the Living Dead or zombie movies as a whole, you’re going to dig Splinter.
6. The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
Directed and written by Jim Jarmusch, The Dead Don’t Die follows the peaceful town of Centerville that finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves. The film stars Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tom Waits. It was released in the year 2019.
The Dead Don’t Die came and went but we stand by it. It’s filled to the brim with fourth wall breaks, anti-humor, and just jarring performances. This one will take a couple of watches to really appreciate what Jim Jarmusch is trying to do here. The writing is somehow in your face while remaining very subtle, something only this film could do. Also with an all-star cast like this, it’s strange how more people didn’t see it.
7. Blood Quantum (2019)
Directed and written by Jeff Barnaby, Blood Quantum follows the dead coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’kmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague. The film stars Michael Greyeyes, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and Forrest Goodluck. It was released in the year 2019.
Blood Quantum is perhaps one of the most original concepts for a zombie film. It features some incredibly thought-provoking social subtext with tons of great scares. With some hit-or-miss writing at times, we promise this zombie movie will be sitting with you for a while.
8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Directed by Zack Snyder and based on the screenplay by George A Romero. Dawn of the Dead follows a nurse, a policeman, a young married couple, a salesman, and other survivors of a worldwide plague producing aggressive, flesh-eating zombies, who take refuge in a mega Midwestern shopping mall. Dawn of the Dead stars Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, and Mekhi Phifer. It was released in the year 2004.
This Dawn of the Dead remake is by far one of my favorite zombie film remakes and it honestly makes it pretty far up my list for remakes in general. The zombie baby birthing scene is enough to give it a few extra stars. It’s gross, brutal, and filled with tension and that’s why it’s one of the best zombie movies ever made.
9. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Written and directed by George A Romero, Dawn of the Dead follows an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall. Dawn of the Dead stars David Emge, Ken Foree, and Scott H. Reiniger.
Being the sequel to Night of the Living Dead, the expected zombie flesh-tearing night crawlers are back at it again. Only this time, it’s much more gruesome and shocking. Plus, it’s now in color! The sequel definitely fine-tunes the zombie movie Night of the Living Dead was going for. Two reasons you should definitely see this movie: helicopter head slicing and zombie kids getting blasted. Some of the best zombie kills a horror movie fan could ask for.
10. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
They Won’t Stay Dead! Written and directed by George A Romero, Night of the Living Dead follows a ragtag group of Pennsylvanians who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a horde of flesh-eating ghouls that are ravaging the East Coast of the United States. Night of the Living Dead stars Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, and Karl Hardman. It was released in the year 1968.
With this film being the deepest root of the zombie family tree, it laid the framework for all other zombie movies to come and it sure does age well. You can enjoy the colorized version or black and white. The black and white version definitely gives an eerie feel to the terror in the graveyard. Night of the Living Dead is unarguably the greatest zombie movie ever made.
11. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Directed by Dan O’Bannon, Return of the Living Dead follows two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse who accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies. Return of the Living Dead stars Clu Gulager, James Karen, and Don Calfa. It was released in the year 1985.
Punks? Zombies? Melting flesh? What more do you need in an 80s zombie film? Following its predecessors but not being an official sequel of the ‘’Dead’’ timeline, Return of the Living Dead needed to prove itself to be worthy. I can speak for most of the fanbase that it did so with flying colors. It does quite the fan service with the gore, skeletons, zombies, and of course the comedy. It’s a zombie movie unlike any other.
12. 28 Days Later (2002)
Directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later follows a mysterious, incurable virus that spreads throughout the UK, it’s up to a handful of survivors to try to find sanctuary. 28 Days Later stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, and Christopher Eccleston. It was released in the year 2002.
The unique way the virus spread in 28 Days Later brought a fresh new feel to the zombie movie category. These are the ‘’run at your face and scream’’ type of zombies and in my opinion the ones that make me panic the most. The viewer quickly has the post-apocalyptic-all-alone feel that sinks in and turns the ‘’what if’’ into a reality on screen.
13. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 28 Weeks Later continues to follow the rage virus inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes according to plan. 28 Weeks Later stars Jeremy Renner, Rose Byrne, and Robert Carlyle. It was released in the year 2007.
Following 28 Days Later, we continue on to a family trying to keep a pseudo-normal lifestyle in a boarded-up, candle-lit house. I really enjoyed the family that we follow in this one and the actors who played the kids (Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton). They really draw you into what it would feel like being a child in a restricted and scary zombie apocalypse.
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14. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Directed by Edgar Wright, Shaun of the Dead follows the uneventful, aimless lives of a London electronics salesman and his layabout roommate who are disrupted by the zombie apocalypse. Shaun of the Dead stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Kate Ashfield.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are an incredible duo in this zombie comedy. Absolutely one of my favorite zombie films of all time. There isn’t a second of this movie that isn’t perfectly calculated to relate to a fellow zombie movie paying homage to all the greats and becoming one itself.
15. Overlord (2018)
Directed By Julius Avery, Overlord follows a small group of American soldiers who find horror behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day. Overlord stars Wyatt Russell, Jovan Adepo, and Mathilde Ollivier. It was released in the year 2018.
Going into this film, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it or straight up never watch it again. Thankfully I absolutely loved it and watched it many times. The unexpected gore and incredible practical effects caught me off guard. I was so pleased by the makeup and storyline of this military zombie film.
16. Train to Busan (2016)
Directed by Sang-ho Yeon, Train to Busan follows a zombie outbreak in South Korea, as passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan. Train to Busan stars Gong Yoo, Yu-mi Jung, and Ma Dong-seok. It was released in the year 2016.
Admittedly, I was super late to the game when watching this one. I definitely regret that decision. The relationship of the father and daughter (Seok-woo & Su-an) really encapsulates what it means to help those around you and not be selfish in times of need. Seok-woo doesn’t understand this and has to learn from his daughter in one of the most stress-inducing life-or-death situations. Train to Busan has so much heart alongside great zombies and bloodshed.
17. Pontypool (2008)
Directed by Bruce McDonald, Pontypool follows a radio host who interprets the possible outbreak of a deadly virus which infects the small Ontario town he is stationed in. Pontypool stars Stephen McHattie and Lisa Houle. It was released in the year 2008.
Pontypool is definitely a weird one and that’s why it made the list. To come out at the height of the zombie craze in the early 2000s, it was brave to do it in such a new and bizarre fashion. I respect this film above anything else and it’s just a fun ride.
18. Prince of Darkness (1987)
Directed by John Carpenter, Prince of Darkness follows a group of graduate students and scientists who uncover an ancient canister in an abandoned church, but when they open the container, they inadvertently unleash a strange liquid and an evil force on all humanity. It was released in the year 1987.
Satanist zombie plague is absolutely something I can get behind. John Carpenter really knows how to sell this. The classic 80’s green liquid creating the zombies is a nice touch that helps us really dive into the science project that Satan is using the human race to conduct.
19. Zombieland (2009)
Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Zombieland follows a shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting bruiser in search of the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters striving to get to an amusement park join forces in a trek across a zombie-filled America. It was released in the year 2009.
Zombie horror comedies are typically a hit or miss with me. However, everyone on this list exceeded my expectations. It took me a few tries with Zombieland because I had a stigma in my own brain about them but I quickly realized it hit all the marks of a good zombie comedy. The star-studded cast delivers while the zombies and blood amplify the horror aspect of it adjacent to the crying from laughing so hard.
20. Cooties (2014)
Directed by Jonathan Milott, Cooties follows a mysterious virus that hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives. It was released in the year 2014.
Do you ever just want to see a bunch of snot-nosed undead children becomes undead, flesh-hungry zombies? I didn’t know I did either, but I am so glad I found this movie on a whim. It is such a fun and wild ride of chaos.
It’s definitely a scary thought come to life and I’d highly recommend watching this with a party of fun people. A great film to pair with Little Monsters in a zombie school-themed double feature!
21. Slither (2006)
Directed by James Gunn, Slither is a science fiction horror movie starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry and Michael Rooker. It was released in the year 2006.
Slither follows a small town taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters. Alien zombies are absolutely something at the top of my ‘’things I want to see’’ list and Slither does it in a disgustingly fun way. The practical effects of this one will get you squirming and slithering in your bathtub.
22. Dead Snow (2009)
Directed by Tommy Wirkola, Dead Snow stars Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jeppe Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjørn Sundquist and Ørjan Gamst. It was released in the year 2009.
Dead Snow follows a ski vacation that turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by Nazi zombies. This is the perfect setup for a horror movie. A snow-filled forest isolated away from anyone that can hear you scream. Or, hear your flesh ripping. Don’t forget to watch Dead Snow 2 as well. Dead Snow is great if you want more of a nazi zombie comedy or if you want something more serious you can check out Overlord instead.
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23. Day of the Dead (1985)
Directed by George A Romero, Day of the Dead stars Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato, Jarlath Conroy and Richard Liberty. It was released in the year 1985. Day of the Dead follows zombies overrunning the world, it’s up to a small group of scientists and military personnel dwelling in an underground bunker in Florida to determine whether they should educate, eliminate or escape the undead horde.
What an awesome idea! Experimenting on the undead, what can we make them do? Wait, maybe that’s unethical. But hey, it’s fun to watch. It’s a breath of fresh air to be pissed at the living in a zombie movie.
24. Night of the Creeps (1986)
Directed and written by Fred Dekker, Night of the Creeps stars Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, Steve Marshall and Jill Whitlow. It was released in the year 1986. Night of the Creeps alien brain parasites, entering humans through the mouth, and turning their host into a killing zombie. The film stars Jason Lively, Tom Atkins, and Steve Marshall.
Night of the Creeps is probably one of those movies you saw on a VHS store shelf, saw the cover, and said why the hell not. It’s a cult classic with lots of 80s horror movie staples. Slugs? Aliens? Zombies? Flamethrowers? And Tom Atkins? Hell yes! It’s certainly up there as one of the best zombie movies of the 80s.
25. The Crazies (2010)
This remake of the George A Romero classic is directed by Breck Eisner, The Crazies follows a plane crash, that releases an unusual toxic virus that enters a quaint farming town. A young couple is quarantined, but they fight for survival along with help from a couple of people.
First and foremost, I think I could watch Timothy Olyphant star in any movie and be interested. He does a great job in this as a small-town sheriff. It’s easy to care about what happens to the characters. The way the infected act is very eerie and erratic causing the viewer to be on the edge of their seat.
26. Sugar Hill (1974)
Directed by Paul Maslansky, Sugar Hill follows a voodoo queen who uses zombies to take revenge on a group of white gangsters for the murder of her partner: helping her out is the voodoo lord of the dead.
A voodoo revenge story with a black female badass for a protagonist is exactly what I want to see in this genre. Kicking the ass of racists and waking an army of the dead to help.
27. Planet Terror (2007)
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Planet Terror follows an experimental bio-weapon that is released, turning thousands into zombie-like creatures, it’s up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the infected and those behind its release.
Robert Rodriguez always knows how to give you the good, raunchy, oozy details to make you nauseous and this one takes the cake. If you’re looking for an over-the-top homage to the 60s and 70s exploitation films, you found it! Planet Terror is a phenomenal zombie flick and if you love From Dusk Till Dawn you’ll certainly love this.
28. REC (2007)
Directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, REC follows a television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.
As a found footage fanatic, REC is one of my favorite virus types of films. Up close and personal to a small confined apartment building while this unknown ‘thing’ is not allowed out but you’re also not allowed out is terrifying to me. The best thing about this great zombie movie is also the worse thing about it… how damn scary it is!
29. Re-Animator (1985)
Directed by Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator follows an odd new medical student who arrives on campus, a dedicated local and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue.
Playing god is an interesting concept. Frankenstein and his monster come to mind. The mad scientist with beakers and the glowing green liquid storyline is always one that catches my eye. Especially with the classic 80’s horror spin. Would you play god and re-animate someone if you could?
30. World War Z (2013)
Directed by Marc Forster, World War Z follows former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatens to destroy humanity itself.
World War Z (although based on a book by Max Brooks) is definitely an on-screen people-pleasing type of zombie movie. Very action and military-focused. I will say this is the first and last movie I saw an undead army come together to climb a giant wall to get to their feast. I enjoyed that.
31. I Walked With A Zombie (1943)
Directed by Jacques Tourneur, I Walked With A Zombie follows a nurse who is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely, on a Caribbean island. The film stars Frances Dee, Tom Conway, and James Ellison.
I Walked With A Zombie gets back to the origins of where the idea of zombies came from. Though it isn’t the scariest film on our list of the best zombie movies, it’s a genre staple that should be viewed by every horror enthusiast.
32. The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)
Directed by Colm McCarthy, The Girl With All The Gifts follows a scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future who embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie. The film stars Sennia Nanua, Fisayo Akinade, and Dominique Tipper.
The Girl With All The Gifts subverts so many genre expectations that come with zombie films. It’s heartfelt, thoughtful, and its story will leave you changed. We highly recommend this contemporary take on the zombie sub-genre.
33. Dead Alive (1992)
Directed by Peter Jackson, Dead Alive (Braindead) follows a young man’s mother who is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors. The film stars Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, and Elizabeth Moody.
Before Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson was directing the grossest and schlockiest movies unearthed. Dead Alive or Braindead held the record for the longest time for the film with the most amount of fake blood used. It’s a vile slapstick masterpiece that demands viewing by any horror genre enthusiast. Dead Alive is easily one of the best zombie movies ever made by far.
34. The Sadness (2021)
Directed and written by Rob Jabbaz, The Sadness follows a young couple trying to reunite amid a city ravaged by a plague that turns its victims into deranged, bloodthirsty sadists. The Sadness stars Berant Zhu, Regina Lei, and Ying-Ru Chen.
The Sadness is one of the newest films on this list and it isn’t for the faint of heart. It is truly one of the most disturbing movies we have ever seen and it took multiple breaks to just get through it. The film is a mediation on people’s inaction to the global pandemic and The Sadness does not hold back. Maybe clear your schedule for the day after this one.
35. One Cut Of The Dead (2017)
Directed by Shin’ichirô Ueda, One Cut of the Dead follows a hack director and film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies. One Cut of the Dead stars Takayuki Hamatsu, Yuzuki Akiyama, and Harumi Shuhama.
One Cut of the Dead is startling, funny, and filled with heart. It’s a picture you can tell the filmmakers had a lot of fun making. It’s a great idea for a zombie film and probably one of the most inventive of the subgenre. Easily one of the best zombie movies on our list.
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What Do You Think Is The Best Zombie Movie Ever Made?
Did we list your favorite zombie movie? What do you think is the best zombie movie ever made is? Let us know on social media today!