What really constitutes a good zombie flick? Personally, I don’t go for too much blood and gore (although impossible to escape in a good zombie movie) due to a weak stomach and a penchant for plot. Instead, I prefer a psychologically damaging film that seriously frightens me because it just might happen. The capital “Z” Zombie Apocalypse–with it’s fair share of flesh-eaters but just as many horrid, twisted non-zombie moments that suddenly become life and death decisions, and of course the sister/lover/child death and subsequent resurrection into the undead–those are the moments that chill me. As an avid horror fan, I find the influx of walking dead on the big and small screen, invigorating. Nothing beats a good zombie movie, with a mix of bloody grossness along with true human moments. If I can jump out of my seat, cover my face in disgust of the brain matter AND shed a tear for the irony of life, I’m a happy nerd. So what are my favorites? Well, funny you ask. The 2000’s have brought with them a new fascination for the zombie genre. The best of them take classic themes of isolation and infuse humor, dread and witty writing. Below are my 5 of my favorite zombie movies of the 21st century, spoilers be damned!
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1) 28 Days Later (2002)
This scene always freaks me out. Danny Boyle harkens the tunnel scene back to old school zombie flicks such as Night of the Living Dead (1968), and makes it all about the acting, the shadows and the sound. The wind in the tunnels, the rats on cement and the girls shrieking raise the level of urgency by allowing you to imagine the worse. When Cillian Murphy screams, “I can see them, they’re coming!” there are no zombies on the screen. The audience must use their imagination to gauge the menace. The claustrophobia of the tunnel, the finality of the flat tire and the maxim, “everything that can go wrong, will,” create a memorable scene that continues to be the nail biter of the film for me.
2) Dawn of the Dead (2004)
This remake begins reminding audiences how solitary and final the zombie apocalypse really would be. Sarah Polley wakes up to find her husband’s daughter a flesh eating monster who promptly munches on dad, sending character “Ana” fleeing to her car and through a neighborhood ravaged by chaos. The walking dead are everywhere and no one is safe from the unbridled horror of it all. The opening scene solidifies the isolation of the situation, because eventually everyone–friends, kids, lovers and strangers–want to kill you and eat your insides. Best to keep your wits about you and think to grab the car keys before hubby starts chomping on your brain matter.
3) Shaun of the Dead (2004)
If I haven’t had my coffee, I am not gonna notice shit. Simon Pegg beautifully demonstrates the obliviousness of the working stiff in this scene. He literally walks through a zombie infestation without looking up. It’s me walking and texting, driving to work at 8am, sitting on the couch at 3am watching television. I am that person, oblivious to the destruction around me. In 2004, 38 zombie films came out (according to Wikipedia). The trend was hot and Shaun of the Dead mercilessly makes fun of the cookie cutter zombie film in a uniquely British fashion. Not sure if I’d have the same luck as Simon, but we can hope.
4) Mutants (2009)
“But I love him.” Words of a dead woman, I’m just sayin! I stumbled onto this french film while perusing Netflix for something scary to watch and I was not disappointed. I love a good french language movie, and having been pleasantly surprised by Haute Tension (2003), I watched with delight as Mutants reminded me why loving a zombie seriously blows. By the end, I’m basically wishing Helene de Fougerolles’ character dead. She’s been a fool, but I too might keep my hubby chained up in the basement for a while, at least until he tried to murder me or eat my face.
5) Zombieland (2009)
I am a fan of all things zombie and this film just took my love to the mainstream silver screen. With Woody Harrelson (swoon!), Jessie Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine, this movie finds the funny and practical in everyday zombie survival. The most random and amazing scene in this silly spoof of post-zombie life is when the gang lands at Bill Murray’s house. I tend to think that Murray must’ve been walking by the set and someone hollered, “Hey Bill, wanna do a scene in a zombie movie with zombie makeup and then get killed?” and then he said , “Sure, why not?” That is the only way I can think that this amazing scene makes any sense in this otherwise very predictable movie. Bill is hilarious, as always, and plays himself. Hilarity ensues.
- Danny Boyle on the Possibility of Another 28 Days Later Sequel (dreadcentral.com)
- Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse in Pittsburgh (local.answers.com)
- The 25 Best Zombie Movies (horrorbabes.net)
- New This Week: Night of the Living Dead: Aftermath #7 (avatarpress.com)
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