The 10 Best Zombie Movies Of All Time, According To Letterboxd

If you want to understand a people, watch their zombie movies. There is perhaps no more telling artifact of a people than its depictions of the walking dead. After all, zombies are just us with a few key differences: all zombies carry echoes of a past life. These stories reflect their times and are each a tombstone inscribed in the eulogy of a time and a place.

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When there is no more room in Hell, the dead will roam the earth, preoccupied with the same things that troubled them in life: consumerism, xenophobia, government oppression, violence. And if some distant archaeologist did find a definitive record, there are few more telling than Letterboxd’s list of most mentioned zombie movies.

‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004)

by Edgar Wright Shaun of the Dead is when the zombie mythos comes back to basics. While the titular dead may have no self-awareness, the movie itself is a winking love letter that embraces zombie movie history. From the title to the barricaded third act, it is a feature film of homage to the works of George Romero.

The characters, especially Simon Pegg‘s Shaun, are all numb, not just to violence, but to life itself. Shaun is so locked into routine that he misses life. In this way, he almost looks like a zombie, and viewers are meant to examine how much they might look like the dead with a loose jaw.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1964)

There are a few examples of dead people coming back to life in movies before night of the living dead. However, George Romero’s work in 1964 started the zombie trend, as audiences came to recognize him. Many characteristics that viewers identify with zombie movies have been formalized in night of the living dead.

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Perhaps the most important trope codified in Night was the allegory of “zombie film as social commentary”. Here, the civil unrest of the sixties is literalized in gruesome detail. While the undead might be the most exciting threat, in the end people should be more afraid of each other.

“28 Days Later” (2002)

In 2002, Danny Boyle published 28 days later, sending us the unique fears of this new century. When the deadly Rage virus spreads across Britain, the island is quarantined and the survivors are left to fend for themselves after the government collapses.

Boyle reflected a world that is afraid of its own future. It intentionally reflects images of historical ethnic conflicts and genocide. The film contrasts starkly with Edgar Wright’s lighter portrayal of England; gone are all the tokens of non-globalized Britannia (the cozy pub, the cricket bat, the Jaguar). Instead, it’s an England turned upside down by the encroaching ‘other’.

‘Zombieland’ (2009)

As Shaun of the dead before that, zombieland is less a parody than a loving homage. Written by dead Poolit is Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, zombieland is far more comic than it is horror. However, this is absolutely a zombie movie, and it systematizes many “rules” that have worked for survivors of the genre.

In this film, zombies are infected, rather than undead. So what separates humans from their fierce ilk? zombieland answers the question by slowly asking his characters to let their guard down throughout the runtime. The main characters all connect, showing that what differentiates people from their undead cousins ​​is their need to relate to their fellow man.

“Dawn of the Dead” (1978)

Image via United Film Distribution Company

Fourteen years after establishing the modern zombie genre, George Romero has returned to show he is its master. This time, rather than focusing on people stuck in a basement, Romero widens the scope to show zombies in a more urban setting.

The main characters of dawn of the dead find themselves trapped in a mall, initially (and mistakenly) believing they’ve found refuge in this palace of consumerism. However, soon the undead invade the mall, doomed to repeat the rituals of commercialism that have ruined their lives.

‘Braindeath’ (1992)

Brain death a.k.a Undead is the promise of cinematic greatness that peter jackson would fill in his the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It’s the work of a young director who enjoys soaking his cast and crew in homemade blood and guts. This pleasure is palpable, so horribly viscous and perverse.

At its core, this is a story about family dynamics. There are character types that recur throughout fiction and real life: the overbearing mother, the lovable son, the Sumatran rat-monkey carrying an infectious disease. It is a story as old as time. Sometimes, even in the face of unholy terror, family roles are the real danger.

“Dawn of the Dead” (2004)

dawn-of-the-dead-2004-social-feature
Picture via Universal Pictures

Foreshadowing later DC cosmology, dawn of the dead (2004) is Zack Snyder’his debut as a feature film director, and the screenplay was written by james gunn. The film retains the suburban mall setting, but ramps up the intensity, making it a more action-packed film.

This Dawn takes care of the redemption. In the face of the end of the world, does the atonement even matter? Or, would the apocalypse offer the perfect chance to save each other?

‘[REC]’ (2007)

In [REC], a camera crew and a reporter follow a fire crew during a distress call involving an aggressive elderly woman. When it becomes clear that the woman is infected, the building and everyone inside is placed in quarantine.

The filmmakers behind [REC] could not have understood how prophetic their depiction of found footage of societal collapse was. Dark and often disturbing, this film is a faithful image of frightened people in confinement.

“Day of the Dead” (1985)

At the time of the events of The day of the Dead, his characters have been rubbing shoulders with the zombie plague for a few years. The few survivors who remain are depicted as either soldiers or scientists. Soldiers attempt to destroy their undead neighbors, while scientists seek deeper understanding.

RELATED: George Romero’s ‘Day of the Dead’ Is Both His Goriest and Most Philosophical Zombie Film

Even more clearly than the film’s two predecessors, Day is the film in which George Romero makes his thesis most explicit, following in the footsteps of Jean Paul Sarte: Hell is other people.

“Train to Busan” (2016)

Train to Busan is popular because he understands people so clearly. Add to that the spectacle of a bullet train in the zombie apocalypse, and you have an amazing film.

It is, ultimately, a story about sacrifice versus selfishness and what that means for the characters in conflict. Would you risk your life to save a stranger?

KEEP READING: From ‘The Last of Us’ to ‘Train to Busan’: Why Is The Zombie Apocalypse Obsessed With Dads?

The 10 Best Zombie Movies Of All Time, According To Letterboxd – GameSpot