From the reanimated hand reaching out of a desecrated grave to the lifeless, staggering gait, zombie tropes have definitely not gone out of fashion. So, it’s no surprise that every once in a while, we all get in the mood to see some blood, gore, and humans doing what they do best — survive. Let’s face it, zombie movies are filmed by the dozen these days, but there are classics scattered across numerous streaming sites, and we’ve dug them up so you don’t have to.
It’s easy to get stuck toggling through searches that don’t quite hit the spot. The good news is that we’ve done all the heavy lifting and come up with the perfect selection. Featuring action, drama, fantasy, and even a little bit of comedy, these are by far the best zombie movies streaming right now.
Director: Cho Il-hyung
Writer: Cho Il-hyung, Matt Naylor
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Park Shin-hye, Lee Hyun-wook, Oh Hye-won, Jeon Bae-soo, Jin So-yeon
If there is one thing Cho Il-hyung gets right with this picture, it’s the sheer realness he brings to a ‘not-so-real’ situation. There is no precision ass-whooping or other forms of badassery, just humans fumbling their way through a zombie-infested apartment building, holding on for their dear lives. Stuck indoors in the middle of a zombie outbreak, Jon-woo (Yoo Ah-in) reacts to his predicament with fear, uncertainty, and an expected sense of dread. On the verge of ending it all, he discovers that there is another survivor in the neighborhood, and the two team up to make it out alive. While it may not be the otherworldly, action-packed zombie movie people are used to these days, it is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.
2. Army of the Dead
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Zack Snyder, Shay Hatten, Joby Harold
Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder
One of the newest movies on this list, Zack Snyder’s 2021 release brings together various genre elements to get the ball rolling; at the forefront, zombies and heists. The latter should not come as a surprise since the movie is set in the land of the best heists, Las Vegas. With most of the city’s population infected, the undead are placed under quarantine with a handful of survivors boxed in. Years after living in the middle of a zombie-infested wasteland becomes the new normal, Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) is approached with an offer he can’t refuse (even in the middle of a zombie apocalypse): to steal a fortune locked away in the apocalyptic wasteland before it gets nuclear-bombed out of existence. From the intense team-assembling montage to the journey into the heart of the zombie territory, the plot does play right into a few zombie-apocalypse tropes. However, it’s just the fast-paced, action, and emotion-packed picture you’d want to soak in on movie night, with all of Snyder’s signature cinematic style. Plus, two words: zombie tiger.
Director: Ben Howling, Yolanda Ramke
Writer: Yolanda Ramke
Cast: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes, David Gulpilil, Susie Porter, Natasha Wanganeen, Caren Pistorius
If one thing is evident, it’s that Cargo challenges the status quo when it comes to what we’ve come to expect from zombie pictures. With a 48-hour window for humans to go rabid after infection, this 1 hour, 45-minute movie follows a father’s plight to deliver his infant daughter to safety before the virus completely takes him over. Though it doesn’t stray too far from the norm (there’s still the usual “survival of the fittest” vibe) it does lend a more sympathetic eye to the undead and reframes the emotional impact of the zombie apocalypse through its unique set-up. So, if you’re in it for a more heartfelt vibe, this is a top pick.
Director: Sam Fell, Chris Butler
Writer: Chris Butler
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elaine Stritch, Bernard Hill, Alex Borstein
Looking for something light that the whole family can get in on? ParaNorman fits the bill in more ways than one. Here, the spotlight is on Norman Babcock (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) who is not your ordinary 11-year old boy. Besides the fact that he can commune with ghosts, he feels like an outcast in a town he eventually has to save. What makes it such a wholesome watch is how it explores grey areas by drifting away from the usual battle between good and evil. And yes, there are old-timey zombies to sweeten the deal. Altogether, it brings to the surface lessons of acceptance, forgiveness, and the power of optimism that is perfect for all ages.
5. Kingdom: Ashin of the North
Director: Kim Seong-hun
Writer: Kim Eun-hee
Cast: Lee Chang, Yeong-shin, Seo-bi, Cho Beom-pal, Lord Cho Hak-ju, Queen Consort Cho, Mu-yeong
Fans of the Kingdom series will be positively thrilled by what Kingdom: Ashin of the North is dishing out. Set long before the events of the former, Kingdom: of Ashin North offers insight into Ashin’s life that we never knew we needed. To some, she’s just an obscure, evil, and mysterious character that pops up towards the end of season Kingdom season 2. An origin story of sorts, this movie explores what fueled her anger against the Kingdom of Joseon, causing her to unleash zombies by using the infamous resurrection plant. It’s an interesting take of a coming-of-age story, packed with violence, raw emotion, and strategy.
6. The Cured
Director: David Freyne
Writer: David Freyne
Cast: Elliot Page, Sam Keeley, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Stuart Graham, Oscar Nolan
Part zombie movie, part socio-political statement, David Freyne offers a fresh take on zombiism by calling it the Maze Virus. Set in the aftermath of the outbreak, humanity attempts to rebuild itself and even administers a vaccine that works on 75% of the infected population. Naturally, this creates a further division between the uninfected, cured, and the infected, which makes for some uncomfortable dynamics. In a wake of uncertainty, underground resistance groups begin to form, triggering governmental intervention. A bit slower than your average zombie horror, this is a thought-provoking picture flanked with violence and gore.
7. Little Monsters (2019)
Director: Abe Forsythe
Writer: Abe Forsythe
Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca, Josh Gad
Let’s start off by saying that this is not your run-of-the-mill zombie movie — it’s light, quirky, yet action-packed in the right measure. While volunteering on his nephew’s field trip, Dave (Alexander England) ends up having to fight for his life alongside a kindergarten teacher (Lupita Nyong’o) and an annoying children’s TV personality (Josh Gad). Unfortunately, fate has it that zombies escape from a testing facility nearby, making a beeline for the farm where the kids are indulging in some field-trip-related fun. There are a bunch of hitches along the way which deliver a comic and bizarre take to an outrightly horrific situation. What a gem in the rough!
8. 28 Days Later
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson
Get set for a rollercoaster of emotions, with energy levels stuck at 100% throughout the entirety of the movie. Set in Great Britain, a zombie-like virus called ‘Rage’ is unleashed on the masses causing total destruction and anarchy. In line with the movie title, 28 Days Later, (former) bicycle courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens and is lurched into a fight for his life alongside other survivors. Throughout the entirety of the movie, there is the nagging question of ‘will they survive?’ seared into the minds of the viewers. To spell it out, this 1-hour 53-minute movie is positively terrifying (if that’s a thing).
9. I Was a Teenage Zombie
Director: John Elias Michalakis
Writer: James Aviles Martin, George Seminara
Cast: Michael Rubin, Steve McCoy, George Seminara, Robert C. Sabin, Peter Bush, Allen Lewis Rickman, Kevin Nagle, Cassie Madden
Leaning more toward gags than blood and gore, I Was a Teenage Zombie brings in some much-needed laughter to the genre. Heralding the ever-so-catchy zombie romantic comedy trend that sprung up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, think of this low-budget production as an ode to a simpler time. After a drug deal ends with the dealer at the bottom of a toxic lake, the teens responsible create a zombie of their own to contend with the one they initially unleashed on their town (yup, a typical case of stoner vs. dealer). What could possibly go wrong?
10. Night of the Living Dead
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: John Russo, George A. Romero
Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman, Judith Ridley, Keith Wayne
Zombie movie fiends assemble! Night of the Living Dead is not just any zombie movie, it’s considered the mother of all modern zombie movies, directed by the so-called Godfather of Zombies, George A. Romero. This 1968 independent production is packed with tons of elements that contemporary movies have mimicked over the years. Here’s the gist, a group of strangers must band together to survive a full-on zombie attack, but the question is, will their differences let them? From the abandoned house in the ‘middle of nowhere’ to the unruly group dynamic, this picture gives you that authentic zombie feel, and it set an incredibly high bar for lacing in social commentary – a favorite of zombie storytellers – from the get-go.
11. Return of the Living Dead
Director: Dan O’Bannon
Writer: Dan O’Bannon
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa
In a brilliant mash of blood, gore, and all-around silliness, Return of the Living Dead embodies everything a good ‘ol fashioned horror-comedy should be. The storyline is simple and potent, following the events that unravel after two clumsy employees at a medical supply warehouse inadvertently cause a zombie outbreak in Louisville, Kentucky. Though it’s light and hearty, gear up for a few good scares along the way, along with its signature punk rock vibes.
12. Rabid (1977)
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Cast: Marilyn Chambers, Frank Moore, Joe Silver, Howard Ryshpan
Most horror movie fans already know that the 2019 version of Rabid is a remake of David Cronenberg’s production under the same title. If you haven’t seen it yet, then this movie is bound to give you some insight into what inspired the Soska sisters. The narrative itself focuses on a woman who wakes up with an insatiable bloodlust after being involved in a motorcycle accident. Her victims transform into mindless zombie-like creatures who spread the infection throughout Montreal. An intelligent, horror-packed piece, the movie explores various themes, with that touch of unbridled terror you signed up for.
13. Dead Snow 2
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writer: Tommy Wirkola
Cast: Vegar Hoel, Stig Frode Henriksen, Charlotte Frogner, Lasse Valdal, Evy Kasseth Røsten, Jeppe Laursen, Jenny Skavlan, Ane Dahl Torp, Bjørn Sundquist, Ørjan Gamst
As if medical school wasn’t hard enough, a group of students seeking a fun getaway in the Norwegian mountains is faced with the worst kind of zombies — the Nazi kind. For an hour and 31 minutes, expect high-energy and brutal scenes that may read as a tad too gory for some. However, it is a perfect watch if you’re looking for something that shamelessly sinks its teeth into the best horror tropes out there.
14. Death Becomes Her
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Martin Donovan, David Koepp
Cast: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn, Isabella Rossellini
This iconic piece may not be your go-to movie for screams, but it hits the spot in more ways than one. Altogether, the main culprit here is vanity and the ways it drives people over the edge. After losing her fiance to her frenemy, Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep), Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn) is driven to insanity. However, she comes back with a vengeance, debuting her new book alongside a banging new look. In a desperate bid to ‘keep up appearances’ Madeline visits a mysterious rejuvenation specialist who offers her an elixir of youth. There’s just one catch — she ends up joining the ranks of the undead. With bodies they literally had to die for, both ladies are forced to work together to preserve their ill-gotten youth.
15. Cabin in the Woods
Director: Drew Goddard
Writer: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
If any movie should take the cup for turning people off secluded cabins, it’s Cabin in the Woods. This meta production is your typical ‘group of friends get massacred in the middle of nowhere movie – until it’s not. There is a lot more than meets the eye that even the viewers are not fully in on at first. For one, the horrific creatures (including zombies) unleashed on the group are manipulated by some sadistic scientists behind the scenes, but the reason why is as surprising as it is engaging. Tied up with ancient rituals and the impending end of the world, the progression here is worth the hour and 35 minutes you’ll spend on this movie.
16. The Night Eats the World
Director: Dominique Rocher
Writer: Jérémie Guez, Guillaume Lemans, Dominique Rocher
Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Golshifteh Farahani, Denis Lavant, Sigrid Bouaziz
Visiting his ex-girlfriend’s apartment to retrieve a few music tapes may have very well been the best decision Sam ever made — or the worst. Bottom line, he wakes up in her house the next day and is not just confronted with evidence of a party gone wild, the streets of Paris are overrun by zombies. Managing to barricade himself inside the apartment complex, only time can tell what he loses first; his life or his mind.
17. Dead & Buried
Director: Gary Sherman
Writer: Alex Stern, Jeff Millar
Cast: James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield, Nancy Locke, Robert Englund
It took a while for audiences to catch up with this one, but like fine wine, Dead & Buried only gets better with age. Set in a quaint, coastal town confronted with one grisly murder after the other, Sherriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) discovers that the town coroner (Jack Albertson) has been pulling the strings all along. As the body count rises, the coroner adds more ammo to his zombie arsenal. The question here is, can one man take down a whole town of zombies?
18. Dance of the Dead
Director: Gregg Bishop
Writer: Joe Ballarini
Cast: Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Chandler Darby, Carissa Capobianco, Randy McDowell, Blair Redford, Mark Oliver, Justin Welborn
Dance of the Dead merges teen angst and a thirst for brains in the most tasteful way possible. In other words, though there are some pretty off-the-hook death scenes, it is not as gory as some of the options on this list. In this picture, the fates of the students at a high school prom depend on the misfits who couldn’t land dates. With reanimated corpses swarming into town from the cemetery nearby, it’s a matter of time before the teens are forced to work together to stay alive. If you can look past the obvious budget constraints, the commitment to character development is worth it.
19. White Zombie
Director: Victor Halperin
Writer: Garnett Weston
Cast: Bela Lugos, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert W. Frazer, John Harron, Brandon Hurst, Annette Stone, George Burr MacAnnan
The first feature-length film of its kind, the 1931 movie White Zombie, plays to the strengths of its main character, Bela Lugosi. As Murder Legendre, the zombie master of Haiti, he strikes a deal with, Charles Beaumont (Robert Frazer), an affluent plantation owner vying for Madeline Short’s (Madge Bellamy) affection. The thing is, her wedding is a few days away, so at the time it’s pretty logical to turn her into his zombie bride (or is it?) In a not-so-unexpected twist, Murder has plans of his own — plans that Madeline’s fiancee intends to thwart. It’s old-timey, zany, and dark in all the right ways.
20. Survival of the Dead
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: George A. Romero
Cast: Alan van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Richard Fitzpatrick, Athena Karkanis, Stefano Di Matteo, Joris Jarsky, Eric Woolfe, Julian Richings, Wayne Robson
Unarguably, Survival of the Dead is not his best work, yet George A. Romero always had it when it comes to gore-filled narratives. In a hellish new reality where zombies have overrun the world, Sarge Crockett (Alan Van Sprang) and his men roam the countryside surviving by the day. Naturally, it’s a huge relief when they discover they can find refuge on Plum Island. There is only one threat to their newfound safety — a giant family feud caused by zombies (face to hand).
Also, the fate of a classic JSA member might have been revealed.
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