Entertaining, funny, serious, and gross, the decade’s best zombie films are sure to bring some undead joy, even with a year as horrible as 2020.
The end of the year holidays get a bit overwhelming for Halloween fans. All the ho, ho, hoing makes me feel some serious Bah Humbug bubbling up from my dark soul. Who doesn’t want to kill something after hearing Xmas carols since before Thanksgiving?
My holiday present for you is a list of my top ten favorite zombie films from this decade, that you can put in your stocking and have for the holidays. I hope a bit of exanimate entertainment is something that can help you through this oh so gleeful time.
There are a lot of zombie films out there, literally almost 1000 of them just since the beginning of the 21st Century. And you know this zombie girl loves the shambling undead flesh eaters! I have witnessed zombie beavers, a zombie musical, and even watched Abe Lincoln take out a few walkers. Most of the thousand or so recent entries into the genre were just ok at best, and some downright terrible.
That being said, I hope you enjoy my suggestions for a few good zombie films (in no particular order).
1. Warm Bodies (2013)
I’m starting out the list with a romantic and playful look at zombies, the apocalypse, and the idea that love can cure all — even restart a zombie’s heart. Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, Warm Bodies is a terrific film for turning off the ugliness in the world, kicking back and seeing things from a zombie’s point of view. Inspiring, amusing, and well-acted, this teen romance can melt any zombie lover’s heart.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Fubo, Directv, or Sling. Or rent/buy on most VOD platforms.
2. The Crazies (2010)
This George Romero remake was a great way to start the decade. Smartly written with a terrific cast, we see a husband and wife try to survive after their town is infected by a toxin in the water. The Crazies is very brutal, suspenseful, and has awesome SFX. I really hated the authorities in the film, and how they handled the situation, which makes this a very timely film right now. This is basic horror 101 and it works.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Roku, Hoopla, Tubi, Sling, or Pluto TV.
3. Little Monsters (2019)
Wearing a bright yellow dress and playing the ukulele, US star Lupita Nyong’o brings a fresh look to a familiar zombie story. Balancing some super gross scenes with over-the-top characters and a bunch of children, this film is another one to take you out of your daily problems and just have fun!
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Hulu.
4. Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)
I have a soft spot for this film since I adored the original Zombieland. The original cast is back, along with some new survivors, in this crazy zombie adventure. It is a worthy sequel, creative, and just so much zombie fun!
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Starz or Directv.
5. #Alive (2020)
This South Korean offering into the zombie world is the only undead film from 2020 on my list. With only two actors, other than zombies, carrying the film, it was interesting to see what a young man would do to meet the only other survivor in the neighborhood. The SFX were really good and since there wasn’t a huge amount of dialogue, it was easy to watch the sub-titles.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Netflix.
6. Cargo (2017)
This Australian zombie film takes a different look at the problems during an apocalypse. Set in the Australian outback, this story is more about the characters than it is about zombies and is a wonderful tale about the lengths a father will go to save his child. I admit this film makes me cry every time I see it. Martin Freeman stars in this heartbreaking story about the human condition and parental love. It is also probably the least gory of all the films on this list, so there is that too.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Netflix.
7. The Cured (2017)
So what happens if there is a zombie pandemic and they eventually find a cure? All the zombies turn back into humans, and we all go back to our normal lives? Yeah, not likely. Sam Keeley and Elliot Page star in this dark story from Ireland, about how the once infected, “the cured”, are discriminated against by society and especially their own families. They did eat people, and even though they are no longer dangerous, this fact causes social issues to arise. I thought this was an amazing and serious look at a difficult subject. How could a father forgive his son if he ate mom? Do people ever really forgive those who have spent time in prison for heinous crimes?
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Hulu or Directv.
8. It Stains the Sand Red (2016)
I really enjoyed this cute and funny film. Brittany Allen is a troubled woman from Las Vegas with a dark past, who finds herself stranded in the desert with a lone, and very hungry zombie stalking her. The connection between this woman and the zombie, to the point of her naming him, is very original. What I love the best is that the zombie literally saves her life, by making her a better person. Who knew? We just need an apocalypse to force humanity to make the right choices.
WHERE TO WATCH: Rent or buy on most VOD platforms.
9. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
This British post-apocalyptic film looks at a dystopian future after most of humanity is wiped out by a fungal infection, that turns people into super-fast zombies called hungries. Mankind’s only hope is a small group of children who are flesh-craving zombies but can still think and learn like normal children. One girl, in particular, is different and can control her cravings on her own. Is she the key to saving the world? This is one of my all-time favorite zombie films and novel!
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on HBO Max.
10. One Cut of the Dead (2017)
This is a film that you MUST watch to the end. At first, it seems like just a silly, low budget, badly made zombie film with sub-titles. But if you pay attention, and stick it out, you will find this Japanese gem to be a well thought out, film within a film, within a film! Things go badly for a hack director and his film crew. While shooting a zombie film, they are attacked by real zombies. Highly original and tons of fun, this zombie satire is sure to be a midnight movie hit, if we ever get to go back into theaters.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch for free on Shudder or Sling.
Bonus: My Favorite Zombie TV Show
As much as I love The Walking Dead and its spin-offs, I have gotten a bit bored with all the utter bleakness of these shows. One disastrous thing right after another gets too much sometimes. So, I wanted to add my favorite funny undead TV series for your binging pleasure. Please feel free to watch this undead comedy anytime you need a laugh!
Based on the comic books, we meet Liv Moore, a medical student who on her one and only night of college partying gets dosed with a drug that turns her into a zombie. To maintain her humanity, she must eat brains every day — so she gets a job at the coroner’s office, to have access to the yummy pink stuff. The side effect is that for a short time you take on the personality of and have memory flashes from the brain’s original owner, which makes her perfect to work with the police solving crimes. Corny and campy yes, but the wonderful cast of crazy talented actors around her, makes this one of the most entertaining and funniest zombie shows on TV!
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch all 5 seasons for free on Netflix.