18 Best Zombie Movies of the 21st Century

Counting down the best zombie movies to grace our screens since the turn of the century. You may not recognise a lot of these.

Zombie: A deceased human being who has partially returned to life due to undeterminable causes.

I don’t know about you, but I have had about enough of our undead friends to last me a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of our zombie brethren. It’s just that because of overexposure and a constant tweaking to the mythos to keep it “fresh”, I have become a little jaded. They don’t make them like Romero used to, before he went all independent and deeply disappointing.

In the 1980’s, the zombie onslaught was everywhere: on our televisions, adverts and music videos, which led to an eventual lack of interest from the public and a whole lot of “meh”. Once there were dancing zombies in Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller‘, being scared by them ever again seemed liked a hard task.

Zombies almost completely disappeared from our media until 2004 when the both excellent Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead were released, with the latter doing a lot to introduce “fast” zombies to a new modern audience. Replacing shuffling, sometimes laughable slow zombies with sprinting lunatics did a lot to revitalise the perception of the undead as legitimate monsters once again.

However, fastforward ten years and the perception of zombies feels like it’s shifting again. An abundance of zombie-related media has meant that what exactly makes a reanimated cadaver is now more debatable than ever: some of them can talk, use tools, retain some of their humanity, not to mention their “rules” regarding what they can and cannot eat. It’s a creative free-for-all.

That’s not to say that there hasn’t been some truly innovative and original ways of showing brain-eating and marrow gnawing on our screens lately. It just so happens that for every Land of the Dead, we get fifty Volcano Zombies. With the surely imminent death knell of the modern zombie craze not too far away, I decided to take a look at some of the best zombie movies of the 21st century so far. Bear in mind that the Infected from 28 Days Later and other similar releases don’t qualify as zombies in the traditional sense, so they haven’t made this list.

READ MORE: 20 Best Zombie Games You Should Be Devouring Right Now

18. The Rezort (2015)

Is The Rezort a good movie? Not particularly. Does it do anything different to what we’ve seen a hundred times already? Well, it’s Jurassic Park with zombies. When you boil down its premise to just that succinct little tagline, it’s clear that this isn’t a movie you should take too seriously. Sure, it looks cheap at the worst of times and some of the acting veers into melodrama, but as a zombie movie, it’s effective escapism that might take you by surprise.

 

17. Maggie (2015)

A popularly conflicting movie, Henry Hobson’s Maggie is a fascinating look into the deterioration of a young girl’s humanity as she gradually becomes one of the undead. Her father, played spectacularly by Arnold Schwarzenegger, does everything in his power to keep her safe and away from the inevitable. Not one for action fans, Maggie is instead an introspective look at love and what it means to be human.

 

16. Dance of the Dead (2008)

This movie is dumber than Harry and Lloyd rolling around in nuclear waste talking about creationism. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as Dance of the Dead doesn’t make the mistake of taking itself seriously for even a second. A light-hearted effort centred around a zombie outbreak during a high school prom and you can fill in the blanks about what happens next.

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  • Dave Marks

    Dude! I am the editor for the Zombie Research Society (www.zombieresearchsociety.com) — and you nailed every film! Bravo! Let’s stay in touch. My email is marks@zrs.me

  • Frustrated Zombie

    Nice list. Good to see the inclusion of The Dead also, that’s an under-rated zombie gem, with classic slow-paced shuffling zombies. Zombie fans may like the directory of zombie films that we are building out over at The Zombie Site http://thezombiesite.com/directory-of-zombie-films/

  • Jesse Gooby Buenger

    Sick of seeing black comedies on these lists… can we get a serious list for once? One that isn’t afraid to say while innovative the original NofLD was a pile of shit? You mention fucking Jaun but not the one where they’re all trapped in a Casino? The one with the people in the casino was the 2nd most intense zombie movie I’ve seen since Dawn (2004). FTR The Dead is probably the most overrated zombie movie I’ve seen since the original Night. SO much hype and its not even intense or interesting, the plot is even more vague than the original night, and the zombies have even less screen time, The Dead makes Night actually seem interesting, its that fucking boring…. good god you people need to watch more movies if The Dead actually blew your expectations… jesus…

  • Jimmy Donnellan

    Casino movie? You mean Remains? That was the most middling BLACK COMEDY TV movie I have ever seen. Can’t have been that amazing for you to not know what it’s called.

  • brittbratt

    They forgot world war z

  • Callum

    Damn this website sucks. 2 movies a page, are you kidding me?

  • max

    28 days later….i mean c’mon

  • Mcfly_7

    It doesn’t make sense if you have AdBlock but they do that so you have to refresh the page even more = more ads = more money 🙂

  • Yeah, because we super thrive off the extra 5p that brings.

    We paginate because the more scripts that are on a page with video embeds, the slower the loading speed. If we had all 15 videos on one page, you would probably take ten seconds to even access it.

  • IgnoramusSamus

    Where the hell is 28 days later?

  • L. E. Alba

    Is there really such a “best-of” list? Isn’t the notion itself an oxymoron? Zombification is the trending zeitgeist of a world gone to hell in a hand basket. It is the internalization of the world’s outward attitude toward the virus called “Homo sapiens”. People stumble and lurch though a world suffering the early onset of rigor mortis over climate decimation, the death of political liberty and a general “fuck-it-all” slow suicide by religious delusion. What else is new?
    The sooner we bottom out in the Chicxulub crater of human self-destruction, the sooner the world can take a deep breath and start over. Coming soon to a theater near you!

  • Adam Skacze

    There were no zombies there. People were infected with Rage virus but they werent undead.

  • Adam Skacze

    There were no zombies there. People were infected with Rage virus but they werent undead. x2

  • Jimmy Donnellan

    THANK YOU for being the first person who gets it.

  • Spencer Robinson

    u must be fun at parties :^)

  • Ann Lupet

    nobody cares about world war z

  • brittbratt

    Lol oh ok

  • Matt K

    Well… if you’re going to be technical about it like that then… Maggie was zombie virus and so was Juan of the Dead. Probably other movies on this list too. I can’t believe you included the Horde on here though… I appreciate the info but honestly this list led me to some disappointing movies except for Shawn of The Dead

  • Jimmy Donnellan

    Myeah, maybe you’re right. To be honest, the list is over a year old and I’ve seen a few since then that would make the cut instead. That being said, there really aren’t that many undeniably great modern zombie movies out there; a lot of them are polarising.

    The Horde being a good example. Loved that stupid movie!

  • Monica Donovan Grasley

    I can’t believe you overlooked the most innovative, and arguably the best film in the genre, 1985’s Return Of The Living Dead. A perfect mix of camp, wit, style and straight up horror.This was the first movie to have zombies crave brains, and to have them be cunning and fast. Not to mention some of the most amazing and memorable scenes ever committed to celluloid. Every modern zombie film owes a tip of the hat to this cinematic masterpiece that single handedly changed the genre. It is probably the most important and influential zombie flick of all time. If you have not seen this film do yourself a huge favour and watch it asap.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de02c3e12fd2cd9b5c4d2421406ef13e0ba23cc74405c7be26944510023bbebe.jpg

  • Return is indeed an amazing movie, but this is a list about 21st century zombie movies!

  • Monica Donovan Grasley

    Fair enough, I failed to adhere to the criteria and I stand corrected 🙂

  • Jake Bertz

    The fact that you put the Dawn of the Dead remake above Shaun of the Dead is purely unforgivable.

  • Jimmy Donnellan

    Hey man, I love both! I could watch either of them at any moment and still love them after all these years. Dawn juuuuuuuuust edges it.