35 Best Zombie Movies of the 21st Century

Looking for the best zombie movies of the 21st century so far? From Dawn of the Dead to Shaun of the Dead, here are the essentials.

Dawn of the Dead 2004

11. Cargo (2017)

Cargo movie

The slow-burn and lack of buckets of blood may turn some zombie movie fans away from Cargo, but it really shouldn’t. It feels like the evolution of Maggie: a look at the dynamic between a father and daughter with the same arid landscape as The Dead and the hook of Colin to boot.

If that sounds convoluted, Cargo is anything but. It’s a simple story of love and sacrifice beautifully told that you shouldn’t overlook on Netflix.

 

10. Ravenous (Les Affamés) (2017)

Les Affames

By all accounts, the zombie craze is over. Mention a new undead movie in passing to someone and the best you can hope for is an eyeroll. It was a big surprise, then, that Ravenous somehow managed to make zombies feel like a threat again.

Admittedly, a lot of the added tension might have come from reading the subtitles while also trying to keep an eye out for the jumpscares, but this is still a taut and highly enjoyable trip to Canada that’s minimalism leaves a lasting impact.

 

9. Rammbock (2010)

Rammbock

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A German horror that might have flown under the radar for many, Rammbock is a tense yet mercifully brisk affair that sees a jilted boyfriend trying to reconnect with his ex, only to become embroiled in the outbreak of a rage virus.

Set in an apartment block, our unlikely hero must remain calm – literally. The virus takes over quicker if people become enraged, which gives Marvin Kren’s movie a welcome and interesting twist.

 

8. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Anna and the Apocalypse

If the words “zombie musical set at Christmas” make you feel uneasy, Anna and the Apocalypse really may not be for you. That being said, you try to listen to just a few of its songs and not bop your head along to it without a care in the world after the third or fourth listen.

While its final third definitely lets it down after such a promising start, Anna and the Apocalypse is another novel twist on the zombie subgenre that has plenty of heart, laughs, and one or two guts to show. Expect the lead, Ella Hunt, to be a big name within the next few years.

 

7. Dead Snow (2009)

Dead Snow

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Continuing the trend of smart, exciting foreign zombie movies comes Dead Snow, or Død Snø in its native Norwegian. When you combine Nazis, zombies and a dash of comedy for good measure, you will only ever been onto a winner and that’s exactly the case here. Dead Snow is smartly shot, fantastically paced and doesn’t fall into the same old tropes that hamper so many similar films.

 

6. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later

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The sequel to Danny Boyle’s cult classic found itself in a similar status shortly after release. 28 Weeks Later may not be quite as essential as the movie which helped to reignite the interest in the genre, but where it lacks in brains it more than makes up for it with a serious amount of blood and guts. That helicopter scene is every gorehound’s dream, plus Jeremy Renner steals the show.

 

5. The Battery (2012)

The Battery movie

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A film which I cannot espouse enough, The Battery appeared in a period of fantastical, ridiculous zombie movies to do something that so many simply fail to do: tell a story.

As a low-budget affair, this allows first-time director Jeremy Gardner to explore the mental toil of a zombie apocalypse on two begrudging baseball players who were thrown together through necessity rather than choice when the world went to shit. Essential viewing.

 

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Shaun of the Dead

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It would almost be easier to just copy and paste a load of memorable quotes from Edgar Wright’s now famous romzomcom than to actually write anything about it. If you haven’t seen Shaun of the Dead yet, get your life together and turn on ITV2 right now because the zombie comedy will invariably be playing on there as we speak.

How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

 

3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead 2004

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A film that I make an effort to watch at least once a year, Zack Snyder’s remake of the classic original is a breathless action film which only shares the location (a shopping mall) with its source material.

It’s not the thinking man’s zombie movie, but I will be damned if it isn’t the most entertaining, set up perfectly by a relentless opening sequence. There may be too much stupidity from people for you to handle, though.

READ NEXT: Best Modern Horror Movies

 

2. 28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later

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It may look seriously rough around the edges (the monkey intro in particular) these days, but Danny Boyle’s Infected are just as terrifying as they’ve ever been.

While not technically an out and out zombie movie, it shares a lot of DNA with older efforts in the genre with the result being a social commentary that’s only downfall is a patchy final act.

Still, 28 Days Later is an absolute ride and Cillian Murphy has gone on to be a huge name since.

 

1. Train To Busan (2016)

Train To Busan

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From the outside looking in, Train To Busan may just come across like a Korean version of 28 Days Later. Look closer, however, and you will find that it’s much more than that, delivering its blood and gore with just as much heart.

Set, weirdly enough, on a train going to one of the last vestiges of safety after an outbreak wipes out civilisation, it’s a breathless and exhilarating movie that should really be the first of the best zombie movies on this list that you check off your watchlist.

UPDATE (05/03/17): The Dead, Wyrmwood, The Rezort enter the list.
UPDATE (03/11/17): 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Train To Busan, Rammbock, Resident Evil, Diary of the Dead enter
UPDATE (01/01/17): Here Alone, The Girl With All the Gifts enter
UPDATE (04/03/18): Ravenous builds a weird tower to make it onto our list. 
UPDATE (12/04/18): Warm Bodies, World War Z, and Bong of the Living Dead enter.
UPDATE (22/05/18): Cargo drops in.
UPDATE (13/11/18): I Am A Hero high jumps its way into our hearts. 
UPDATE (11/04/19): Anna and the Apocalypse has a song to sing. </em

MORE HORROR:
25 Best Horror Films of All-Time
The Best Horror Games
A-Z of the Best Horror Movies of the 21st Century

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