By Timia Cobb
Web Content contributor
Zombie movies are the easiest movies to become a waste of time. They can be cliche, slow paced, horribly written and disgustingly filled with unnecessary gore. It might not seem like it but just like any other film, it takes a lot for a zombie movie to be good.
A director can’t just throw in a couple of extras in horrible makeup and expect something amazing to happen. The components of a good zombie movie consists of good writing, characters who aren’t asking to be killed, justifiable gore, necessary deaths and a believable yet enjoyable plot.
My love for zombie movies over the years has grown because when you make a movie based on living to survive and enjoying rare moments of happiness it can honestly become a beautiful representation of humanity.
A lot of movies do this but in zombie movies you get to see the various senses of morals humans can have, no one is protected from death, just like in real life. Out of the many horrible, mediocre and incredible zombie movies I’ve seen here are the top movies that have made the list of being the best.
“28 Days Later”
“28 Days Later” isn’t only my favorite zombie movie but sits high on my list of favorite movies of all time. “28 Days Later” is the first movie I fell in love with and till this day I still am.
The 2002 film consist of a very small cast, which makes it more likable. A small cast means the audience will have a better chance to get to know each character and feel a certain way if a character they like dies.
The main characters are Jim, played by the outstanding Cillian Murphy, and Selena, played by Naomie Harris.
One thing that sets this movie apart from other zombie films is how the “infection” is explained to have started and what the infection actually is. In the beginning of the movie animal rights activists break into a lab in London in an attempt to free primates that have been tested on.
However, this goes wrong when the activists refuse to listen to one of the lab workers who tells them that the primates are infected with “rage”. They disregard the lab worker’s protest and try to set one of the primates free resulting in them being bitten and from there on the infection spreads.
There are multiple things that stands out just from this one scene; first is how the “zombies” aren’t characterized as dead beings who have a hunger for brains but as humans who have been infected with a barbaric rage that causes them to attack anyone or anything.
The second is how realistic the cause of the infection is. Animal testing is a very real thing and so are animal rights activists. This infection spreads because people who thought they were doing the right thing, walked into the wrong place at the wrong time.
The use of gore or jump scares weren’t needed to make the point that a situation like this could easily happen in real life, which is terrifying.
The movie doesn’t kill off characters for pointless reasons. It also shows that even though the characters are trying to survive what they think is the end of humanity, they still have problems to deal with besides fighting zombies filled with rage.
Another reason why I love “28 days Later”, is because of Jim’s character transition throughout the film. Jim goes from being a confused feeble like character who apologizes to a zombie for hitting it at the beginning of the movie, to being lost in his own crazed fight of saving the ones he cares for and killing anyone in the process.
Towards the end of the movie he saves Selena from a man by smashing the man’s head to the point where his skull is almost unrecognizable.
During this scene it seems impossible to turn away because the animal like rage Cillian Murphy is able to portray makes it understandable that this movie isn’t about killing zombies but about people simply killing people to survive. The same thing that can happen any day in real life.
“Train to Busan”
“Train to Busan” is a South Korean horror drama that quickly gained worldwide attention after its release. South Korean media is known to have various restrictions or regulations. Most Korean dramas don’t ever show more than a peck on the lips or long glimpses of blood.
Even though “Train to Busan” is given a 15 and up rating in Korea the film gives just the right amount of gore, blood and bone cracking that makes it perfect for a zombie movie.
The main character is played by well known South Korean actor Gong Yoo. Gong Yoo always plays the happy-go-lucky bachelor, the cute guy next door or the best friend.
What makes his role in “Train to Busan” so different is he doesn’t really start off as likeable. His character, Seok-woo, is a recently divorced fund manager who continuously puts his job first despite being a farther.
In the beginning of the movie it’s clearly depicted that he misses a lot of his daughter, Su-an’s, life and forgets many of the important things that are happening due to always working.
For her birthday all Su-an wants to do is see her mother in Busan, resulting in them taking a “Train to Busan” with multiple other people including a very selfish upper class businessman, a man and his pregnant wife and a baseball team.
One of the best things about this movie is anyone is at risk of dying, even beloved characters. In horror movies killing off likeable characters seems almost like a no no but when movies are bold enough to kill anyone it makes the film a true nail bitter.
This movie makes you feel emotions that a normal zombie movie wouldn’t. I won’t give any spoilers away but by the end it’s one heck of a tear jerker.
“Train to Busan” is overall an amazingly casted movie, that was terrifically written and even with a sad ending is worth watching multiple times.
“Planet Terror” is over dramatic, gory and at some moments just disgusting, which is what makes it perfect.
“Planet Terror” was made from the collaboration of Robert Rodriguez, the director of The “Spy Kids” franchise, “Sin City” and “Alita: Battle Angel” and Quentin Taratino, director of “Pulp Fiction”, “Kill Bill” and “Django Unchained”.
“Planet Terror” is the perfect example of a cult film. It has the power to be a serious drama slasher film but instead it’s super gory while steadily keeping a humorous undertone throughout the entire movie. This movie is incredible but just can’t be taken seriously.
The main characters are Cherry (Rose McGowan) a GoGo dancer who loses her leg due to a zombie attack and replaces it with a prosthetic shotgun. Her new “leg” was made by her on and off again boyfriend Wary (Freddy Rodriguez).
The two team up due to the unavoidable situation of zombies attacking their town. Another couple in the movie is Dr. William (Josh Brolin) and Dakota Block (Marley Shelton). Their relationship is probably the most serious situation in the film due to its toxic and abusive nature.
Dakota wants out of their marriage for her and their sons safety but William refuses to let her leave him and take his son away. Throughout the movie the two repeatedly have physical altercations and no matter what Dakota does she just can’t seem to escape her husbands grasp.
“Terror planet” has the overdramatic blood spraying gore that has become a norm in Taratino films while also having humorous dialogue that is familiar in past Rodriguez blockbusters. The film is too outstanding to be described in words and this can be understood if you ever get the chance to watch it.
I never thought that I would see a hobbit killing zombie children in a movie but you can never say never. Elijah Wood, most known for playing Frodo in “The Lord of The Rings” trilogy, plays a struggling author who takes a substitute teacher job to earn some cash.
The students are chaotic rude and overall just hard to handle. The students become even more rash when they ingest contaminated chicken nuggets turning them into vicious zombies.
In the movie it is explained that only people who have not gone through puberty are in danger of getting the “infection” resulting in the teachers having to fight their way through a herd of crazed zombie children.
“Cooties” is very explicit when it comes to gore for example in one scene the children are shown to be jumping rope using the entrails of one of their victims.
Despite this, the film is hilarious and the cast is filled with well known comedians such as Rainn Wilson from “The Office”, Jack McBrayer from Netflix’s “Big Mouth” and Nasim Pedrad from “Saturday Night Live”. The amount of gore is well balanced with the hilarious cast making the movie a must watch.
From killing zombie students to protecting them from the zombies, “Little Monsters” is the closest family friendly zombie movie I’ve seen. Yes, there’s gore and a lot of profane language but the movie truly is a heart warmer that is sending a beautiful message about being a better person.
The movie revolves around Dave played by Alexander England, a retired musician who refuses to give up his dream of becoming a successful artist. This hinders his relationship causing him and his girlfriend to break up, resulting in him having to move in with his sister and nephew.
Dave is a man who’s afraid of being an adult. The thought of having kids scares him and he doesn’t have a paying job. He one day takes his nephew to kindergarten class and finds himself in awe by his nephew’s teacher Ms. Caroline played by Lupita Nyong’o.
He volunteers to be a chaperone on a field trip in order to get closer to her which turns into the worst decision of his life. The kindergarten class takes a field trip to a wildlife camp that soon becomes overthrown by zombies from a military base close by.
Ms.Caroline and Dave have to do everything in their power to keep the kids safe while also defending themselves as well.
“Little Monsters” is obviously a zombie movie but seeing the growth of Dave throughout the film almost makes it seem like a coming of age moment. He goes from being irresponsible, immature and selfish to putting others before himself and acting like an adult.
The movie is also great because it’s the first time that audiences get to see Lupita Nyong’o in a role where she can be funny and not so serious, which I loved.
She’s very caring for her students but also very sassy and heroic while giving a little bit of comedic undertones which is something I’ve never seen her do in a film. “Little Monsters” is adorable and funny which makes it a very loving zombie movie.
It takes a lot for a movie to be memorable and enjoyable enough to watch over and over again. Each of theses film’s make a name for themselves and are not only the best zombie movies I’ve seen but some of the best movies in general.
Featured image by Timia Cobb via Hulu screenshot.