25 Unforgettable Zombie Movies: Ranked for Horror Fans

Are you looking for a fright during your movie night? Well, a zombie flick might just be what you need. Humans have always loved a good scare, and in recent decades zombie movies have become extremely popular.

Here are the best zombie movies of all time. If you don’t agree, I suspect that your bwaaaain must have been eaten by a zombie. Kidding aside, here are my top favorite zombie movies.

1. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”


Genre: horror

Director: George A. Romero

Screenwriter: George A. Romero

Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger

Description: As the United States is overrun by zombies, traffic reporter Stephen “Flyboy” Andrews (David Emge) and his pregnant girlfriend Fran (Gaylen Ross) steal the station’s reporting helicopter to get away to safety. Across town, two officers, Roger DeMarco (Scott Reiniger) and Peter Washington (Ken Foree), desert the force after a dangerous mission led by a racist, sadistic SWAT commander attacking a building of tenants attempting to protect their dead. Disillusioned with the zombies and society’s response to the outbreak, the four hole up in a shopping mall, but will they be able to stop the onslaught of the dead?

2. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

“David, kill the Queen!’


Genre: horror comedy

Director: Edgar Wright

Screenwriters: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

Starring: Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost

Description: Slacker electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) has nothing going for him in his life—his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dumped him, his stepfather Philip (Bill Nighy) hates him, and his colleagues think he’s an idiot. Shaun’s life, and the life of all of Britain, takes a turn for the worse when a zombie apocalypse envelops London. Shaun, his best friend Ed (Nick Frost), and their ragtag crew must try to get to safety and rescue Liz and Shaun’s mother Barbara (Penelope Winton). But when the infection spreads to members of their inner circle, their resolve and what’s left of Shaun’s courage are tested.

3. Train to Busan (2016)

“Good riddance. Always giving to others instead of to yourself. Why did you live like that? What was the point? What a load of crap.”

– Jong-gil

Genre: action horror

Director: Yeon Sang-ho

Screenwriter: Park Joo-suk

Starring: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-Seok, Jung Yu-mi

Description: Seo Sook-woo (Gong Yoo), a distant businessman, fulfills a promise to his neglected daughter Seo Su-an (Kim Su-an) to her mother in Busan. A chemical leak in a biotech plant starts a zombie apocalypse that quickly reaches their train. The selfish businessman has to band together with other passengers, including the pregnant Seong-Kyeong (Jung Yu-mi) and her husband Yoon Sang-Hwa (Ma Dong-Seok), to safely get to Busan, a quarantine zone. However, arriving safely is difficult when the infection reaches the train passengers, and the survivors are divided on either side of the train—with no idea whom they can trust.

4. 28 Days Later (2002)

“It started as rioting. But right from the beginning, you knew this was different.”

– Selena

Genre: horror drama

Director: Danny Boyle

Screenwriter: Alex Garland

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston

Description: Jim (Cillian Murphy), a bike courier who’s been in a coma, wakes up to find a devastated London collapsed after a virus called “Rage” tore through the population. He is rescued by fellow survivor Selena (Naomie Harris), and they soon realize London is too dangerous after fellow human Mark (Noah Huntley) is bitten and dies. Their band of ragtag survivors, joined by cab driver Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), hopes to make their way to Manchester, where the army led by Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston) has set up a safe zone—although not all about the safe zone is what it seems.

5. Planet Terror (2007)

“I never miss.”

– El Wray

Genre: comedy horror

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Screenwriter: Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Josh Brolin

Description: Texas go-go dancer Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) is having a bad enough day when she runs into her ex-boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez). But the day is about to get worse when chemical engineer Abby (Naveen Andrews) releases a gas that turns townspeople into zombies after the demented Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis) tries to take her hostage to get at the biochemical agent. Dr. William Block (Josh Brolin) battles to save the town but is undermined by the spread of the infection and growing problems between himself and his wife, Dakota (Marley Shelton). Meanwhile, Cherry goes on a quest to save her son, and no horde of zombies or injuries can stop her.

6. Dead Snow (2009)

“There is an evil here, an evil you don’t want to wake up.”

– The Wanderer

Genre: comedy horror

Director: Tommy Wirkola

Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola and Stig Frode Henriksen

Starring: Charlotte Frogner, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel

Description: A group of students, including Martin (Vegar Hoel), Roy (Stig Frode Henriksen), and Hanna (Charlotte Frogner), goes to a cabin in the woods for an Easter vacation. However, their choice of vacation spot is hardly idyllic—it hides a tragic past under Nazi occupation, where the Nazis froze to death after a village uprising toward the end of World War II after they stole all the villagers’ valuables. But in Oksfjord, some things aren’t as dead as they seem, and when the hikers stumble upon some missing treasure, they accidentally wake up forces of evil beyond their imagination.

7. World War Z (2013)

“Movement is life.”

– Gerry Lane

Genre: action horror

Director: Marc Forster

Screenwriters: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox

Description: Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) thinks he’s retired to a quiet life with his wife (Mireille Enos) after a career as a UN agent when zombies attack Philadelphia. Lane is extracted by a USAF Pararescueman (Matthew Fox) but the Army’s rescue comes with a catch—he has to help the authorities find the source of the global outbreak and end it, or his family will be left at the mercy of the zombies. Lane has to go on a fast-paced rampage across the world, from military bases in South Korea to a breached safe zone in Jerusalem, to find a way to save his family and all of humanity from a virus people unleashed on themselves.

8. Zombieland (2009)

“Time to nut up or shut up.”

– Tallahassee

Genre: horror comedy

Director: Ruben Fleischer

Screenwriters: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

Description: A strange mutation of “mad cow disease” that turned into “mad zombie disease” ravages the United States, creating a post-apocalyptic society where even names are abandoned to prevent attachments. Shy college geek Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) meets up with tough fellow survivor Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) on his journey to find his parents. They meet up with other survivors, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who initially try to con them, then invite them to a safe area in Pacific Playland amusement park in Los Angeles. As with any good road trip movie, this is more about the lessons learned on the road than the destination—although, in this case, the lessons include the best methods to kill zombies.

9. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

“When the undead rise, civilization will fall.”

– Tagline

Genre: action horror

Director: Zack Snyder

Screenwriter: James Gunn

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber

Description: Nurse Ana (Sarah Polley) is on the run after her husband turns into a zombie and tries to attack her. The whole country is under attack by a rapidly spreading zombie infection. Ana meets up with fellow survivors Kenneth (Ving Rhames) and Michael Shaunessy (Jake Weber), who join a secure outpost in the local mall. The outpost is fractured by secrets, including those like Luda (Inna Korobkina), who try to hide their bites, and divisions over the best way to deal with the threat. But how long can the mall hold out against the onslaught of the undead, and will they ever rescue their neighbor Andy (Bruce Bohne), stranded in a gun store across the parking lot?

10. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

“Brains! Brains! Brains! Brains!”

– ½ Lady Corpse

Genre: comedy horror

Director: Dan O’Bannon

Screenwriter: Dan O’Bannon

Starring: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa

Description: Burt (Clu Gulager), the boss at Uneeda medical supply warehouse, has a zombie invasion on his hands after his employee Frank (James Karen) accidentally unleashes a toxic gas that reanimates a disintegrating corpse. The group’s efforts to contain the zombie, aided by mortuary worker Ernie (Don Calfa), go awry when they accidentally awaken the corpses in a nearby cemetery. A group of teenage punks out to have fun in the graveyard get more than they bargain for when they discover a disfigured, reanimated corpse in the warehouse and join the ragtag team to defend humanity from a plague of its own making.

11. Braindead, a.k.a. Dead Alive (1992)

“I kick ass for the Lord!”

– Father McGruder

Genre: zombie comedy

Director: Peter Jackson

Screenwriters: Stephen Sinclair, Peter Jackson, and Frances Walsh

Starring: Timothy Balme, Diana Penalver, Elizabeth Moody

Description: Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) dreams of escaping the influence of his controlling mother, Vera (Elizabeth Moody), and thinks that he’s found his ticket out when he starts a relationship with Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Penalver). Vera’s meddling soon results in trouble when she gets bitten by a zombie rat monkey, and the infection soon spreads throughout their circle in Wellington. Lionel must deal with funeral arrangements for his not-completely-dead mother. This spreading virus has no respect even for men of the cloth, an inheritance battle with his uncle Les (Ian Watkin), and his guilt over his relationship with Paquita, who is also increasingly trapped in the complex zombie web.

12. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

“They’re coming to get you, Barbra.”

– Johnny

Genre: Classic horror

Director: George A. Romero

Screenwriter: George A. Romero

Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea

Description: Barbra (Judith O’Dea) barely escapes with her life after reanimated ghouls attack her and her brother Johnny on their way to visit their father’s grave. She makes her way to a farmhouse with a group of survivors led by Ben (Duane Jones). The group must overcome the attack outside and the divisions inside to withstand the curse of the undead spreading across the Eastern seaboard. Ben’s capable leadership has to be enough to hold against onslaughts of ghouls, the cowardly fellow survivor Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman), the fragile health of many of the fellow survivors, including Barbra, and the ever-lasting prejudices of the world outside, which do not stop even for a threat much greater than their fellow man.

13. Day of the Dead (1985)

“Choke on ‘em!”

– Captain Rhodes

Genre: zombie horror

Director: George A. Romero

Screenwriter: George A. Romero

Starring: Lori Carlisle, Terry Alexander, Joe Pilato, Richard Liberty

Description: After a zombie apocalypse has completely ravaged humanity, people are confined to small, heavily secured underground bunkers. One such bunker in Florida is home to scientists, including Dr. Sarah Bowman (Lori Carlisle), and soldiers like pilot John “Flyboy” (Terry Alexander). The group attempts to uncover the causes and cures of the zombie illness, although their progress is hindered by the increasingly maniacal leadership of Captain Henry Rhodes (Joseph Pilato). As soldiers begin dying retrieving research subjects for the scientists, tension escalates between the two camps, particularly over scientist Dr. Logan’s (Richard Liberty) claim that he can re-civilize zombies like the semi-docile Bub (Sherman Howard).

14. One Cut of the Dead (2017)

“Don’t stop shooting!”

– Tagline

Genre: zombie comedy

Director: Shin’ichiro Ueda

Screenwriter: Shin’ichiro Ueda

Starring: Takayuki Hamatsu, Mao, Harumi Shuhama, Yuzuki Akiyama

Description: Indebted director Higurashi (Takayuki Hamatsu) is desperate for success and pinning all his hopes for redemption on his zombie movie, One Cut of the Dead. To inspire his actors, he reanimates zombies attacking the cast and crew. Actors Chinatsu (Yuzuki Akiyama), makeup artist Nao (Harumi Shuhama), and the rest of the crew have to survive the zombies—and their crazed director, who will not stop shooting, not even when half the crew is dead or undead. This meta film also features footage of the actual cast and crew as they prepare to shoot the strange film, as well as behind-the-scenes footage about the shooting process that was riddled with errors and accidents.

15. The Girl With All the Gifts (2016)

“Pretend to be scared of me.”

– Melanie

Genre: science fiction/horror

Director: Colm McCarthy

Screenwriter: Mike Carey

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua

Description: Humanity has fallen victim to virus-ridden zombies called “zombies,” and its only hope at victory comes from a group of children who crave flesh but retain some of their humanity. Schoolteacher Helen (Gemma Arterton) grows close to one such child in her care, Melanie (Sennia Nanua). Melanie and the other children are captured on an army base by Sergeant Eddie Parks (Paddy Considine) and scientist Caroline Caldwell (Glenn Close). But the hierarchies on the base will change when the Hungries attack. Helen is torn between her orders by the increasingly maniacal Caroline, who is willing to sacrifice Melanie and the other children to attempt to find a cure for humanity, and her bond with the precocious (albeit creepy) child in her care that seems to return her affections.

16. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

“Whatever happens, death is not the end.”

– Lucien Celine

Genre: horror

Director: Wes Craven

Screenwriter: Richard Maxwell

Starring: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae, Paul Winfield

Description: Dennis Alan (Bill Pullman), a Harvard anthropologist, is tasked with investigating a Haitian drug voodoo practitioner use to create zombies. In Haiti, he is helped by Dr. Marielle Duchamp (Cathy Tyson) and a local houngan, or voodoo priest, Lucien Crane (Paul Winfield). However, his mission is haunted by rumors of the undead and the interference of Dargent Peytraud (Zakes Mokae), a powerful commander of the Tonton Macoute—and the man who haunts Alan’s visions. The film weaves a complicated web of Haitian religion, the desperation of people pushed against the wall, and very real historical atrocities committed in Haiti by the Duvalier regime and his Tonton Macoute.

17. REC (2007)

“There’s something more to this place.”

– Cesar

Genre: found-footage horror

Directors: Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza

Screenwriters: Paco Plaza, Luis A. Berdejo, and Jaume Balaguero

Starring: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Pablo Rosso

Description: Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), a reporter for the documentary TV series While You’re Sleeping, is on-set at a Barcelona fire station with her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso) when the crew is called to an apartment building. What started as a call about a distressed old woman turned into something more as the residents started displaying unhinged aggressive behavior. Angela, Pablo, firefighter Manu (Ferran Terraza), and the rest of their crew must escape the contagion. But as everyone, from fragile old ladies to a sick little girl, begins attacking each other left and right, survival looks harder and harder.

18. Re-Animator (1985)

“This is a dream. It’s fiction.”

– Dan Cain

Genre: comedy horror

Director: Stuart Gordon

Screenwriters: Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon, and William J. Norris

Starring: Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, Jeffrey Combs, and David Gale

Description: Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) has successfully created a reanimating reagent that can bring corpses back to life, but usually with unintended side effects. He attempts to perfect the formula with fellow medical student Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), much to the horror of Dan’s fiancee, Megan (Barbara Crampton). Soon, the reanimating reagent is out of control, with the corpses far beyond West’s grasp—and greedy members of the medical establishment eager to claim the discovery for their own.

19. Zombi 2 (1979)

“The boat can leave now.”

– Dr. Menard

Genre: zombie horror

Director: Lucio Fulci

Screenwriters: Elisa Briganti and Dardano Sacchetti

Starring: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver

Description: A scientist’s daughter, Anne Bowles (Tisa Farrow) is hauled in by the police for questioning after a boat belonging to her father sails into New York Harbor with a zombie on board. She is joined by the journalist Peter West (Ian McCulloch) and guide Brian Hull (Al Cliver) on a trip to Matul, the Caribbean island where her father is conducting research. But Matul is under a voodoo curse, turning its inhabitants into zombies—and it may be too late to stop the undead.

20. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

“Abandon selective targeting. Shoot everything. Targets are now free. We’ve lost control.”

– Gen. Stone

Genre: science fiction horror

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Screenwriters: Juan Carlo Fresnadillo, Rowan Joffe, E. L. Lavigne, and Jesus Olmo

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Idris Elba

Description: In the aftermath of the outbreak of the Rage Virus, Don (Robert Carlyle) has to deal with the trauma of losing his wife and leading a safe district. The district is managed by NATO Brigadier General Stone (Idris Elba), whose subordinate officers include Doyle (Jeremy Renner) and Flynn (Harold Perrineau). However, an outbreak within the safe zone threatens the people who found safety there.

21. Resident Evil (2002)

“Yeah, you’re the future alright.”

– Alice

Genre: action horror

Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Screenwriter: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius

Description: Strange things happen in Raccoon City when everyone inside the Hive, a genetic research facility, is sealed off and killed by the AI that runs it, the Red Queen. The key to the city’s rescue rests with Alice (Milla Jovovich), who wakes up in a deserted mansion with no memory of how she got there. Alice bands together with special forces commandos Rain Ocampo (Michelle Rodriguez), police officer Matt Addison (Eric Mabius), and fellow amnesiac Spence (James Purefoy). But saving the city is hard when Alice is burdened with her failing memory.

22. Little Monsters (2019)

“We’re all gonna die.”

– Teddy McGiggle

Genre: zombie comedy

Director: Abe Forsythe

Screenwriter: Abe Forsythe

Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Kat Stewart, Diesel La Torraca, Josh Gad

Description: Dave (Alexander England) a failing musician, has to move back in with his sister Tess (Kat Stewart) and her son Felix (Diesel La Torraca) after his career fails to materialize. However, he sees the positives of this homey exile when he meets Felix’s cute teacher, Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyong’o). Dave’s hasty agreement to chaperone a class field trip takes a turn for the worse when not only is Miss Caroline engaged, but also the field trip is attacked by zombies. Dave, Miss Caroline, and cowardly children’s TV personality Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) somehow have to protect the kids.

23. Night of the Comet (1984)

“Sammi, you can’t get anybody on the phone because everybody’s gone. They’re all gone.”

– Regina

Genre: science fiction, comedy horror

Director: Thom Eberhardt

Screenwriter: Thom Eberhardt

Starring: Robert Beltran, Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney

Description: Humanity prepares a party to celebrate the Earth passing through the tail end of a comet, an event that hasn’t been repeated in 65 million years. Instead of a party, the comet brings nothing but destruction, as almost everyone on Earth is either dead or a zombie. Sisters Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney) are some of the only survivors after spending the night in steel-lined areas. They link up with another survivor, Hector (Robert Beltran), and try to reach a scientific base that could hold the key to their survival.

24. Cemetery Man (1994)

“I’d give my life to be dead.”

– Francesco Dellamorte

Genre: comedy horror

Director: Michele Soavi

Screenwriter: Gianni Romoli

Starring: Rupert Everett, Francois Hadji-Lazaro, Anna Falchi

Description: Francesco Dellamorte’s (Rupert Everett) job as a small-town cemetery caretaker involves much more than digging and cleaning graves. He also has to save the town from the resurrected dead. His lonely existence, only brightened by his disabled assistant Gnaghi (Francois Hadji-Lazaro), is disrupted when he falls in love with a young widow (Anna Falchi), and events in the town start getting stranger, blurring the boundaries between the living and the dead.

25. The Beyond (1981)

“You have carte blanche, but not a blank check.”

– Liza Merrill

Genre: Southern Gothic supernatural horror

Director: Lucio Fulci

Screenwriters: Dardano Sacchetti, Giorgio Mariuzzo, and Lucio Fulci

Starring: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Sarah Keller

Description: Liza Merill (Catriona MacColl) leaves her worldly life in New York City to renovate the Seven Doors Hotel she inherited back in Louisiana. However, the hotel is full of ominous happenings that can be traced back to the mysterious death of the artist Schweick (Antoine Saint-John), who painted the hellish picture in room 36. Liza is warned away from the hotel by a mysterious blind woman, Emily (Sarah Keller), but when she doesn’t heed the warnings, she must live with what she has raised, along with the help of Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck).


So that’s it: the best zombie movies of all time ranked. Do you agree? Disagree?

Did I forget any important ones? Let me know in the comment section below.


  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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