Zombie movies were almost dead until The Walking Dead debuted in 2010. The popular AMC series was campy and featured classic, slow-moving walkers. Still, the film that followed shortly—with titles like 28 Days Later and World War Z—proceeded that.
The South Korean horror film Train to Busan took zombie movies to a new height in 2016. Its popularity—especially during Netflix’s ramp-up of Korean programming—has infused the genre with new creative energy. Timing, as they say, is everything. The format’s focus on survival elements certainly felt familiar during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many felt like they were living in a post-apocalyptic world, which was appealing to vast sections of the population. The arena skyrocketed as viewership for the titles.
Netflix eagerly needs both Train to Busan and World War Z in its library, but it’s full of other worthy fares. These are the best zombie movies on Netflix.
Army of the dead
Dave Bautista lands his first significant leading role in Zack Snyder’s zombie cut, hitting Netflix right around the time Justice League is being re-released. And the zombie heist film reminded fans of the superhero director’s first film, 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake — which was excellent. The success of Army of the Dead even earned it a spin-off: Army of Thieves.
Kingdom: Ashes of the North
Based on the South Korean zombie series Kingdom, Ashin of the North is a prequel film that delves deeper into the backstory of the mysterious Ashin. The period drama also explains how the dead are resurrected in this story. However, we won’t spoil it for you here.
A Korean gamer, locked out of the news while streaming with friends, quits his game to find that an outbreak of zombies has taken over his block – and chaos ensues. Thanks to Yoo Ah-in’s stellar performance, the film’s comical-frightening tone shines through as she and her introverted friends struggle to survive.
Martin Freeman focuses more on emotional storytelling than horror elements in this zombie survival film. With minimal gore and a kid in tow, Cargo is more about preserving humanity than scaring you with your wits — nothing wrong.
Through a series of vignettes, Ravenous (aka Les Efemmes abroad) tells the stories of members of a small Québécois rural community during the early days of a zombie outbreak. It won Best Canadian Film at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, impressing audiences and voters with its brooding, meditative horror sensibility.
Sometimes you watch a movie based on a video game and think: “Have they ever played a video game before?” (Looking at you, Monster Hunter!) Thankfully, Doom: Annihilation did its homework. This might not be the best movie about marines who must fend off demonic zombies on a strange planet. Still, Doom: Annihilation’s answer to “What if Doom were a movie?”
I am Legend
The monsters in I Am Legend may not be zombies at all. Nevertheless, their origins’ ambiguity means they are not zombies either. Starring Will Smith as the last man on Earth, I Am Legend focuses on a virus that turned 99% of humanity into sunlight-ravaged cannibalistic mutants. Setting out to find a cure (since he is the only one immune), Smith and his trusty dog venture into the barren city.
The Day of the Dead: Bloodline
When a horror franchise approaches its 10th film, it’s usually time to hang up the hat. Movies like Hellraiser: Judgment hasn’t precisely wowed fans of the ’80s cult classic 40 years later, but rare exceptions like last year’s Halloween Kills (the 12th film in the franchise) still brought in more than $130 million at the box office. Earn it. Day of the Dead: Bloodline, the third remake of Romero’s celebrated Day of the Dead, falls somewhere in between those very broad goalposts, but the creepy, suspenseful zombie flick will still definitely scare the pants off you.
All of Us Are Dead (Series)
Like Battle Royale meets Train To Busan, All Us Are Dead is the second most popular South Korean made-for-TV series for Netflix behind Squid Game, bringing in over 361 million viewing hours in its first ten days on the streaming platform. Is. With fun zombie acting and a great cast of young talent, this show—yes, we’re breaking the rules!—is a great new watch.