What Is The Best Zombie Film? Part 2

Zombies Invade San Francisco!

Image by Laughing Squid via Flickr

Right, hopefully you enjoyed part 1 of the zombie film adventure. I have discussed how George A. Romero disgusted audiences with his classic scare films but now it’s time to view other zombie flicks that have bloodied our screens. So it’s time to crack on with the second half of the best zombie films. I’m starting off with one of the most disgusting films I have ever seen!

Now I need to make people aware I do have a strong stomach when it comes to gore, it usually takes a lot to make me feel sick in a film or image. I recently got recommended to watch Braindead (Or Dead Alive) a slight comedy zombie film released in 1992 and directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings trilogy). When I watched the film I thought it was older than the actual date, and this is the case with the graphics and props used; some of the apparent dead looked like sex dolls. But ignoring that the film has a crazy amount of gore, to the point it started getting to me, I would genuinely like to know how much fake blood was used. The film is funny, but I felt as though I was laughing at it rather than with it, the over the top slapstick and clichéd, and rather controversial, comedy just didn’t suit my taste.

The thing I did respect about this film was the amount of ideas the writers envisioned to make this film, as many describe, the goriest film of all time. The zombies aren’t your typical zombies, rather they still have human features such as sexual attraction emotions. This is meant to add to the comedy value but I found it more confusing than funny. These zombies seem almost impossible to kill with even their organs attacking survivors! However this does lead to some pretty sickly blending scenes. This film is good from a silly point of view and I can say I do like it to an extent, although I wouldn’t class it as my favourite zombie film. However, this film did open up to more zombie films to merge with the comedy genre, therefore the Zom Com was born.  

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg wrote one of my favourite films of all time, let alone zombie films. Shaun of the Dead was released in 2004 and became an instant hit. The film portrays an average man’s life, portrayed by Pegg himself, as he heads into a zombie apocalypse. The sharp wit and making the most of a bad situation comedy is absolute genius, whilst also incorporating the visual effects and terror of a world epidemic involving your once loved ones trying to eat your brains, this film is a must see. Unlike Braindead, this film allowed viewers to see serious emotions in certain scenes, snapping the audience out of the laughs for a second to realise the actual situation these characters are in. Others as well as I will agree this is one of the top zombie films to be ever made. From the success of such a film other directors have followed this approach into the comedy.  

Building on the newly found Zom Com’s was Zombieland (2009) featuring Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Woody Harrelson (White Men Can’t jump) and even Bill Murray (Ghostbusters). Again, what I really admired about this film was the real effort the director, Ruben Fleischer, put into making some real gruesome zombie scenes, the parts that the fans know and love. Within all the dry comedy of this film is also a rare perspective of a zombie apocalypse; someone who doesn’t really have much to live for and therefore nothing really to lose. We see Jesse Eisenberg portray a guy who is slightly schizoid, a bit of a loner; therefore the end of the world actually changes his life for the better.  

The Zombie comedies I have mentioned are guaranteed to make you chuckle more than once, whether you love the nature of a zombie film or not. I rate Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland extremely highly, with an iHartMovies rating of 4.8, and I love the zombie parts of these films. However I feel inclined to separate them slightly from the usual zombie genre; as highly as I have rated them I don’t know if a serious zombie flick can be rated in the same league. If we take everything into account, I can’t help but think I won’t be able to rate a zombie movie over a 4.8. Don’t get me wrong! I love zombie films but they can’t possibly cover all bases to be an outstanding film. Many may disagree and to be honest, I can see why, but my point is that when I rate these films I would like to make a separation of the zombie films and the Zombie comedies.   

So I would like to move away from the comedy for now and back to the action, starting with the videogame turned movie trilogy; Resident Evil. I was a huge fan of the Resident Evil games in my younger days when Saga Dreamcasts and Playstations were being used. And maybe this was a reason I expected so much from the film in 2002. The zombies stick with the original characteristics of slow walking mutants and the added fear of claustrophobia in an underground facility, as seen with Day of the Dead, adds to the fear element. However, as good as the games were, I don’t feel like the movie captured their element. I enjoyed parts, but I feel like more zombie action was needed, more chase scenes and closer encounters would have improved my opinion.

Despite mainly pure reviews, the Resident Evil franchise continued; making another three movies and another is set to be released next year. Apocalypse (2004) was the second in the movie series and again I was disappointed with Alexander Witts’ film. Nemesis, a super-solider zombie, is introduced and I was excited for this due to actually playing against it in the third game. More action was given but again the zombies, that do look pretty creepy, just don’t seem to kill enough people in the appropriate zombie manner. In other words it all seems a bit tame for me; however I enjoyed the zombie dogs. And with that point I want to say how good Resident Evil is for giving us an evolved super zombie.

This is a popular discussion; what we, as an audience, prefer – the mutated super zombies as seen in Resident Evil and Braindead, or just the classic mass of zombies? I personally am a fan of zombies; they are gruesome to look at, they are ever so slightly human and they want to kill you. The super zombie makes for better fight scenes, but when I’m watching such a film I prefer to see normal people sprinting for their life, not over the top fighting back. That’s maybe why Resident Evil didn’t do it for me, giving the main character super human strength may lead to good storyline but, for me, it’s not what I paid to see.

I still have some movies to go through, including some new element films along with what we really count as a zombie. This will all be in part 3 coming very soon!

By Ash Seward-Morris

2 Comments on “What Is The Best Zombie Film? Part 2”

  1. ArghZombies says:

    Nicely written article on some modern zombie classics there. (And Braindead, which is probably one of the definitive movies in the genre.) I’ll be interested to see where you go with part 3.

    Personally, I’m more of a fan of the older era zombie movie (70’s-80’s really) so I’m curious if you’re going to visit those films (other than the Romero ones of your previous article).

    However, they’re all great films – a genre that has been going since the 1930’s and still producing original movies must be doing something right!

    • moviehart says:

      Our writer Ash wrote this article, don’t think he’s seen this comment yet. Anyway yes it’s a really good article, and part 3 will be written soon, he’s done a lot of research and watched a lot of films to write both parts so far, so will be interested to see what comes up.

      I am a fan of zombie films but I didn’t realise till I looked at the research myself how many zombie films there are, but its always been a brilliant concept.


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