28 Days Later
Somewhere in a London laboratory, chimpanzees are being infected with a disease called “rage”. Some animal rights activists liberate the chimpanzees from their cages and quickly become infected as the first human carriers of the lab-created disease. A man sleeps in a coma and wakes up 28 days later to find himself immersed in a city of the dead.
This film is frighteningly realistic. While technically the infected aren’t zombies (as they are still alive), the film definitely fits the zombie genre. This film wins based on plot and fear alone.
In a Spanish apartment building, things seem awry as a cameraman and news reporter record unusual events that are taking place inside. Soon, the inhabitants of the building become infected with a strange disease that turns them into zombies.
Filmed with shaky camera work, the movie is made in the first person, as the cameraman’s gear is used to capture the entire event. This film gets scarier as it goes along, with a particularly frightening ending that may lead to nightmares. Definitely the scariest movie on the list.
[REC] is the only foreign language film on the list. (Pontypool was made in Canada and has some French in it). In 2008 the film was remade in the United States and re-titled Quarantine.
I am Legend
A military virologist (Will Smith) finds himself in the midst of an ongoing nightmare in New York City as millions become infected with a strange virus based on a cure for cancer. He soon has to say goodbye to his family and patrols the city alone during the day while searching for a cure during the night in his barricaded home.
While the film strays from the original 1954 novel by Richard Matheson of the same name, it provides fast action and has the biggest budget of any other film on the list at a whopping $150 million, highly unusual for zombie flicks.
The only semi-comedy in the lot, Zombieland follows Wichita, Little Rock, Tallahassee and Columbus as they travel to a supposed zombie-free zone at an amusement park. The action includes tips on survival during a zombie apocalypse.
A surprise guest appearance is put on at the end as the users travel to Bill Murray’s house and encounter Bill Murray who has also become a zombie. This movie is a hit not so much due to fear (as it isn’t particularly scary) but due to its entertainment value and tongue-in-cheek action.
In freezing Pontypool, Ontario, a newly hired and rebellious radio announcer, Grant Mazzy, begins with his daily news and gossip show describing the goings on in the region. Soon, strange events are phoned into his radio show as it appears that something is awry. Things soon become awry and the zombies soon head toward the radio station, attracted by the sound emanating from the building’s outside speakers.
While not as scary as the other films, this film wins based on suspense and a unique take on what causes people to become zombies.