Zombies, at least the shambling, flesh-hungry bodies of former human beings we know and love today, technically made their debut in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead. While stories of the undead existed before then, George Romero’s seminal classic redefined these monsters as truly horrific beings who were disturbed from their eternal slumber.
Curious how zombies have evolved in the decades since? Netflix is an excellent resource for discovering new takes on the well-tread paths zombie films have left behind. From demonic hosts to viral infections, each of these films showcases how zombie lore has grown over the years. Here are the best zombie movies on Netflix right now.
The best zombie movies on Netflix
1) Train to Busan (2016)
This South Korean smash hi broke audience records with over 10 million theatergoers during its theatrical run. Right as a train is departing a woman boards, nursing a bite wound on her leg. Soon she becomes a zombie, leaving hundreds of passengers trapped in the speeding vehicle as reports of a worldwide outbreak begin to spread. Exploring class issues between terrifying, and gory, set pieces, Train to Busan is one of the best zombie movies of the last decade. Buckle in, and don’t be surprised if it makes you feel something by the end.
2) Viral (2016)
Sisters Emma and Stacey are typical high school age girls, so when their town is quarantined with their parents locked outside at first, it’s a treat. Parties, junk food, the works. But when Stacey gets sick and the world starts to end, Emma is forced to ask herself whose life is worth saving. Expertly paced and with creative special effects, Viral is a smart low-budget riff on zombie flicks.
3) Burying the Ex (2014)
It’s not all doom and gloom in the zombie genre. Using zombies as a metaphor for bad relationships, this dark comedy plays with genre clichés while creating the rare zombie-based romantic comedy. Max is terrified of how his girlfriend Evelyn will handle a breakup, which makes her accidental death something of an odd relief. But right as he meets someone new, the ghosts of his past relationship return, in the form of Evelyn’s reanimated corpse. Sharp, dark, and sweet, Burying the Ex is a date movie for those with black hearts.
4) Condemned (2015)
Here’s a gorefest for anyone thinking about gentrifying a neighborhood. The protagonist Maya has grown sick of her obnoxious rich parents, so she moves into a squat with her boyfriend in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. At first, the neighbors are her worst worry, but after a toxic cloud turns everyone into zombies, their interactions are stressful for new reasons. Zombie movies aren’t known for their subtlety, but the goopy horrors of Condemned deserve an extra layer of warning if you’ve got a weak stomach. Beyond your standard murder and gore, viewers are treated to oozing boils and contagious vomit. Seriously be warned. This is a gross one.
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5) Deathgasm (2015)
Sick of scientific monstrosities? Deathgasm is one the finest horror comedies. Teenagers shouldn’t play with black magic, especially if they’re stoner idiots. That doesn’t stop Brodie and Zakk from accidentally unleashing dark forces held within a page of sheet music they find in a record. Soon the whole town is possessed, leaving it up to two of horror’s dumbest heroes to stop an army of the undead. Drenched in gore and goofs, Deathgasm is the perfect zombie film for a stoned night in with pals.
6) What We Become (2015)
This Danish film makes an interesting companion piece to Viral. Both explore how different kinds of suburbanites handle a murderous outbreak during quarantine. What We Become is certainly the most somber film on this list, full of long periods of almost silence as the dreadful tension and hopelessness build. Zombie fans will most likely see where this is going quickly, but thanks to brilliant performances from the whole cost, What We Become rises above clichés.
7) Night of the Living Deb (2015)
Sitting at 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Night of the Living Deb is a horror comedy for anyone who’s ever wondered if a walk of shame could get any worse than it already is. Waking up one morning in her crush Ryan’s apartment with no memory of how she got there, Deb is rushed out of his apartment only to discover the world as we know it is over. Looking for a safe haven, the adorable duo discovers fighting for your life is hard, but not as hard as falling in love. If you want a zombie tale that isn’t awash in darkness, Night of the Living Deb is as close as zombie movies come to date night.
8) Re-Kill (2015)
Outside of a few short films, V/H/S, and the Rec. series, zombies haven’t been explored that much in the found-footage genre. Re-Kill aims to change that, creating a fake TV show, complete with commercials, based around a SWAT-style unit tasked with hunting down the reanimated dead. The commercials bring to mind the similar breaks in Robocop, and its satire is about as fresh as the zombies that get mowed down, but Re-Kill is an interesting film all the same. Even when its limited budget causes problems, solid performances and clever ideas help anchor this tight riff on the undead.
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9) V/H/S 2 (2013)
V/H/S 2 is a wonderful horror anthology in its right, but its zombie entry, “A Ride in the Park,” is a sublime slice of horror comedy gold. Tracking a biker’s GoPro camera on a ride through the park, we get to witness the development of a zombie outbreak from the death of a good Samaritan to a park picnic area. Don’t turn V/H/S 2 off when you’re done; the short after it, Safe Haven, is a true nightmare factory.
10) Zombeavers (2014)
Human beings aren’t the only zombies you have to worry about anymore; now we’re damned because of beavers. This Animal Planet riff on the Evil Dead might not terrify you, but it’s one of the most fun films on Netflix. A group of college kids heads out to a cabin by a lake only to discover toxic waste has mutated the local beaver population into unstoppable monsters. Playing on your expectations along with horror clichés, Zombeavers is horror for fans who know the genre like the back of their hand and need a good laugh.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.