I can’t believe I watched 5 different zombie films of all varieties—zombcom, found footage, zombie POV, 70s throwback, zomcheese, etc.—and liked them all. Here’s what you’re in for with these five.
ZOMBIE WARS (2007)
For over 30 years, David A. Prior, the director of 80s trash Sledgehammer and Killer Workout, has been making horror! Who knew? I’m glad he has, otherwise we wouldn’t have this goofy little zombie flick that opens with a bunch of cuties out in the jungle taking down icky zombies while spouting goofy one-liners.
Zombie Wars looks and feels like a fun cheap SyFy TV show. Survivors during the zombie apocalypse are captured and enslaved by the zombies.
You read me right. And no, these aren’t genius zombies. They’re just mindless zombies. But they keep these human bitches in cages and make them do field work and shit. They also breed them and raise them to adulthood so there’s more meat to eat.
Best of all…they make the cute lead suds himself up.
Anyway, the main man romances a non-speaking female prisoner (very Planet of the Apes). He also has a prison frenemy who is an Edward Furlong wannabe (can you believe there’s an actual Edward Furlong wannabe?) and may or may not be helping him figure out a way to escape the prison.
Tons of campy action, loads of blood and guts, and that soap scene…we sure have come a long way since Killer Workout.
ZOMBIE ISLE (2014)
The director of the highly enjoyable Zombthology is back with more zombies in a sort of homage/sendup of 1970s drive-in zombie flix.
The old school camerawork, the grindhouse filter, the gnarly zombie makeup, the bloody gut-munching, the college girls trapped on an island filled with the undead, and a mad scientist (of course) are all perfect.
There’s campy humor, and some of the girls are bimbo-tastic in their reactions to the stuff going on around them, giving the film a notably modern flavor as well.
There’s even a mutant 3-headed zombie monster!
Best of all, almost all the horror takes place in broad daylight!
The only problem? The damn thing runs nearly two hours long! Which just goes to show you, no matter how well you hit the mark with your movie, 2 hours is TOO LONG.
THE INFECTED (2011)
The urban outbreak part of this Spanish language film is very intense, very visually arresting, and very brief in the first few minutes of the film.
If I ever get stuck up on a pole during the zombie apocalypse, just shoot me.
The focus of the film is on a miniscule group of people—2 men, a woman, and her child—hiding out in the wilderness after the outbreak. It’s a very desolate and sparse film with a story that uses a small budget to its advantage. See, zombies are attracted by sound, so this foursome does everything in its power to keep as quiet as possible.
That means there is very little dialogue. Which is why I find it bewildering that so many people online bash this film for having so little dialogue. I can’t even process that modern audiences are incapable of immersing themselves in the anxiety-inducing concept of having to remain completely silent because there are zombies all around you at all times.
So there you go. If you’re going to get totally bored because no one’s talking, then don’t bother. But you’ll be missing the impact of a scene in which someone is having their guts ripped out yet doing everything in their power not to scream in agony for fear of attracting more zombies to a child hiding and watching the whole thing only feet away.
While there isn’t much talking in this film, the fact that we are left with such fully developed characters and know just what they’re thinking and feeling speaks volumes.
I AM ALONE (2015)
This is one way to make a found footage film from which I can’t look away. I Am Alone splits the action into two different camps—almost literally.
There’s this one-man survivalist reality show. This cutie gets dropped off in the woods of an area known for disappearances and deaths with a camera strapped to him. Look at that face. I could just eat him up, and I’m not even a zombie.
Meanwhile his buddies head into town to interview locals. But The Blair Witch Project this is not. The found footage reveals that a zombie apocalypse breaks out suddenly, and the two guys in town are in the heat of the insanity as rednecks start eating each other alive and blowing each other’s brains out. Awesome.
Meanwhile, the guy that is way too pretty be left alone in the woods has no idea what’s happening in the rest of the world.
That is until some dude wanders into his tent and attacks him!
While the footage of what goes on in town is more like your average low budget zombie flick, it’s what the guy experiences in the woods trying to avoid zombies while turning into one himself that gives this one a totally unique…um, dare I say, perspective…in both the found footage and zombie subgenres.
IT STAINS THE SAND RED (2016)
While this batch of zombie films was an all around win for me, I think Colin Minihan, director of Grave Encounters, takes the prize with the truly original It Stains the Sand Red.
Brittany Allen (Dead Before Dawn, Jigsaw) is a rather trashy chick who ends up stranded on an isolated desert road when her car breaks down. The horror begins immediately when she sees “someone” ambling up the road towards her. Is it her knight in shining armor?
Nope. It’s a fricking zombie! The movie quickly turns into a combination of creepy and comic as Brittany is pursued through the desert by the relentless zombie, oftentimes following only feet behind her as she boozes and drugs herself up while chatting with it, hurling insults at it…and fighting it off when it gets too close.
Eventually things get even more complicated as her backstory unfolds, her mind starts to snap, and she makes new enemies and unexpected allies. Brittany needs to be a horror icon asap.
The only maddening thing about the film is that the very beginning is packed with too many moments in which she could easily either escape the zombie threat or eliminate it completely but instead makes beyond ridiculous movie character mistakes. It would have been unforgivable if the movie didn’t get so damn good after those initial instances.