When zombie movies go for the brains…and heart

With zombie fun being exploited left and right for over a decade now, the more zombies, blood, and guts on the screen the better! However, directors who want to tone shit down, tell a deeper story about the human condition, and perhaps avoid resorting to bad CGI have been taking the serious story/minimalistic zombie approach. Here are two very melancholy films about the emotional toll a zombie apocalypse has on men coming to terms with the loss of loved ones—the perfect double feature if you’re in the mood for something moody.


wasteland cover

Without delivering hordes of zombies, director Tom Wadlow doesn’t skimp on the scares in Wasteland. He uses dark, isolated environments and his virtual one-man cast to create some wickedly tense lone zombie encounters, which are more terrifying than the zomb-mob mentality you get in most zombie films.

wasteland zombie

Other than that, the focus is on a single man trying to survive on a daily basis, scavenging for supplies while avoiding being eaten alive. His loneliness is magnified by the fact that he met the love of his life just before the apocalypse (which we see through various flashbacks), was split from her in all the craziness, and is hoping to be reunited with her.

wasteland lead

This general plot has been done in recent films, but some surprises in Wasteland take the man’s personal drama to places you might not expect.

MAGGIE (2015)

maggie cover

While definitely not a film for those craving loads of zombie action, Maggie actually has a couple of intense, surprise one-on-one confrontations much in the fashion of Wasteland.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a father whose daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, has become infected with a disease that inevitably turns people into flesh-eating zombies. Those infected are supposed to be put in quarantine, but some families opt to take the loved one home to live as a human for as long as possible.

maggie cast

This appears to be a very slow acting infection. Breslin is even able to enjoy a social life –and find a support group—with other infected teens facing the prejudice of locals who don’t want their kind living in society.

maggie zombies

Although this zombie family drama is tragic and may seem quite original in its approach to the genre, honestly, it feels very derivative of the incredible BBC series In the Flesh, in which a “vaccine” has been created that allows zombies to enter back into society to live with their families, provided they get the injections regularly (my blog here). Because it was a series, it better flushed out the personal and social implications. Maggie can only go so far in its exploration of individual characters’ turmoil. Plus, the ending is pretty much predictable because it’s inevitable.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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