Welcome back to the EYG Top 10 list. This is the movie list that gives the choices for EYG for the list presented each week by John Rocha and Matt Knost on The Top 10 podcast. It really is an excellent podcast that you should be listening to… and it does not have to be just for movie lovers. Matt and John are extremely funny and have great chemistry together and are always worth the listen.
This week’s Top 10 show was the Top 10 Zombie Movies in honor of the upcoming film, The Dead Don’t Die, starring Bill Murray and Adam Driver. It was an interesting topic that gave them a chance to talk about some different movies.
#10. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. This is the guilty pleasure on the list. Many times, that number 10 slot is saved for a movie that might not be the best one out there, but that I enjoyed. Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse was a film I went into without expecting anything and I just enjoyed thoroughly. Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Morgan are your Boy Scouts that are at the center of the zombie breakout and they are great. It is funny and outlandish and I loved it.
#9. Maggie. This is a quiet little movie that few people have seen, but it did star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the father of a girl who had been infected with the virus that was turning people into zombies. Arnold would do anything he could to protect her from the world. This was not your typical zombie movie, but it showed how you could take the concept and still do something original with it. And it is one of Arnold’s best and most nuanced performances, especially since he returned to acting. Abigail Bresnan played his daughter.
#8. World War Z. This really should have been a horrid train wreck. This movie had so many troubles and problems behind the scenes and there were a ton of rewrites and reshoots. The movie was attempting to adapt a popular novel and that is never easy for the hard core fans. And yet, World War Z turned out not only better than expected, but downright entertaining. Brad Pitt stars in the film and it was tense and nerve-wrecking. Much better than it had the right to be.
#7. Overlord. I might have this movie higher on this list, except, as Matt Knost pointed out when it appeared on Rocha’s list, the film takes its own sweet time getting to the zombies and so it may not necessarily be a full out zombie movie. That was a fair point, but I really enjoyed Overlord and I did not expect to do so. World War II movie combined with zombies…what else could you ask for?
#6. Warm Bodies. This is another one that surprised me how much I loved it. It is such a stupid concept that I never thought that I would enjoy it, but I did. A zombie rom-com? A zombie who falls in love with a human and winds up having love bring him back to life. Sure, Warm Bodies is not subtle in its metaphor, but the great and funny performance from Nicholas Hoult goes a long way to helping make this more than what it sounds like on paper.
#5. I Am Legend. Will Smith is top notch in this movie, featuring him as a scientist who is now alone in New York after the zombies virus spreads across the country. Will Smith is desperately trying to find a cure for the virus while trying to survive. There is a sadness in I Am Legend that Will Smith plays beautifully. The only friend he has left is his dog. He goes about his work and his life with the understanding that anything that he does is most likely a waste of time. There is an isolationism feel to the film that comes through well.
#4. Night of the Living Dead. The George Romero classic. This is basically where the movie idea for zombies came from…. despite the fact that the word “zombie” is never once mentioned in the movie. Honestly, Romero takes the situation and makes the movie actually be about racism and the separation of the races. Then, there was an ending that was very controversial and anything but the feelgood ending you might expect. It truly is a classic.
#3. Paranorman. I hadn’t thought about this one until Matt and John had it on their lists, but I loved the Paranorman animated movie. From Laika, Paranorman tells the story of a young boy named Norman who could speak with the dead and that ability means he needs to be at the center of the town’s curse that is seeing the rise of zombies from out of the graves. Paranorman is a dark animated comedy and is full of wonderfully beautiful images.
#2. Shaun of the Dead. I just recently saw this for the first time and I really loved it. The Nick Frost and Simon Pegg comedy directed by Edgar Wright takes the zombie uprising and makes it very funny. The film is more than just running around fighting zombies and cracking jokes though. It is a movie that deals with relationships between these characters and it does it in a wonderful, charming and still funny way. There are some poignant moments in this film that you do not expect and that catch you off guard as the action/comedy continues.
#1. Zombieland. I remember seeing this movie in the theater for the first time and being blown away with how much I enjoyed it. It was creative and funny, was filled with great characters, had one of the best cameos of all time, and made me love Woody Harrelson for the first time since Cheers. Jesse Eisenberg was better in this movie than almost any other he has made. The use of the rules to survive Zombieland was genius, as they appear on the screen. “Double Tap” being one of the most important in this type of genre film. Zombieland plays with the zombie movie structure and mines it for both laughs and creative story telling.
Honorable Mention: I actually rewatched 28 Days Later for this list, but the film just falls outside of the top 10 for me. 28 Weeks Later is much the same way. The classic Dawn of the Dead is one that I have not seen for years and so I could not include it on my list. The Girl With All the Gifts made Matt’s list and nearly made mine as well. I remembered it as soon as he started talking about it, with the inclusion of Glenn Close. I enjoyed that film very much. I eliminated some possible films, such as the Evil Dead series and Cabin in the Woods because, while they may have zombies in them, they did not feel like zombie movies. Slither is another one I considered, but I do not remember much about the James Gunn film. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was better than I thought it would be.