I occasionally give a colored ‘special star’ rating for reasons of artistic merit unrelated to my enjoyment.
Beware of spoilers in trailers.
The Battery: Two guys wander rural, zombie-eaten New England and try to stay sane (and alive). There is a very good “bottle” scene where the action is restricted to a small area. I give it a special star for artistic merit.
Dog Soldiers: Not a zombie film per se, but there’s the same basic scenario: lots of monsters (werewolves, in this case) are trying to break into a house whose occupants really don’t want that to happen.
Extinction: Years after the zombie apocalypse, a man tries to raise his daughter in rural Canada, but all she wants to know is why he hates their neighbor, the only other living human she’s ever seen.
Spoilered comments: I especially appreciate that the film acknowledges that the notion of ‘zombies who evolve’ doesn’t make sense because evolution only occurs over generations, but the characters are just using that word because nothing better occurs to them.
Here Alone: A woman lives in the woods in a makeshift shelter, returning to a small, zombie-filled town only when she needs supplies that she can’t get from the forest. Then, she meets two survivors for the first time in a year. The ending could have been a little better.
Pontypool: A memetic zombie apocalypse begins, transmitted by words rather than bites. Meanwhile, the movie takes place entirely in a small town’s radio station, so all the action is relayed to us rather than seen firsthand. I give it a special star for reasons of artistic merit, and recommend that folks listen to the audio version in order to really capture that ‘coming from your local radio station’ flavor.
Ravenous: French language film, so make sure the subtitles are on. People who have been hiding out in rural Quebec must contend with a new wave of zombies, now that the cities have been picked clean and the hungry zombies are looking elsewhere for food. I give it a special star for reasons of artistic merit.
Spoilered comments: My absolute favorite part of this film is how the zombies assemble towers of furniture and other large items and just stare at these towers for hours on end. It gives a very strong sense that the zombies are ‘their own thing,’ that they’re not here ‘for us’ so to speak, even though, just as the rabbit may fear the wolf, the wolf only cares about the rabbit to the extent that it is hungry. It’s the only zombie film that’s made me wonder what the world would be like after everyone is eaten, because it’s the only film to suggest that the answer might be something other than “the zombies decay and the cities are swallowed up by wilderness and all that was black and gray will now be green again.”
Train to Busan: A man and his daughter get on a train, and so does a zombie. The movie needed more train.
Trench 11: There are a million Second World War zombie movies out there, but this is the first time I’ve seen a First World War zombie movie. Entente soldiers investigate a subterranean laboratory which the Germans tried to destroy during a withdrawal. Lots of claustrophobia.
World War Z: Dude travels the world looking for a cure to Fast Zombies. There is much bullshit of the scientifically implausible variety.
Spoilered comments: I strongly dislike that fully half the film could have been averted if the supposedly hypercompetent war journalist had remembered to put his phone on vibrate.