Much like the undead, it seems that movies and television shows about zombies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They’re definitely here to stay, and we likely have The Walking Dead to thank for that. The popular AMC drama based on Robert Kirkman’s comics of the same name has altered the scope of cable television. It’s pushed boundaries as well as given us compelling characters we both love and love to hate.
But zombies and the apocalypse that they represent didn’t begin, nor did it end, with The Walking Dead. So, for anyone wanting to see what else this popular horror sub-genre has to offer, here are ten zombie movies to watch if you love The Walking Dead.
10 The Signal (2007)
Mya has found a way out of her unhappy marriage. A mysterious transmission from the radio, telephone, and television is causing people to act strangely. Violently. Their worst negative traits are exponentially augmented. With her husband turned into one of the infected, Mya takes this chance to run away with Ben.
Directors David Bruckner (The Ritual), Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry rejected the formula of nearly every zombie movie out there. In place of focusing on a group of survivors, The Signal aims for a more personal story about two people finding love in a messed up world.
9 Maggie (2015)
During a massive zombie outbreak in the Midwest, U.S.A., one man’s daughter is bitten. She refuses her father’s help because it’s only a matter of time before she fully turns; he finds her and brings her home anyway. Despite others urging him to do what must be done, the father stays by his daughter’s side until the very end.
Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked everyone with his somber performance in Maggie. He has been typecast for years as an action star, but he shows surprising dramatic range in this heartbreaking zombie drama.
8 Carriers (2009)
Humanity has been nearly wiped out by a pandemic virus. A group of four survivors travels across the Southwest in search of supplies and sanctuary. Along the way, they are forced to make difficult decisions as they encounter the infected and other desperate survivors.
Carriers is not a straight-up zombie movie, but the threat of dying remains the same. The film challenges its PG-13 rating with some sickening body horror moments. However, Carriers is a drama first and foremost. Chris Pine is especially enjoyable as the arrogant agitator of the group.
7 Pontypool (2008)
While on the air, a disc jockey and his staff learn that there’s a viral outbreak going on outside. This is no ordinary virus, though, as it’s somehow transmitted through words in the English language. Now, the radio host tries to warn his listeners of the virus and how it’s spreading.
Director Bruce McDonald has said the infected humans aren’t zombies. Rather, they are called “conversationalists.” Nevertheless, the low-budget Pontypool is unique as it draws itself away from the physical mayhem happening outside the station. It goes against the grain, but being forced to use your imagination is honestly refreshing.
6 Night of the Living Dead (1990)
As the dead become reanimated, a woman finds refuge in a rural house with other survivors. The threat inside, however, is shown to be just as precarious as the one outside.
We all love George A. Romero’s 1968 movie, but the 1990 remake’s aesthetic and mood is more akin to The Walking Dead. What makes them similar is the updates director Tom Savini mad,e such as turning Barbara into a “final girl” as opposed to leaving her to be zombie fodder like in the original. Viewers today have thankfully come around to appreciating this reinterpretation of Romero’s indisputable classic.
5 I Am a Hero (2015)
As Japan is overrun with zombies, Hideo — a manga assistant artist who is generally dissatisfied with his life — seeks anyone else who hasn’t been turned.
Based on the manga of the same name, I Am a Hero is a commendable on-screen adaptation. It’s realistically handled enough to where the situation almost seems plausible. Though there are action sequences, they aren’t energetic or outlandish. This film instead pays particular attention to characterization. Other live-action translations of manga and anime never live up to their source material, but I Am a Hero comes close.
4 The Crazies (2010)
Without warning, the residents of small town Ogden Marsh, Iowa turn into violent killers, and the cause appears to be a virus engineered by the military. The town is then quarantined so that no one can escape, forcing the sheriff, his wife, and their companions to do whatever it takes to get out before they all become “crazies,” too.
The horror community struggled with the remake fever in the 2000s. In their defense, there were some stinkers. On the other hand, the 2010 version of George A. Romero’s The Crazies is proof that remakes can and do work.
3 The Battery (2012)
A friendship between two former baseball players buckles under the pressure of a total zombie apocalypse.
With only a $6,000 budget, Jeremy Gardner produced one of the best zombie movies in the last two decades. The Battery doesn’t feature non-stop, life-and-death scenarios that the characters scramble to get out of. In fact, it’s actually quite laidback. The tension mainly stems from the two men’s friendship, which is strained under the circumstances. Ultimately, The Battery is more dramatic — and oft slice of life — than other zombie movies. And like human flesh, it’s an acquired taste.
2 Train to Busan (2016)
A father and his daughter are one of many passengers aboard a train to Busan when a zombie outbreak begins. Against all odds, he and several survivors then struggle to make it to safety on foot.
South Korea provides one of the most diverse selections of horror in all of East Asian cinema. They have their fair share of haunted houses, slashers, and serial killers. Now with Sang-ho Yeon’s Train to Busan, they have zombies. This 2016 movie is harrowing and emotional until the very last second. It’s an utter knockout for the sub-genre.
1 Dawn of the Dead (1978, 2004)
All across the United States, zombies have inexplicably appeared. They amass in both cities and the countryside. There appears to be no immediate escape. As a last resort, a group of random survivors takes shelter in a shopping mall.
There’s no right or wrong answer when asked which version of Dawn of the Dead — George A. Romero’s 1978 film or Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake — you like. It’s really a matter of preference. Some love the original’s satirical depiction of consumerism; others are drawn to the remake’s energy and continual action. Either way, they’re two sides of the same coin.