The Best Zombie Movies on Netflix

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The Best Zombie Movies on Netflix

With the programming slate at major streamers constantly in flux, you never know what films will be available at any given time—even the undead won’t stay in one place! When we previously edited this list of zombie films available on Netflix, the service could boast quite a few that are no longer around, from 1980s gore classic Re-Animator to modern gems like Pontypool, Train to Busan and Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead. Sadly, those are all gone now, but they’ve been replaced by a few suitable features, which range from animated movies (Scooby Doo on Zombie Island) to Netflix originals, (Cargo) to foreign flicks of note (#Alive).

Also of note is the odd fact that in this particular moment, Netflix arguably has even more quality zombie TV in its library than it does feature films, including the likes of Kingdom, Z Nation, iZombie, Dead Set, Black Summer, The Santa Clarita Diet, and of course, The Walking Dead. You won’t find them on this list of films, but they’re a logical next step to hit when you move through these titles.

6. #Alive

alive-zombie-movie-poster.jpg Year: 2020
Director: Cho Il-hyung
Stars: Yoo Ah-in, Park Shin-hye
Rating: NR
Runtime: 99 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Fans of zombie cinema were hotly anticipating at least one South Korean zombie feature this year: Peninsula, the sequel to the much-loved Train to Busan was heavily hyped, but ultimately fell far short of the original. Thankfully, though, there was another Korean zombie flick waiting in the wings to step into its place, in the form of the significantly more successful (if modest) #Alive. Fans of the original World War Z novel will certainly find this story familiar, as it’s suspiciously similar to one of that book’s better-loved passages, about a young gamer/hacker in Japan who is so deeply engrossed in the web, he fails to notice the world descending into a zombie apocalypse around him, before finally being forced to unplug and go on the run. Here, the same basic premise is simply transplanted to South Korea, where the introverted protagonist must rappel down the side of his apartment building to avoid the prowling dead, while also looking for other survivors hiding among the carnage. It’s a much tighter, more neatly executed story than the disappointing excesses of Peninsula, perfect for pandemic-era viewing. —Jim Vorel

5. Ravenous

ravenous 2017 poster (Custom).jpg Year: 2017
Director: Robin Aubert
Stars: Marc-André Grondin, Monia Chokri, Brigitte Poupart, Luc Proulx, Charlotte St-Martin
Rating: NR
Runtime: 96 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Genre geeks didn’t seem to take a lot of notice of Ravenous, beyond its Best Canadian Film award at the Toronto International Film Festival—perhaps the result of an “indie zombie drama” subgenre that seems to have run its course through films such as The Battery, and perhaps because it’s performed in French rather than English. Regardless, this is a competently crafted little drama thriller for the zombie completist, full of excellent performances from no-name actors and an intriguing take on the results of zombification. The infected here at times seem like your standard Romero ghouls, but they’re also a bit more: lost souls who have hung onto some kind of strange, rudimentary culture all their own. These aspects of the zombie plague are always hinted at, never extrapolated, but it enhances the profound feelings of loss and sadness present in Ravenous. —Jim Vorel

4. Cargo

cargo-movie-poster.jpg Year: 2018
Directors: Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling
Stars: Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes, David Gulpilil, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius
Rating: NR
Runtime: 105 minutes

Watch on Netflix

We’ve had enough takes on worldwide zombie apocalypses to last undead enthusiasts long through, well, a worldwide zombie apocalypse. Of those takes, few are inspired, a few more are watchable though workmanlike and most are dreck, whether in TV or movie form. Cargo, a collaborative directing effort between Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, falls somewhere in between “inspired” and “workmanlike,” which is to say it’s well worth seeking out on Netflix if you’ve a powerful need to watch twitching, walking corpses menace a family trying to survive while isolated in Australia’s Outback. Martin Freeman plays Andy, stubborn husband to his wife, Kay (Susie Porter), and loving dad to their daughter, Rosie; he’s piloting a houseboat to safer shores, or that’s the hope. Then Kay takes a zombie bite, forcing a change of plans and setting them down the path to ruin and tragedy. For a certain kind of horror purist, Cargo denies the expectations of the genre. It’s not an especially scary movie. It is, however, a moody, atmospheric movie, replacing scares with a nearly overwhelming sense of sadness. If that’s not enough for you, then at least be sated by the excellent FX work. Here, zombies present as victims of debilitating illness: A waxen, carious fluid seeps from their eyes and mouths, which is suitably nauseating in the stead of workaday splatter. All the same, Cargo is never half as stomach-churning as it is simply devastating. —Andy Crump

3. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

scooby-doo-zombie-island-poster.jpg Year: 1998
Director: Jim Stenstrum
Stars: Scott Innes, Billy West, Mary Kay Bergman, Frank Welker, B.J. Ward, Adrienne Barbeau, Mark Hamill
Rating: NR
Runtime: 77 minutes

Watch on Netflix

After a decade in frequent syndication, Scooby-Doo roared back into popularity among children of the 1990s, which culminated in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, the first in a prolific series of direct-to-video movies. That’s about where the similarities to the original animated TV series end, though, because Zombie Island represented something wholly unexpected—a legitimate take on horror cinema, via Scooby-Doo. After decades of unmasking unscrupulous land developers and treasure hunters, the idea to put real supernatural creatures into a Scooby-Doo story was a rather brilliant one, and Zombie Island is complemented by what is undoubtedly the best animation the series had ever seen, courtesy of Japanese studio Mook Animation. It gave fans something they never knew they needed—fantastically atmospheric gothic horror vibes, complete with the expected dose of Scooby-Doo levity. A cult hit at the time, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island has become beloved by not just animation fans but horror fans as well; arguably the finest blend of supernatural horror and animated comedy we’ve seen to date. Its popularity was even recognized by 2019’s belated sequel, Return to Zombie Island. —Jim Vorel

2. The Girl With All the Gifts

girl-with-all-gifts-poster.jpg Year: 2016
Director: Colm McCarthy
Starring: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua
Rating: R
Runtime: 111 minutes

Watch on Netflix

M.R. Carey’s novel The Girl With All the Gifts plays coy with its zombie (or “hungries,” as they’re called here) trappings, drawing readers in for dozens of pages before revealing its flesh-eating premise. The film adaptation, released last year in the U.K. before making its U.S. debut in February, bares its teeth right away. If viewers aren’t burnt out on zombie offerings (and they shouldn’t be, with such recent standouts as 2016’s Korean hit Train to Busan proving that the genre has plenty of life left in it), they’ll find that The Girl With All the Gifts is less concerned with the initial overwhelming outbreak than with the moral lines survivors in the military and scientific community are willing to cross. Director Colm McCarthy, working from a screenplay by Carey himself, doesn’t skimp on the swarming carnage, often rendering attacks in brutal, fully lit scenes, but the most frightening tension comes from a menacing, single-minded Glenn Close as a scientist with few scruples. Young actress Sennia Nanua as Melanie, the “hungry” most in control of her impulses, gives the crowded zombie genre one of its only truly heroic performances, enshrining The Girl With All the Gifts as the bloody heir to George Romero’s misunderstood-at-the-time classic Day of the Dead. —Steve Foxe

1. The Evil Dead

evil-dead.jpg Year: 1982
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly
Rating: NC-17
Runtime: 85 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Infamously pieced together from $350,000 and an exceptional amount of goodwill, The Evil Dead, when looking back at it, seems to have created a kind of horror unto itself. Sam Raimi’s debut, of course, is notable for so much more than that: like how it was edited by Joel Coen; or how Stephen King’s rabid interest caught the attention of a major studio, giving Raimi and close bud Bruce Campbell the chance to pour everything they knew about slashers, slapstick, camp, pulp and fantasy into Evil Dead II, a kind of sequel/reboot hybrid. But the real gauge of The Evil Dead’s tenor is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that its 2013 remake was something of a sickening feast for gore-hounds. For those familiar with Evil Dead II and the even sillier Army of Darkness, the fact that the original film was more of a straightforward genre affair feels somehow off; behold cognitive dissonance in full effect. And yet, somehow this rudimentary story of five Michigan State students who unwittingly unleash ancient demons in a cabin in the woods is still surprisingly, mercilessly skin-crawling. Leave it to Sam Raimi to stretch a dollar so far the sound of it snapping has the same effect on our stomachs as a classic bump in the night. —Dom Sinacola

Jim Vorel is a Paste’s staff writer, and his DVD plan from Netflix remains firmly intact. You can follow him on Twitter. for more film content.