These addictive thrillers are breathing new life into the undead genre.
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Credit: Netflix

It's hard for a new zombie show to step out of The Walking Dead's long shadow in the U.S., which is why when one does, it's doubly impressive. The newest addition to the zombie category that everyone is buzzing about is from South Korea, not too surprising when you consider their previous zombie feats like Train to Busan and Kingdom (they do zombies right). 

Following the footsteps of the wildly successful Squid Game, All of Us Are Dead, a new Netflix zombie series taking place in a high school, is another Korean show that has accomplished the difficult feat of hitting the top spot worldwide and in the U.S.—and it's not hard to see why. It's filled with emotional tearjerkers, grisly zombie gore, and crazy turning scenes that will make your jaw drop (can we take a moment to appreciate the insanely flexible zombie extras?). 

If you recently binged all 12 episodes in one sitting (same) and have a hankering for more zombie content, you've come to the right place. Sadly, zombie-themed entertainment is probably the most oversaturated genre out there, especially when it comes to the influx of zombie movies that are so bad, they practically border on comedy. If you're looking for recommendations that cut through the B-rated noise, keep reading for some of my most emotionally-wrenching, jaw-dropping favorites.

Best Zombie Shows

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1 Kingdom

This Netflix predecessor to All of Us Are Dead takes place in a more medieval setting (16th-century Joseon, to be exact), but the special effects are nowhere near medieval. The story follows the Prince of Joseon, who attempts to investigate the "mysterious illness" plaguing the King, only to realize he's turned into a freaking zombie! As all zombie infections do, it spreads, and he finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly epidemic, all the while trying to stop his political opponents from seizing the throne. It's the political thriller-zombie horror fusion you never knew you needed.

Watch on: Netflix

2 Black Summer

The structure of Black Summer is a bit atypical (albeit good) in that it shows disjointed, out-of-order timeline vignettes that eventually come together into a cohesive storyline. It features a whole lot of interesting characters, but fair warning that you really shouldn't get too attached to any of them.

Watch on: Netflix

3 The Walking Dead

A zombie roundup simply wouldn't feel complete without this classic series. Like its titular zombies (aka walkers), this dark series may never die. Season 10 is newly released on Netflix, as well as its nine seasons that are all currently ready to be binged. Serving up horror, tears, laughs, and more with each episode, the show follows a group of survivors fighting their way through the treacherous, zombie-infested remains of what was once the United States.

Watch on: Netflix

4 Daybreak

If you're looking for something more lighthearted, this Netflix original series might be more your speed. It follows the story of high school outcast Josh Wheeler, who is searching for his missing girlfriend in post-apocalyptic California. He and his misfit zombie crew are forced to fight the hordes of Mad Max-style gangs (evil jocks, cheerleaders turned Amazonian warriors, etc.), in addition to all the adults who have exclusively turned into zombie-like creatures called Ghoulies.

Watch on: Netflix

5 The Returned

If you're tired of the conventional zombie-slasher, though, allow us to recommend something different. This French show centers on a small mountain town that spirals into chaos after people they knew to be dead magically come back to life, with no memory of being dead or how much time has passed. While these "undead" don't ooze or eat brains, they do have weirdly voracious appetites, enjoy standing around in packs, and have body wounds that don't exactly heal like they should. In addition to some stunning cinematography, the silent suspense that builds in seemingly subtle events (i.e., a slowly draining reservoir, animals killing themselves, etc.) is just as creepy—if not more—than straightforward slasher scares.

Watch on: Roku Channel, Amazon Prime Video (with premium subscription)

Best Zombie Movies

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1 Train to Busan

You've probably heard this movie reference scattered throughout All of Us Are Dead. Undeniably South Korea's top zombie flick of all time, it revolves around a man and his estranged daughter who become trapped on a speeding train during a rapidly spreading zombie outbreak in South Korea. Blood and gore aside, it's also packed with a lot of heart as the family tries to mend their broken relationship whilst fighting for survival—tears will most definitely ensue. 

Watch on: Tubi, Vudu, Crackle

2 Warm Bodies

Want to quench your inner romantic and zombie craving in one go? Based on the famous book (which, BTW, is hands-down the most emotional and beautifully worded story about a raging zombie apocalypse you'll ever read), the plot revolves around a mentally astute zombie named R who can experience people's memories when he eats their brains. R falls in love with a human, and becomes more human himself in the process. If the survivalist and romance aspect isn't enough to keep you captivated, R's dry sense of humor and quirky perspective on life definitely will.

Watch on: HBO Max, Hulu (with premium subscription)

3 28 Days Later

A classic zombie film that set the zombie standard for movies to come, 28 Days Later is one of the earliest examples of the running zombie variant (i.e., the best kind). What's so terrifying about this infection is where it came from—developed by military scientists who were trying to create an inhibitor to pacify violent criminals, it yielded opposite results. Any infected individual is driven into a state of perpetual homicidal rage, manically driven only to kill or infect any uninfected persons they encounter.

Watch on: HBO Max, Hulu (with premium subscription)

4 Shaun of the Dead

Proof that comedy and zombies can co-exist, this hilarious zombie spoof (or "rom-zom-com," as it dubs itself) takes the viewpoint of a man who feels dead inside—that is, before the zombie apocalypse even started. To him, these zombies are mere pests that are getting in the way of his drinking at the local pub and making up with his girlfriend.

Watch on: Hulu (with premium subscription)

5 Zombieland

Featuring an equal amount of laughs and gore, this star-studded classic features four survivors as they make their way toward a rumored safe haven in Los Angeles. Perhaps most memorable is Columbus' (Jesse Eisenberg) strict list of survival rules and zombie-killing strategies, which I am definitely keeping on the back burner…you know, just in case.

Watch on: Vudu, Amazon Prime Video

6 Anna and the Apocalypse

Just imagining the first pitch meeting for this movie is entertainment in itself. You probably won't realize in the first 20 minutes or so that this is a scary movie–it starts off as a jolly musical that could be mistaken out of context for a cheesy Disney flick. But things take a jolting 180 when a zombie infection hits town; the result (think High School Musical-meets-The Walking Dead) is the zombie horror holiday musical you didn't know you needed. Side note: Anna (Ella Hunt) belting "What a time to be alive," oblivious to the murderous mayhem raging behind her is one of the best scenes in musical history.

Watch on: Hulu

7 #Alive

Imagine being stuck in a high-rise apartment building in the city in the middle of a zombie outbreak (my unfortunate would-be situation if a zombie apocalypse were to ever occur). The premise: Exactly that—a video game live-streamer is trapped alone at his apartment in Seoul while zombies turn all around him. As the infected hordes multiply, he soon discovers that the bigger enemy may be the humans left alive.

Watch on: Netflix