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 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 Sadly, those are all gone now, but they’ve been replaced by a few suitable features, which range from animated movies (Scooby Doo on Zombie Island) to Netflix originals, (Cargo) to foreign show-stealers (Train to Busan, whose sequel is finally approaching).

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.

5. Life After Beth

life after beth poster (Custom).jpg Year: 2014
Director: Jeff Baena
Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler, John C. Reilly
Rating: R
Runtime: 89 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Life After Beth is a story of life and love lost and found, starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan in a more cellular interpretation of star-crossed lovers. DeHaan plays Zach Orfman, a young man beside himself with grief after the death of his, girlfriend Beth Slocum (Plaza), and for whom her parents (Molly Shannon and John C. Reilly) are his only sources of comfort. Not long after her funeral, he starts to notice some unusual occurrences around town—strange things are afoot at the Circle-K—and Zach discovers that Beth has risen from the grave. His initial reservations about her resurrection are quickly subdued by his tunnel vision of love. But soon he finds she’s not the same as when she left. —Melissa Weller

4. 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

3. 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

2. 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

1. Train to Busan

train-to-busan.jpg Year: 2016
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Stars: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Jung Yu-mi, Kim Su-an, Kim Eui-sung, Choi Wook-shik, Ahn So-hee
Rating: NR
Runtime: 118 minutes

Watch on Netflix

Love them or hate them, zombies are still a constant of the horror genre in 2016, dependable enough to set your conductor’s watch by. And although I’ve probably seen enough indie zombie films at this point to eschew them from my viewing habits for the rest of my life, there is still usually at least one great zombie movie every other year. In 2016, that was Train to Busan, a film that I sadly hadn’t yet seen when I wrote the 50 Best Zombie Movies of All Time. There’s no need for speculation: Train to Busan would undoubtedly have made the list. This South Korean story of a career-minded father attempting to protect his young daughter on a train full of rampaging zombies is equal parts suspenseful popcorn entertainment and genuinely affecting family drama. It concludes with several action elements that I’ve never seen before, or even considered for a zombie film, and any time you can add something truly novel to the genre of the walking dead, then you’re definitely doing something right. With a few memorable, empathetic supporting characters and some top-notch makeup FX, you’ve got one of the best zombie movies of the past half-decade. —Jim Vorel

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.

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