After one considers how much time, money, and energy has been spent on the production of movies depicting the end of the world, it almost seems as if a large majority of the human race yearns for it’s actual demise – or at least enjoys sitting down with a bowl of popcorn to seriously contemplate it. As bleak as this may seem, I’m pretty sure the death of social order would make for a ton of new and exciting possibilities. Such is the reason Zombie Apocalypse films are so much fun – hypothetical games of “would you survive” offer a harmless escape from the mundane reality of day-to-day life wherein its trivialities are exchanged for one rule and one rule only: don’t get bit. Here is a list of my top 5 Zombie Apocalypse Universes (ZAUs), each of them offering a unique take on where humanity will end up once the plague takes its effect.
5. “Fido” (Andrew Currie, 2006)
“Fido” may not be the scariest or darkest zombie film ever made, but it deserves credit for its efforts to re-imagine the genre’s stereotypes by adding a touch of primary colour and lighthearted humour to the mix. Some audiences may consider the leap to be too far a stretch, but I personally don’t see why this universe isn’t any more acceptable than other ZAUs; it’s easy to look at this film as if it’s a technicolour epilogue to “Night of the Living Dead.” The concept of tamed and enslaved zombies in a whitewashed all-American gated community is allegorical on several fairly obvious levels, yet the movie is tactful enough to let viewers connect the dots on their own while enjoying a few laughs along the way.
4. “Resident Evil” Series (Paul W.S Anderson, Alexander Witt, and Russell Mulcahy, 2002-2012)
As someone who has not once played a single “Resident Evil” game, I can sincerely say the “Resident Evil” film series stands on its own as substantial and reliable ZAU. Those seeking an explanation to the origins of the T-virus plague need look no further than the greed of the nefarious Umbrella Corporation, a company founded and fuelled by the darkest flaws of human compulsion. All five of the films take audiences through a crash-course in the stages of a zombie apocalypse. But with a single villain to blame for all this mayhem, viewers are not only concerned with the survival of the human race, but also its revenge.
3. “28 Days Later” & “28 Weeks Later” (Danny Boyle, 2003; Steve Niles, 2007)
This is another series that takes its audience through the stages of the zombie apocalypse, but set in a smaller time frame and within the tighter parameters of Great Britain. In these movies it doesn’t take long for a the miscalculations of a few animal-rights activists to send the world straight to hell, and it takes even less time for human beings to lose all hope. The films are of a gritty and realistic style, zoning in on how the end of the world devastates relationships, social law and trust in the overall worthiness of life, making for one very scary ZAU.
2. “Zombieland” (Ruben Fleischer, 2009)
“Zombieland” is a perfect combination of humour, frustration, sadness, loss and adventure in a ZAU. Since life is always a mishmash of elements and rarely one thing at a time, it can be argued that this is one of the more accurate hypothetical ZAUs to come along yet. Audiences can definitely learn a thing or two under the tutelage of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), as they each strive to cope in their own way, whether it be with strict rules of survival or letting lose and trying to make the most of a dire situation. This ZAU is not as lonely or desolate as others, and seems to have more hopeful disposition, reminding audiences that even the wake of “mad zombie disease” shouldn’t prevent them from enjoying the proverbial ride.
1. The “Living Dead” Series (George A. Romero, 1968-2009)
1968’s “The Night of the Living Dead” is by no means the first zombie movie ever, but it is certainly the granddaddy of all hypothetical ZAU films to date. It’s sequel “Dawn of the Dead” succeeded as the film’s frightfully intelligent follow up, yet the three subsequent installations were never quite as spectacular. However, Romero is the pivotal master in bringing to life a vision of a world overrun with the walking dead, igniting the imaginations of all who dare to wonder if the beginning of the end is coming upon us sooner than we’d like to think, and if so, are we ready? Romero’s films provide a manual in how to survive the zombie apocalypse, no matter who or where you are.