5: I Am Legend (2007) - They can call them whatever they want, but these are zombies, not vampires (photophobic zombies, sure, but zombies nonetheless). This movie got a little cheesy at the end (the howling zombies were ridiculous), but it's still one of the best zombie flicks out there, and Will Smith is great. Be sure to check out Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964) (especially the creepy scene where the bodies of the infected are being tossed into a fire pit--including Price's daughter), and Charlton Heston in The Omega Man (1971)--both earlier adaptations of Richard Matheson's book, I Am Legend, obviously the basis of this movie too.
4: 28 Days Later (2002) - Terrifying, often creepy, full of action, and occasionally suspenseful. This movie defined (or at least, redefined) the modern zombie apocalypse sub-genre. Oh, and it made the zombies fast, making them frightening in a way that Night of the Living Dead's zombies weren't.
3: Zombieland (2009) - This quasi-spoof on modern zombie movies (unlike Shaun of the Dead, which is a straight-on spoof, and good in its own right) not only holds its own as a great zombie movie, but it's a great movie overall. It's at times hilarious, touching, and frightening. Plus, it's got a healthy dose of Bill Murray returning to his comedic roots--what more could you want?
2: Diary of the Dead (2007) - George Romero offers up another classic here. Some kids are making a horror film when the zombie apocalypse happens. They end up filming the events documentary style as they trek across the country to find one of the kids' family--who are, predictably, dead. It's a really well-done zombie film, melding technology with the zombie apocalypse idea, truly bringing zombie movies into the modern age.
1: Night of the Living Dead (1968) - The best is the classic of the genre that all zombie flicks must be compared to. Mindless dead (called ghouls, not zombies) return to life (possibly from radioactive contamination from a downed space probe) and relentlessly follow a small band of survivors. The black and white filming adds to the movie's creepiness. The zombies are slow (in contrast to zombies you see in modern movies), and the horror is almost completely psychological as the group of people suffer from infighting and their own internal fear, all the while with the zombies approaching. This Romero movie holds up today as well as any of its time.
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