The Girl with All the Gifts
Unlike other zombie films, The Girl with All the Gifts is a remarkable picture that is both disturbing as a horror film and profoundly compelling as a human drama. Though it doesn't innovate the zombie story, it does have a compelling emotional core, demonstrating that genre boundaries can still be effective while pushing the development forward a few degrees.
The story takes place in the future when humanity is on the verge of extinction due to a disease that converts its victims into flesh-eating "hungries," as they are referred to in the film. Only a small number of children appear to be immune to its effects, and they are being studied and experimented on to figure out why, as they represent a valuable resource in the search for a cure. Although one of them, Melanie, a 10-year-old girl, stands out among the others. Melanie is "one of a kind." She is more curious, inventive, adventurous, and creative than the others in the classroom... She's the girl with all the gifts, which makes her valuable to those who want to make sure she's looked after as well as those who want to keep control of those gifts.
28 Days Later
“The best purely British horror/science-fiction film in decades. And the first great apocalypse movie of the new millennium,” says Kim Newman on Rotten Tomatoes.
Danny Boyle's imaginative, dynamic take on zombie horror is horrifying. The film follows survivors as they try to make sense of what happened 28 days after a viral outbreak ravages Britain in the form of a virulent and incurable disease that puts its victims in an uncontrollable state of aggression. The film is a fascinating and realistic depiction of a civilization devastated by a mystery new sickness, and it explores the concept that the kind of blinding, violent wrath it creates is something that already resides within us and that the virus simply triggers it. Like most research into the human condition, the answers are blurry.
Train to Busan
Train to Busan is horror the way it should be: clever, funny, and full of life's craziest twists and innovative takes on death and horror. It juggles unexpected, gory bursts of humor with a nail-biting "Snowpiercer"-style train trip into a zombie apocalypse.
Gong Yoo, who starred in "The Age of Shadows," portrays Seok-woo, a workaholic who is distracted by his finance profession and alienated from his daughter and wife, who live in Busan. Seok-Woo promises to accompany her to her mother's house in Busan for her birthday, taking her by train from Seoul to Busan. However, what was supposed to be a routine father-daughter trip turns into the ride of a lifetime as a virus of unknown origin spreads quickly on the train, turning everyone into zombies.
The film has gained major awards across South Korea and was claimed to be one of the best apocalypse films in Korean cinema.
Though nominally a family film about ghosts, given that the eponymous character talks with those beyond the grave who have unfinished business, the second film in Laika's output (after the equally amazing Coraline) actually features a horrifying and heartbreaking zombie plot. The stop-motion walking dead, gorgeously drawn by Laika's animators, serve as a cautionary tale about the dangers of mob control and fear-based judgments — possibly a nod to Romero's use of zombies as societal problems.
With an outstanding voice cast and a script that subverts staid zombie tropes, "ParaNorman" is not only a gorgeous stop-motion exercise but also the rare substantive zombie movie that the whole family can enjoy.