The last decade has seen a resurgence in the popularity of the zombie genre in American films but it’s now spread worldwide. In the last several years, many foreign films have taken the undead in a new direction. From Nazi zombies guarding treasure to New Zealand slackers making the best of a post-apocalyptic world, the appeal of shambling hordes of flesh eating undead monsters seems to be universal. These movies are only part of the burgeoning zombie movie canon but each is worth checking out.
1 and 2. [REC] (2008) and [REC] 2 (2009):
You might have seen Quarantine, the American remake of [REC] but the reason I recommend [REC] over Quarantine is the sequel. Without giving away too much, [REC] and [REC] 2 uses a blend of Catholic mysticism and science to suggest that a strain of rabies leads to demonic possession. In Quarantine, this angle is changed to an underground scientist working on rabies research. You don’t see much of this backstory in either version of the first movie but in the sequel it makes the difference.
The American film, Quarantine 2, is a predictable direct to DVD movie set in an airport terminal. [REC] 2 takes place immediately after the first movie and follows a SWAT team as they enter the zombie-filled apartment building. It’s claustrophobically intense – the zombies run into submachine gun fire and keep coming and the hallways are too small to run away. By the midpoint of the movie, [REC] 2 distinguishes itself from other zombie movies with several clever plot twists and developments. The finale is amazing, surpassing the night vision ending of the first movie. It’s a great zombie film that takes the undead in a new direction. Two more films are being planned.