Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

(Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Jeremy Renner Movies and Series Ranked

Jeremy Renner got his worst movie out of the way early with National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, his feature debut which notched an impressive 0% in 1995. Renner essentially vanished from the big screen for years, notably returning in 2002 as the title Jeffrey in the Dahmer biopic. Obviously, this was going to be one dynamic, unpredictable movie career.

He’s since done well in Certified Fresh efforts like Arrival, The Town, and The Hurt Locker — which got him a Best Actor Oscar nom. Renner was also for a time the guy you apparently hired when you’re trying to figure out how to extend the life of your franchise. Think Bourne Legacy, which he starred in before Matt Damon decided to return to the spy series. Or how about Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, where he was obviously being groomed to take over for Ethan Hunt, until Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie decided to throw the series into overdrive with Rogue Nation and Fallout.

Even his Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a strange trajectory, like an arrow curving around in the wind. It started with an odd cameo in Thor, being brainwashed in the first Avengers, and becoming quip-master general in Age of Ultron. And in case you thought he was under-appreciated, his absence from Infinity War led to half the life in the universe whipped to dust. Of course, everything got all wrapped up in Endgame, and he’s getting another victory lap with the Hawkeye series. Now, we rank Renner’s movies and series by Tomatometer.

#33
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: To embarrass his rival, a scheming senator (Lawrence Dane) uses nitwit Ohio teens who are invited to a Washington gathering... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Makin

#32

Arctic Dogs (2019)
12%

#32
Adjusted Score: 11116%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Swifty the fox discovers a devious plan by Otto Von Walrus to drill beneath the Arctic surface to unleash enough... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Woodley

#31

Arctic Dogs (2019)
12%

#31
Adjusted Score: 11116%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Swifty the fox discovers a devious plan by Otto Von Walrus to drill beneath the Arctic surface to unleash enough... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Woodley

#30
Adjusted Score: 21492%
Critics Consensus: Alternately bloody and silly, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters fails as both a fantasy adventure and as a parody of same.
Synopsis: Fifteen years after Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) defeated the wicked witch who planned to have them for... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola

Mayor of Kingstown (2021)
32%

#29
Synopsis: A crime drama about an important contemporary issue, America's prison system, "Mayor of Kingstown" follows the McLusky family in Kingstown,... [More]

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 9435%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Insurance investigator Abraham Holt (Forest Whitaker) travels to a tiny town in rural Minnesota to look into a particularly unusual... [More]
Directed By: Baltasar Kormákur

#27
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scrat's continuous pursuit of an infernal acorn has world-changing consequences for Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Alberto Leguizamo) and Diego... [More]

#26
Adjusted Score: 43478%
Critics Consensus: The film aims to shock, but there is no higher reason for the parade of sordid images except to be "cool."
Synopsis: Young Jeremiah lives in a stable environment with loving foster parents until the day his troubled mother, Sarah (Asia Argento),... [More]
Directed By: Asia Argento

#25

Take (2007)
45%

#25
Adjusted Score: 44320%
Critics Consensus: A story of redemption held together with flashbacks, Take has moments of emotional intensity, but is ultimately undone by preachiness.
Synopsis: Several years after their lives met in tragedy, a single mother (Minnie Driver) and a gambling addict (Jeremy Renner) must... [More]
Directed By: Charles Oliver

#24

S.W.A.T. (2003)
48%

#24
Adjusted Score: 52599%
Critics Consensus: A competent, but routine police thriller.
Synopsis: Hondo Harrelson (Samuel L. Jackson) recruits Jim Street (Colin Farrell) to join an elite unit of the Los Angeles Police... [More]
Directed By: Clark Johnson

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 64924%
Critics Consensus: It isn't quite as compelling as the earlier trilogy, but The Bourne Legacy proves the franchise has stories left to tell -- and benefits from Jeremy Renner's magnetic work in the starring role.
Synopsis: When the actions of Jason Bourne spark a fire that threatens to burn down decades of research across a number... [More]
Directed By: Tony Gilroy

#22

Tag (2018)
56%

#22
Adjusted Score: 68045%
Critics Consensus: For audiences seeking a dose of high-concept yet undemanding action comedy, Tag might be close enough to it.
Synopsis: One month every year, five highly competitive friends hit the ground running for a no-holds-barred game of tag -- risking... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Tomsic

#21

Neo Ned (2005)
67%

#21
Adjusted Score: 17755%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Ned (Jeremy Renner) is a bigoted young man whose antisocial behavior lands him in a mental hospital. There, Ned, who... [More]
Directed By: Van Fischer

#20

North Country (2005)
69%

#20
Adjusted Score: 75821%
Critics Consensus: Though sometimes melodramatic and formulaic, North Country is nonetheless a rousing, powerful story of courage and humanity.
Synopsis: Single mother Josey Aimes (Charlize Theron) is part of a group of the first women to work at a local... [More]
Directed By: Niki Caro

#19

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#19
Adjusted Score: 79378%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

The Unusuals (2009)
72%

#18
Synopsis: After she unexpectedly is transferred from vice to the homicide division, NYPD Detective Casey Schraeger soon discovers that her new... [More]

#17

Dahmer (2002)
72%

#17
Adjusted Score: 71479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this fictionalized, fragmented biopic of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer (Jeremy Renner) contemplates his latest... [More]
Directed By: David Jacobson

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 75717%
Critics Consensus: This shocking pre-teen drama manages, through realistic performances and a sense of empathy, to avoid exploitation and instead deliver something honest and haunting.
Synopsis: Of identical twin brothers Jacob (Conor Donovan) and Rudy, the latter is the more outgoing, serving as de facto leader... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cuesta

#15
Adjusted Score: 82891%
Critics Consensus: On the strength of its two lead performances Assassination is an expertly crafted period piece, and an insightful look at one of the enduring figures of American lore.
Synopsis: Infamous and unpredictable, Jesse James (Brad Pitt), nicknamed the fastest gun in the west, plans his next big heist while... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Dominik

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 90810%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth),... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 81865%
Critics Consensus: Kill the Messenger's potent fury over the tale of its real-life subject overrides its factual inaccuracies and occasional narrative stumbles.
Synopsis: Journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner) happens upon a story that not only leads to the origins of America's crack epidemic... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cuesta

#12

The Immigrant (2013)
85%

#12
Adjusted Score: 88308%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful visuals, James Gray's confident direction, and a powerful performance from Marion Cotillard combine to make The Immigrant a richly rewarding period drama.
Synopsis: After her sister is quarantined at Ellis Island, a Polish nurse (Marion Cotillard) is forced into prostitution by a theater... [More]
Directed By: James Gray

#11

Wind River (2017)
87%

#11
Adjusted Score: 105864%
Critics Consensus: Wind River lures viewers into a character-driven mystery with smart writing, a strong cast, and a skillfully rendered setting that delivers the bitter chill promised by its title.
Synopsis: Cory Lambert is a wildlife officer who finds the body of an 18-year-old woman on an American Indian reservation in... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Sheridan

#10
Adjusted Score: 117397%
Critics Consensus: Captain America: Civil War begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.
Synopsis: Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 106046%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a script that emphasizes its heroes' humanity and a wealth of superpowered set pieces, The Avengers lives up to its hype and raises the bar for Marvel at the movies.
Synopsis: When Thor's evil brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), gains access to the unlimited power of the energy cube called the Tesseract,... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

Hawkeye (2021)
92%

#8
Synopsis: Clint Barton and Kate Bishop shoot a few arrows and try to avoid becoming the target themselves.... [More]

#7

The Town (2010)
92%

#7
Adjusted Score: 99975%
Critics Consensus: Tense, smartly written, and wonderfully cast, The Town proves that Ben Affleck has rediscovered his muse -- and that he's a director to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) leads a band of ruthless bank robbers and has no real attachments except for James (Jeremy... [More]
Directed By: Ben Affleck

#6

American Hustle (2013)
92%

#6
Adjusted Score: 103253%
Critics Consensus: Riotously funny and impeccably cast, American Hustle compensates for its flaws with unbridled energy and some of David O. Russell's most irrepressibly vibrant direction.
Synopsis: Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) dabbles in forgery and loan-sharking, but when he falls for fellow grifter Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams),... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#5
Adjusted Score: 102856%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, fast-paced, and loaded with gripping set pieces, the fourth Mission: Impossible is big-budget popcorn entertainment that really works.
Synopsis: Blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the entire IMF agency are disavowed by... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#4
Adjusted Score: 106617%
Critics Consensus: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation continues the franchise's thrilling resurgence -- and proves that Tom Cruise remains an action star without equal.
Synopsis: With the IMF now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, a new threat -- called the... [More]
Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie

#3

Arrival (2016)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 121922%
Critics Consensus: Arrival delivers a must-see experience for fans of thinking person's sci-fi that anchors its heady themes with genuinely affecting emotion and a terrific performance from Amy Adams.
Synopsis: Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations... [More]
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 127912%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, entertaining, and emotionally impactful, Avengers: Endgame does whatever it takes to deliver a satisfying finale to Marvel's epic Infinity Saga.
Synopsis: Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#1

The Hurt Locker (2008)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108153%
Critics Consensus: A well-acted, intensely shot, action filled war epic, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is thus far the best of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.
Synopsis: Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), Sgt. J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) are members of... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

(Photo by Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection)

The 80 Best 2000s Horror Movies

Welcome to the new millennium. The decade horror came home to America. The decade horror went global. Welcome to the 80 Best Horror Movies of the 2000s.

If horror movies reflect the fears and concerns of a people, it’s notable that America claimed torture-porn as their de rigueur subgenre. Something in Saw and its ilk’s slow-roasted dismantling of human flesh appealed to a nation consumed by post-9/11 paranoia and a bombardment of wartime images and atrocity. But while torture-porn movies made a killing at the box office, none were ever particularly well-reviewed; only Hostel arrives here. Recovering from the ’90s doldrums, the best horror movies came from overseas, as digital cameras lowered the cost to film and the rise of the internet made knowledge and dissemination of these movies as simple as a mouse click. In fact, of the top 10 movies here (which includes the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Host), only two were shot in America. Other trends seen during this decade: Asian originals and occasional remakes (The Ring, Thirst), found footage (Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield), the return of the living dead (Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later), and nostalgic throwbacks (Slither, Death Proof). The only stipulation for a movie to be considered for this list was a Fresh rating from at least 20 reviews.

Time to add some scary MIDIs to your MySpace and set AIM status to away (FOREVER), because here comes the best scary 2000s movies!

90 Best ’70s Horror Movies | 80 Best ’80s Horror Movies
40 Best ’90s Horror Movies| 140 Best 2010s Horror Movies
200 Best Horror Movies of All Time | Best Horror Movies of 2021

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 64961%
Critics Consensus: This gory, senses-assaulting slasher film is an unpretentious, effective mix of old-school horror stylings and modern 3D technology.
Synopsis: Ten years ago, an inexperienced coal miner named Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) caused an accident that killed five men and... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Lussier

#79

Them (2006)
62%

#79
Adjusted Score: 62488%
Critics Consensus: Suspenseful and tense from start to finish, the French horror film Them proves that a lack of gore doesn't mean a dearth of scares.
Synopsis: Lucas (Michaël Cohen) and Clementine (Olivia Bonamy) live in an isolated house near Bucharest. On one rainy night in their... [More]
Directed By: David Moreau, Xavier Palud

#78

Day Watch (2006)
62%

#78
Adjusted Score: 64641%
Critics Consensus: Day Watch is frequently cheesy but it offers enough twists, surprises, and inventive action sequences to maintain viewer interest.
Synopsis: Anton (Konstantin Khabensky), a member of a group of supernatural guardians who monitor the forces of the Dark, discovers that... [More]
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 65825%
Critics Consensus: As Diary of the Dead proves, time hasn't subdued George A. Romero's affection for mixing politics with gore, nor has it given him cinematic grace or subtlety.
Synopsis: The dead are returning to life to feast on the flesh of the living. As civilization dissolves in this nightmare... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#76

Cabin Fever (2002)
62%

#76
Adjusted Score: 66499%
Critics Consensus: More gory than scary, Cabin Fever is satisfied with paying homage to genre conventions rather than reinventing them.
Synopsis: Bert (James DeBello), a college student vacationing with friends in the mountains, mistakenly shoots a local man (Arie Verveen) with... [More]
Directed By: Eli Roth

#75

Identity (2003)
62%

#75
Adjusted Score: 66796%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Synopsis: When a vicious storm breaks out in the Nevada desert, 10 people seek refuge in an isolated motel. At the... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#74
Adjusted Score: 64120%
Critics Consensus: Poultrygeist may be relentlessly tasteless and juvenile, but it's also a lively slice of schlocky fun.
Synopsis: Some fast-food workers discover the restaurant they work in is built on an ancient burial ground, and the chickens they... [More]
Directed By: Lloyd Kaufman

#73

Martyrs (2008)
64%

#73
Adjusted Score: 64775%
Critics Consensus: A real polarising movie, this Gallic torture-porn is graphic, brutal, nasty and gruesome and not to everyone's taste.
Synopsis: A young woman's quest for revenge leads her down a path of depravity.... [More]
Directed By: Pascal Laugier

#72

In My Skin (2002)
64%

#72
Adjusted Score: 64650%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Parisian marketing professional, Esther (Marina de Van) has a gruesome secret. She's been obsessed with the damage she can... [More]
Directed By: Marina de Van

#71

Session 9 (2001)
66%

#71
Adjusted Score: 67275%
Critics Consensus: Relying more on atmosphere than gore, Session 9 is effectively creepy.
Synopsis: A tale of terror when a group of asbestos removal workers start work in an abandoned insane asylum. The complex... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#70

The Eye (2002)
64%

#70
Adjusted Score: 66943%
Critics Consensus: Conventional ghost tale with a few genuine scares.
Synopsis: After 18 years of blindness, 20-year-old violinist Wong Kar Mun (Lee Sin-Je) regains her vision when she undergoes a corneal... [More]

#69

Willard (2003)
64%

#69
Adjusted Score: 67105%
Critics Consensus: In this creepy story of a man and his rodents, Glover seems born to play the oddball title character.
Synopsis: Desperate for companionship, the repressed Willard (Crispin Glover) befriends a group of rats that inhabit his late father's deteriorating mansion.... [More]
Directed By: Glen Morgan

#68

Lunacy (2005)
65%

#68
Adjusted Score: 64620%
Critics Consensus: A Svankmajer movie is not for everyone, but he displays his usual creative flair for surreal imagery.
Synopsis: In 19th-century France a young man (Pavel Liska) meets a nobleman (Jan Tríska) who invites him to spend the night... [More]
Directed By: Jan Svankmajer

#67

Ichi the Killer (2001)
65%

#67
Adjusted Score: 65794%
Critics Consensus: Ichi The Killer is a thoroughly shocking gorefest that will surely entertain those with strong stomachs and a penchant for brutal violence.
Synopsis: A bloodthirsty hoodlum (Tadanobu Asano) sparks a series of violent reprisals after his boss is apparently taken by a mysterious... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#66
Adjusted Score: 66057%
Critics Consensus: Death Proof may feel somewhat minor in the context of Tarantino's larger filmography, but on its own merits, it packs just enough of a wallop to deliver sufficiently high-octane grindhouse goods.
Synopsis: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional body double who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in his... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#65

Carriers (2009)
66%

#65
Adjusted Score: 65729%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a virus threatens to wipe out humanity, Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), his brother Brian (Chris Pine), and their friends... [More]
Directed By: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor

#64

Severance (2006)
66%

#64
Adjusted Score: 68354%
Critics Consensus: A twisted and bloody spoof on office life, Severance nicely balances comedy and nasty horror.
Synopsis: Members (Danny Dyer, Laura Harris, Tim McInnerny) of the Palisades Defense Corp. sales group arrive in Europe for a team-building... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Smith

#63

My Little Eye (2002)
67%

#63
Adjusted Score: 52547%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As part of an Internet reality show, five people sign up to spend six months in a mansion while cameras... [More]
Directed By: Marc Evans

#62
Adjusted Score: 67391%
Critics Consensus: If nothing else, Happiness of the Katakuris scores points for its delirious, over-the-top originality.
Synopsis: Fearing bad publicity, an innkeeper and his family bury the bodies of their ill-fated guests themselves.... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#61

Red Dragon (2002)
68%

#61
Adjusted Score: 73203%
Critics Consensus: Competently made, but everything is a bit too familiar.
Synopsis: Ex-FBI agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) is an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 68430%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of Charles Manson's cult tell their story.... [More]
Directed By: Jim Van Bebber

#59

Tormented (2009)
69%

#59
Adjusted Score: 69528%
Critics Consensus: It relies too heavily on American slasher cliches, but Tormented is a timely, funny, and even somewhat touching entry in the high school horror genre.
Synopsis: Darren Mullet (Calvin Dean) doesn't have it easy. He's overweight, uses an inhaler and is constantly bullied by his spoiled... [More]
Directed By: Jon Wright

#58

May (2002)
70%

#58
Adjusted Score: 70709%
Critics Consensus: Above average slasher flick.
Synopsis: Young misfit May (Angela Bettis) endured a difficult childhood because of her lazy eye. And though contact lenses have helped... [More]
Directed By: Lucky McKee

#57

Dead Snow (2009)
69%

#57
Adjusted Score: 70504%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't cover new ground, Dead Snow is an entertaining mix of camp, scares, and blood and guts.
Synopsis: A party of eight Norwegian medical students travel to a remote Arctic mountain for an Easter weekend filled with skiing... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Wirkola

#56

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#56
Adjusted Score: 74646%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 75482%
Critics Consensus: Snakes on a Plane lives up to its title, featuring snakes on a plane. It isn't perfect, but then again, it doesn't need to be.
Synopsis: FBI agent Nelville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) boards a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, escorting a witness to trial.... [More]
Directed By: David R. Ellis

#54

The Mist (2007)
72%

#54
Adjusted Score: 77081%
Critics Consensus: Frank Darabont's impressive camerawork and politically incisive script make The Mist a truly frightening experience.
Synopsis: After a powerful storm damages their Maine home, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son head into town to... [More]
Directed By: Frank Darabont

#53

Open Water (2003)
71%

#53
Adjusted Score: 77696%
Critics Consensus: A low budget thriller with some intense moments.
Synopsis: Daniel (Daniel Travis) and Susan (Blanchard Ryan) embark on a tropical vacation with their scuba-diving certifications in tow. During a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Kentis

#52

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#52
Adjusted Score: 79378%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#51

The Ring (2002)
71%

#51
Adjusted Score: 76848%
Critics Consensus: With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski's haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.
Synopsis: It sounds like just another urban legend -- a videotape filled with nightmarish images leads to a phone call foretelling... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#50

Grace (2009)
72%

#50
Adjusted Score: 71456%
Critics Consensus: Though not entirely effective as a conventional horror flick, Grace is still a graphic, disturbing, and artful exploration of twisted maternal instinct.
Synopsis: In the wake of a horrific car accident that kills her husband, Michael (Stephen Park), expectant mother Madeline Matheson (Jordan... [More]
Directed By: Paul Solet

#49

Vampire Hunter D (2000)
72%

#49
Adjusted Score: 71436%
Critics Consensus: Vampire Hunter D's gothic charms may be lost on those unfamiliar with the anime series that spawned it, but the crisp action and nightmarish style will satiate horror aficionados' bloodlust.
Synopsis: In a dark and distant future, when the undead have arisen from apocalyptic ashes, an original story unfolds. Ten thousand... [More]
Directed By: Yoshiaki Kawajiri

#48

Dahmer (2002)
72%

#48
Adjusted Score: 71479%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this fictionalized, fragmented biopic of one of America's most notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer (Jeremy Renner) contemplates his latest... [More]
Directed By: David Jacobson

#47

I Sell the Dead (2008)
72%

#47
Adjusted Score: 72094%
Critics Consensus: A horror comedy that's almost as chilling as it is funny, I Sell the Dead relies on its dark humor and offbeat charm to overcome its low budget shortcomings.
Synopsis: Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) is about to be executed by guillotine for the crime of grave robbing. But before he... [More]
Directed By: Glenn McQuaid

#46

Gozu (2003)
72%

#46
Adjusted Score: 72239%
Critics Consensus: Miike continues his run of compellingly bizarre flicks.
Synopsis: Chaos ensues when a yakuza boss orders a young gangster (Hideki Sone) to kill an insane colleague (Shô Aikawa).... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#45

Fido (2007)
72%

#45
Adjusted Score: 74636%
Critics Consensus: Making the most of its thin premise, Fido is an occasionally touching satire that provides big laughs and enough blood and guts to please gorehounds.
Synopsis: When a cloud of space dust causes the dead to rise as ravenous zombies, the ZomCon Corp. emerges to conquer... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Currie

#44

Black Sheep (2006)
72%

#44
Adjusted Score: 74593%
Critics Consensus: With an outrageous premise played completely straight, Black Sheep is a violent, grotesque, and very funny movie that takes B-movie lunacy to a delirious extreme.
Synopsis: Sheep-fearing Henry (Nathan Meister) returns to his brother's (Peter Feeney) New Zealand farm, hoping his sibling will buy out his... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan King

#43
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When struggling photographer Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) meets the owner of a prominent art gallery, he sees a chance for... [More]
Directed By: Ryûhei Kitamura

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 74186%
Critics Consensus: This French animated horror portmanteau is monochrome and minimalist, visually stunning, but light on scares.
Synopsis: Animated sequences explore people's fear of darkness.... [More]

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 76663%
Critics Consensus: Brotherhood of the Wolf mixes its genres with little logic, but the end result is wildly entertaining.
Synopsis: In a rural province of France, a mysterious creature is laying waste to the countryside, savagely killing scores of women... [More]
Directed By: Christophe Gans

#40

Splinter (2008)
74%

#40
Adjusted Score: 73729%
Critics Consensus: Never taking itself too seriously, Splinter scores as a fast-paced, fun thriller with more than enough scares.
Synopsis: When their plans for a nature trip go awry, Polly Watt (Jill Wagner) and boyfriend Seth Belzer (Paulo Costanzo) decide... [More]
Directed By: Toby Wilkins

#39

Frailty (2002)
75%

#39
Adjusted Score: 78839%
Critics Consensus: Creepy and disturbing, Frailty is well-crafted, low-key horror.
Synopsis: Set in present day Texas, "Frailty" centers on the FBI's search for a serial killer who calls himself "God's Hands."... [More]
Directed By: Bill Paxton

#38

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#38
Adjusted Score: 81000%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#37

Hair High (2004)
75%

#37
Adjusted Score: 63671%
Critics Consensus: Hair High isn't first-tier Plympton, but like the rest of the animator's work, this is an assuredly odd tale that should resonate with fans of strange cinema.
Synopsis: As the prom approaches, the head cheerleader (Sarah Silverman) of Echo Lake High dumps her quarterback boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney) in... [More]
Directed By: Bill Plympton

#36

Planet Terror (2007)
76%

#36
Adjusted Score: 75388%
Critics Consensus: A cool and hip grindhouse throwback, Planet Terror is an unpredictable zombie thrillride.
Synopsis: An ordinary evening in a small Texas town becomes a grisly nightmare when a horde of flesh-eating zombies goes on... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#35
Adjusted Score: 77010%
Critics Consensus: A smart mockumentary that presents a gory, funny, and obviously affectionate skewering of the slasher genre.
Synopsis: Nice, normal-looking Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) has an obsession with movie-style slashers like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger.... [More]
Directed By: Scott Glosserman

#34

The Last Winter (2006)
76%

#34
Adjusted Score: 77441%
Critics Consensus: The Last Winter creatively and effectively uses horror tactics -- fear, tension, anticipation, and just enough gore -- to shock, but never repulse, its audience.
Synopsis: Sent to evaluate the environmental impact of oil drilling in the Arctic, James Hoffman (James Le Gros) clashes with the... [More]
Directed By: Larry Fessenden

#33

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
76%

#33
Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic, violent and surprisingly worthy remake of George Romero's horror classic that pays homage to the original while working on its own terms.
Synopsis: When her husband is attacked by a zombified neighbor, Ana (Sarah Polley) manages to escape, only to realize her entire... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#32

Cloverfield (2008)
78%

#32
Adjusted Score: 85550%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Blair Witch Project crossed with Godzilla, Cloverfield is economically paced, stylistically clever, and filled with scares.
Synopsis: As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know... [More]
Directed By: Matt Reeves

#31

Eden Lake (2008)
80%

#31
Adjusted Score: 80365%
Critics Consensus: A brutal and effective British hoodie-horror that, despite the clichés, stays on the right side of scary.
Synopsis: During a romantic weekend getaway, a young couple confronts a gang of youths, and suffers brutal consequences.... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#30

Dog Soldiers (2002)
79%

#30
Adjusted Score: 78819%
Critics Consensus: Frightening, funny, and packed with action, Dog Soldiers is well worth checking out for genre fans -- and marks writer-director Neil Marshall as a talent to keep an eye on.
Synopsis: During a routine nighttime training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#29

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
79%

#29
Adjusted Score: 81981%
Critics Consensus: The best movie to star both the King and JFK.
Synopsis: After falling into a lengthy coma following a freak accident involving hip gyration, a now aged Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell)... [More]
Directed By: Don Coscarelli

#28

1408 (2007)
79%

#28
Adjusted Score: 86373%
Critics Consensus: Relying on psychological tension rather than overt violence and gore, 1408 is a genuinely creepy thriller with a strong lead performance by John Cusack.
Synopsis: Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a successful author who enjoys worldwide acclaim debunking supernatural phenomena -- before he checks into... [More]
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom

#27

Wake Wood (2011)
80%

#27
Adjusted Score: 80077%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The parents of a deceased girl are given three days with their dead daughter.... [More]
Directed By: David Keating

#26

Teeth (2007)
80%

#26
Adjusted Score: 82186%
Critics Consensus: Smart, original, and horrifically funny, Teeth puts a fresh feminist spin on horror movie tropes.
Synopsis: Dawn (Jess Weixler) is an active member of her high-school chastity club but, when she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman), nature... [More]
Directed By: Mitchell Lichtenstein

#25

Thirst (2009)
80%

#25
Adjusted Score: 84279%
Critics Consensus: The stylish Thirst packs plenty of bloody thrills to satisfy fans of both vampire films and director Chan Wook Park.
Synopsis: Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), a respected priest, volunteers for an experimental procedure that may lead to a cure for a deadly... [More]
Directed By: Park Chan-wook

#24

Taxidermia (2006)
81%

#24
Adjusted Score: 80995%
Critics Consensus: Surreal and visually striking, Taxidermia is, at times, graphic and difficult to watch, but creatively touches on disturbing subjects with imagination and wit.
Synopsis: Set over three generations and beginning with Morosgoványi Vendel, a sexually frustrated orderly during the war who relieves his tensions... [More]
Directed By: Gyorgy Palfi

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 86070%
Critics Consensus: Shadow of the Vampire is frightening, compelling, and funny, and features an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe.
Synopsis: F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is struggling to create his silent classic "Nosferatu" on location in Eastern Europe. The director... [More]
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

#22

Trick 'r Treat (2007)
84%

#22
Adjusted Score: 84456%
Critics Consensus: A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense.
Synopsis: Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents (Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker) of... [More]
Directed By: Michael Dougherty

#21

The Others (2001)
83%

#21
Adjusted Score: 89447%
Critics Consensus: The Others is a spooky thriller that reminds us that a movie doesn't need expensive special effects to be creepy.
Synopsis: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 91421%
Critics Consensus: Using its low-budget effects and mockumentary method to great result, Paranormal Activity turns a simple haunted house story into 90 minutes of relentless suspense.
Synopsis: Soon after moving into a suburban tract home, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) become increasingly disturbed by what... [More]
Directed By: Oren Peli

#19
Adjusted Score: 84726%
Critics Consensus: This anthology contains brutal, powerful horror stories by three of Asia's top directors.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Takashi Miike

#18

Pontypool (2008)
84%

#18
Adjusted Score: 87005%
Critics Consensus: Witty and restrained but still taut and funny, this Pontypool is a different breed of low-budget zombie film.
Synopsis: When disc jockey Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) reports to his basement radio station in the Canadian town of Pontypool, he... [More]
Directed By: Bruce McDonald

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 86396%
Critics Consensus: Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.
Synopsis: After being institutionalized in a mental hospital, Korean teen Su-mi (Yum Jung-ah) reunites with her beloved sister, Su-yeon (Im Soo-jung),... [More]
Directed By: Kim Jee-woon

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 88330%
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Synopsis: Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, college student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes... [More]
Directed By: Ti West

#15

Requiem (2006)
86%

#15
Adjusted Score: 86715%
Critics Consensus: This harrowing, naturalistic drama holds you in its grip through Huller's intense performance.
Synopsis: Michaela, an epileptic, enrolls in college to study education. She goes off her medication and soon begins hearing voices and... [More]
Directed By: Hans-Christian Schmid

#14

The Descent (2005)
86%

#14
Adjusted Score: 93863%
Critics Consensus: Deft direction and strong performances from its all-female cast guide The Descent, a riveting, claustrophobic horror film.
Synopsis: A year after a severe emotional trauma, Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) goes to North Carolina to spend some time exploring caves... [More]
Directed By: Neil Marshall

#13
Adjusted Score: 88434%
Critics Consensus: Guy Maddin's film is a richly sensuous and dreamy interpretation of Dracula that reinvigorates the genre.
Synopsis: In this ballet version of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale, Dracula (Zhang Wei-Qiang) arrives in London and performs a dance... [More]
Directed By: Guy Maddin

#12

Slither (2006)
87%

#12
Adjusted Score: 91719%
Critics Consensus: A slimy, B-movie homage oozing with affection for low-budget horror films, Slither is creepy and funny -- if you've got the stomach for it.
Synopsis: Wheelsy is a small town where not much happens and everyone minds his own business. No one notices when evil... [More]
Directed By: James Gunn

#11

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94026%
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.
Synopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#10

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94188%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#9

Rec (2007)
89%

#9
Adjusted Score: 89819%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#8

Zombieland (2009)
89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 99788%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Synopsis: After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world's surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

#7

Ginger Snaps (2000)
90%

#7
Adjusted Score: 90570%
Critics Consensus: The strong female cast and biting satire of teenage life makes Ginger Snaps far more memorable than your average werewolf movie -- or teen flick.
Synopsis: The story of two outcast sisters, Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) and Brigitte (Emily Perkins), in the mindless suburban town of Bailey... [More]
Directed By: John Fawcett

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 96338%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 98888%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#4

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 103288%
Critics Consensus: Sam Raimi returns to top form with Drag Me to Hell, a frightening, hilarious, delightfully campy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and a great job at a Los Angeles bank. But... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#3

The Host (2006)
93%

#3
Adjusted Score: 98416%
Critics Consensus: As populace pleasing as it is intellectually satisfying, The Host combines scares, laughs, and satire into a riveting, monster movie.
Synopsis: Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 104435%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 104738%
Critics Consensus: Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Synopsis: When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor,... [More]
Directed By: Tomas Alfredson

James-Bond-Countdown

30 Essential Zombie Movies

The zombie: Without remorse and pity, driven by a single hunger, and damn near impossible to put down permanently. There have been times since their introduction into movies in the 1930s where it felt like we’d never see a zombie movie again. Then there are eras of the opposite, where you couldn’t stick your arm out in a multiplex without a shambling ghoul nearby, ready to chomp. And since we’ve been in feast mode over the last decade-plus, we’re taking a big bite with our guide to the 30 Essential Zombie Movies that you need to watch!

While zombie movies have been for more than 80 years (in 1932 we got White Zombie, in 1943 I Walked With a Zombie), it’s commonly accepted the subgenre as we know it today didn’t rise until 1968, when George A. Romero unleashed Night of the Living Dead. An independent film with a budget barely above six figures, Night enthralled audiences with its mysterious plot, shocking gore, progressive casting and social commentary, and, natch, the unforgettable hordes of the gaunt, hungry undead. Crowned the godfather of zombies, Romero made five more Dead movies, the best of which are featured in this guide, including Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.

Despite Romero’s efforts, it would still be a long shuffle into the early 2000s before zombies would break out of horror niche and crawl all over pop culture. Highlights from the pre-2000 era include splatter comedies like Return of the Living Dead and Dead Alive, Lucio Fulci’s eye-splitting and shark-wrestling Zombi 2, and H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Re-Animator.

The success of the Resident Evil video games revealed an audience appetite hitherto untapped, inspiring a gushing fount of zombie movies released between 2000 and 2005. Now we got to see the true versatility of the zombie movie. There was the loving spoofery of Shaun of the Dead. The blockbuster theatrics of the Resident Evil adaptation. Cutting-edge, gritty filmmaking with 28 Days Later. Japanese kinetic action in Versus, and most recently the creative, micro-budget One Cut of the Dead.

Ever since, zombies have shown no sign of slowing down. (Some have even figured out how to run.) TV show The Walking Dead is an obvious behemoth to point towards, but in the film world, zombies have made their way into found footage ([REC]), rom-com (Warm Bodies), and grindhouse throwbacks (Planet Terror).

And with this guide, we sought to capture those many moods, the various sensitivities that make up the zombie movie. Most featured here are Fresh and Certified Fresh, and of course we’re including a few Rotten movies. They may not have gotten the highest critical marks, but offer just as much color, life, and odor to this list. With that, it’s time to use your braaaaains and dig deep into the best zombie movies to watch!

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 80135%
Critics Consensus: Valley Girl culture satire Night of the Comet gets lots of mileage out of its slapstick sci-fi zombie approach.
Synopsis: After a rare comet sighting, teen sisters Regina (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney) find that they're among the... [More]
Directed By: Thom Eberhardt

#29

Juan of the Dead (2011)
83%

#29
Adjusted Score: 82083%
Critics Consensus: Filled with wild splatter slapstick, Juan of the Dead also deftly uses its zombie premise as an undead Trojan horse for insightful political commentary.
Synopsis: When the dead rise and attack the living, Juan starts a zombie-killing business, until he has to save his small... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Brugués

#28

Little Monsters (2019)
79%

#28
Adjusted Score: 86600%
Critics Consensus: Led by typically outstanding work from Lupita Nyong'o, Little Monsters is a horror/rom-com hybrid that proves the zombie genre still has fresh brains to savor.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Abe Forsythe

#27

Wild Zero (2000)
100%

#27
Adjusted Score: 26586%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Ace saves his heroes from alien invaders that turn people into zombies.... [More]
Directed By: Tetsuro Takeuchi

#26
Adjusted Score: 45007%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scooby (Scott Innes) and the rest of the Mystery, Inc., crew encounter creepy characters at a haunted house on a... [More]
Directed By: Jim Stenstrum

#25

Resident Evil (2002)
36%

#25
Adjusted Score: 38967%
Critics Consensus: Like other video game adapations, Resident Evil is loud, violent, formulaic, and cheesy.
Synopsis: Based on the popular video game, Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez star as the leaders of a commando team who... [More]
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson

#24

Cemetery Man (1995)
60%

#24
Adjusted Score: 61138%
Critics Consensus: Cemetery Man will frustrate viewers seeking narrative cohesion or coherence, but this surreal blend of humor and horror should satisfy B-movie fans in the mood for quirk.
Synopsis: Something is causing the dead to rise from their graves as flesh-eating zombies, and cemetery custodian Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett)... [More]
Directed By: Michele Soavi

#23

Deathdream (1974)
83%

#23
Adjusted Score: 41174%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a Vietnam war casualty (Richard Backus) returns to his parents (John Marley, Lynn Carlin), he prowls in search of... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

#22

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#22
Adjusted Score: 79378%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#21

Versus (2000)
75%

#21
Adjusted Score: 47138%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An escaped prisoner (Tak Sakaguchi) and a mysterious young woman (Chieko Misaka) face an onslaught of indestructible undead fighters in... [More]
Directed By: Ryûhei Kitamura

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 74060%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fraternity pledges (Jason Lively, Steve Marshall) pull a prank with a frozen body and let sluglike creatures loose on campus.... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 89741%
Critics Consensus: Evocative direction by Jacques Tourneur collides with the low-rent production values of exploitateer Val Lewton in I Walked with a Zombie, a sultry sleeper that's simultaneously smarmy, eloquent and fascinating.
Synopsis: Canadian nurse Betsey Connell (Frances Dee) is hired to care for Jessica Holland (Christine Gordon), a woman on a Caribbean... [More]
Directed By: Jacques Tourneur

#18

Warm Bodies (2013)
81%

#18
Adjusted Score: 89358%
Critics Consensus: Warm Bodies offers a sweet, well-acted spin on a genre that all too often lives down to its brain-dead protagonists.
Synopsis: A terrible plague has left the planet's population divided between zombies and humans. An unusual zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult)... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

#17

Planet Terror (2007)
76%

#17
Adjusted Score: 75388%
Critics Consensus: A cool and hip grindhouse throwback, Planet Terror is an unpredictable zombie thrillride.
Synopsis: An ordinary evening in a small Texas town becomes a grisly nightmare when a horde of flesh-eating zombies goes on... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 43646%
Critics Consensus: Zombi 2 is an absurdly graphic zombie movie legendary for some gory scenes and nothing in between.
Synopsis: A New York reporter (Ian McCulloch) follows a woman (Tisa Farrow) to an island where a doctor (Richard Johnson) faces... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Fulci

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 86447%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cop does not realize that those responsible for several murders are the living dead.... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Grau

#14

World War Z (2013)
66%

#14
Adjusted Score: 77477%
Critics Consensus: It's uneven and diverges from the source book, but World War Z still brings smart, fast-moving thrills and a solid performance from Brad Pitt to the zombie genre.
Synopsis: When former U.N. investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family get stuck in urban gridlock, he senses that it's... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#13

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 82020%
Critics Consensus: A kinetic, violent and surprisingly worthy remake of George Romero's horror classic that pays homage to the original while working on its own terms.
Synopsis: When her husband is attacked by a zombified neighbor, Ana (Sarah Polley) manages to escape, only to realize her entire... [More]
Directed By: Zack Snyder

#12

Day of the Dead (1985)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 84996%
Critics Consensus: Day of the Dead may arguably be the least haunting entry in George A. Romero's undead trilogy, but it will give audiences' plenty to chew on with its shocking gore and scathing view of society.
Synopsis: The living dead regroup above while humans (Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato) sweat it out below in a Florida... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 105171%
Critics Consensus: Brainy and bloody in equal measure, One Cut of the Dead reanimates the moribund zombie genre with a refreshing blend of formal daring and clever satire.
Synopsis: Real zombies attack a hack director and a film crew who are shooting a low budget zombie film in an... [More]
Directed By: Shinichiro Ueda

#10
Adjusted Score: 94386%
Critics Consensus: A punk take on the zombie genre, The Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of '80s silliness to the flesh-consuming.
Synopsis: When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the... [More]
Directed By: Dan O'Bannon

#9

Dead Alive (1992)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 91070%
Critics Consensus: The delightfully gonzo tale of a lovestruck teen and his zombified mother, Dead Alive is extremely gory and exceedingly good fun, thanks to Peter Jackson's affection for the tastelessly sublime.
Synopsis: Overprotective mother Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody), spying on her grown son, Lionel (Timothy Balme), as he visits the zoo with... [More]
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#8

Re-Animator (1985)
94%

#8
Adjusted Score: 98043%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator's gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Synopsis: A medical student (Jeffrey Combs) brings his headless professor back from the dead with a special serum.... [More]
Directed By: Stuart Gordon

#7

Rec (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 89819%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#6

28 Days Later (2002)
87%

#6
Adjusted Score: 94188%
Critics Consensus: Kinetically directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is both a terrifying zombie movie and a sharp political allegory.
Synopsis: A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the "Rage" virus from a medical research... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#5

Zombieland (2009)
89%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99788%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Synopsis: After a virus turns most people into zombies, the world's surviving humans remain locked in an ongoing battle against the... [More]
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 98364%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's debut set the template for the zombie film, and features tight editing, realistic gore, and a sly political undercurrent.
Synopsis: A disparate group of individuals takes refuge in an abandoned house when corpses begin to leave the graveyard in search... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero

#3

Train to Busan (2016)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100980%
Critics Consensus: Train to Busan delivers a thrillingly unique -- and purely entertaining -- take on the zombie genre, with fully realized characters and plenty of social commentary to underscore the bursts of skillfully staged action.
Synopsis: A man (Gong Yoo), his estranged daughter and other passengers become trapped on a speeding train during a zombie outbreak... [More]
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 98888%
Critics Consensus: Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.
Synopsis: Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser with a dull, easy existence. When he's not working at the electronics store,... [More]
Directed By: Edgar Wright

#1

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 96885%
Critics Consensus: One of the most compelling and entertaining zombie films ever, Dawn of the Dead perfectly blends pure horror and gore with social commentary on material society.
Synopsis: As hordes of zombies swarm over the U.S., the terrified populace tries everything in their power to escape the attack... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

(Photo by Well GO USA/ courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Train to Busan

If you’re looking for more movies like Train to Busan, the South Korean zombie classic that sunk its teeth into savvy filmgoers and hasn’t let go since its 2016 release, why not first punch your ticket for something in the shared universe? Check out Seoul Station, an animated prequel to Busan, directed by the same guy, Yeon Sang-ho. He was primarily an animation director before Busan (that was his live-action debut), and he followed that up with 2018’s Psychokinesis, his take on the superhero genre which also had a father-and-daughter relationship driving the plot. Yeon will be back in 2020 with Peninsula, another story set in the world of Train to Busan.

For more from South Korean, consider checking out Rampant, a period piece action epic about – true to history, we’re sure – a zombie outbreak. Deranged and The Wailing are also about illness and outbreak in contemporary SK. (For more quality choices from the region, see our list of 30 Certified Fresh South Korean movies.)

If you’re really into the whole train setting, seek out Snowpiercer, directed by Parasite‘s Bong Joon-ho, The Cassandra Crossing, about a biological weapon that may have been set loose in the caboose, and Howl, wherein a passenger train and its riders have to deal with an outbreak…of werewolves.

Zombie godfather George A. Romero spent his career exploring the different stages of undead chaos: from infection, to pandemic, to normalization. His last great film, Land of the Dead, explored the latter, depicting society that had tenuously adapted to a new, dark way of living. Carriers, The Road, and The Crazies (a remake of a Romero movie) are further entertaining, credible looks at society-destroying diseases in America.

Of course, if you consider yourself a Train to Busan fan, you might also think of yourself an adventurous movie-watcher, ready for pandemic and outbreak movies beyond the borders of America. To that, we’ve assembled suggestions from the UK (28 Weeks Later, Children of Men, The Girl With All The Gifts), Japan (I Am a Hero), France (Ravenous, The Night Eats the World), Germany (Rammbock: Berlin Undead), and Spain ([REC]).

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 30115%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Terrorists have planted a deadly virus on a transcontinental train. On board are the glamorous Jennifer Chamberlain (Sophia Loren) and... [More]
Directed By: George Pan Cosmatos

#19

Deranged (2012)
60%

#19
Adjusted Score: 14126%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Jae-hyuk tries to find a cure after his wife and children come down with a mysterious infection that causes people... [More]
Directed By: Park Jeongu

#18

Rampant (2018)
62%

#18
Adjusted Score: 52063%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Returning from imprisonment abroad, a prince and his fellow countrymen band together to battle bloodthirsty demons in ancient Korea.... [More]
Directed By: Kim Seong-hun

#17

Howl (2015)
63%

#17
Adjusted Score: 62064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Train passengers band together to fight a deadly creature.... [More]
Directed By: Paul Hyett

#16

Carriers (2009)
66%

#16
Adjusted Score: 65729%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When a virus threatens to wipe out humanity, Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), his brother Brian (Chris Pine), and their friends... [More]
Directed By: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor

#15

The Crazies (2010)
70%

#15
Adjusted Score: 75579%
Critics Consensus: Tense, nicely shot, and uncommonly intelligent, The Crazies is a horror remake that, unusually, works.
Synopsis: Anarchy reigns when an unknown toxin turns the peaceful citizens of Ogden Marsh into bloodthirsty lunatics. In an effort to... [More]
Directed By: Breck Eisner

#14

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#14
Adjusted Score: 79378%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#13

The Road (2009)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 81876%
Critics Consensus: The Road's commitment to Cormac McCarthy's dark vision may prove too unyielding for some, but the film benefits from hauntingly powerful performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi McPhee.
Synopsis: America is a grim, gray shadow of itself after a catastrophe. A man (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi... [More]
Directed By: John Hillcoat

#12

Land of the Dead (2005)
74%

#12
Adjusted Score: 81000%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
Synopsis: In a world where zombies form the majority of the population, the remaining humans build a feudal society away from... [More]
Directed By: George Romero

#11

Psychokinesis (2018)
80%

#11
Adjusted Score: 51407%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A father with newly acquired superpowers sets out to help his estranged daughter before she loses everything.... [More]
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 87956%
Critics Consensus: The Night Eats the World finds a few unexplored corners in the crowded zombie genre, with a refreshing emphasis on atmosphere and character development.
Synopsis: After waking up in an apartment the night after a raging party, Sam comes face to face with his new... [More]
Directed By: Dominique Rocher

#9
Adjusted Score: 94049%
Critics Consensus: The Girl with All the Gifts grapples with thought-provoking questions without skimping on the scares -- and finds a few fresh wrinkles in the well-worn zombie horror genre along the way.
Synopsis: In the future, a strange fungus has changed nearly everyone into a thoughtless, flesh-eating monster. When a scientist and a... [More]
Directed By: Colm McCarthy

#8

The Ravenous (2017)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 88120%
Critics Consensus: Uncommonly restrained for a movie about a flesh-eating menace, Ravenous offers a satisfyingly nuanced entry in the crowded zombie apocalypse subgenre.
Synopsis: A village in Quebec is terrorized by a flesh-eating plague.... [More]
Directed By: Robin Aubert

#7

Rec (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 89819%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 34119%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Michael (Michael Fuith) and Anna (Anna Graczyk) barricade themselves in an apartment when a zombie plague rips through Berlin.... [More]
Directed By: Marvin Kren

#5

I Am a Hero (2015)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 64998%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man witnesses a fatal traffic accident on his way home from work, and the victim is clearly killed on... [More]
Directed By: Shinsuke Sato

#4

Children of Men (2006)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101478%
Critics Consensus: Children of Men works on every level: as a violent chase thriller, a fantastical cautionary tale, and a sophisticated human drama about societies struggling to live.
Synopsis: When infertility threatens mankind with extinction and the last child born has perished, a disillusioned bureaucrat (Clive Owen) becomes the... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#3

Snowpiercer (2013)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 104212%
Critics Consensus: Snowpiercer offers an audaciously ambitious action spectacular for filmgoers numb to effects-driven blockbusters.
Synopsis: A post-apocalyptic ice age forces humanity's last survivors aboard a globe-spanning supertrain. One man (Chris Evans) will risk everything to... [More]
Directed By: Bong Joon-ho

#2

The Wailing (2016)
99%

#2
Adjusted Score: 102586%
Critics Consensus: The Wailing delivers an atmospheric, cleverly constructed mystery whose supernatural thrills more than justify its imposing length.
Synopsis: Suspicion leads to hysteria when rural villagers link a series of brutal murders to the arrival of a mysterious stranger... [More]
Directed By: Na Hong-jin

#1

Seoul Station (2016)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 100806%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling and relentless from start to finish, Yeon Sang-ho's Seoul Station is a layered and vicious entry into the zombie genre.
Synopsis: A man desperately searches for his runaway daughter as the government struggles to shut down the area around a zombie... [More]
Directed By: Yeon Sang-ho

Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment

(Photo by Michael Gibson/STX Entertainment)

All Idris Elba Movies Ranked

To some fans, Idris Elba will forever be Stringer Bell from The Wire. To others, he’ll always be best remembered as John Luther. For still others, he’s the guy who gave us the Heimdall of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or — and this is admittedly a much smaller subset — finally brought gunslinger Roland Deschain to the big screen in the long-gestating adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. All of which is to say that Mr. Elba’s done a lot in his impressive career, and by all appearances, he’s still just getting started: even if those persistent rumors about him taking over the James Bond franchise never pan out, he’s got plenty of projects lined up to add to an eclectic filmography that already includes some of the more popular and widely acclaimed TV and film releases in recent memory, including an original character in The Suicide Squad. And now we’re ranking all Idris Elba movies by Tomatometer!

#37

Prom Night (2008)
7%

#37
Adjusted Score: 9002%
Critics Consensus: A dim and predictable remake of an already dull slasher film, this Prom Night fails to be memorable.
Synopsis: When a deranged high-school teacher kills the family of the girl, Donna, that he loves, in a disturbed attempt to... [More]
Directed By: Nelson McCormick

#36

The Reaping (2007)
8%

#36
Adjusted Score: 13415%
Critics Consensus: It may feature such accomplished actors as Hilary Swank and Stephen Rea, but The Reaping also boasts the apropos tagline "What hath God wrought?" It's schlocky, spiritually shallow, and scare-free.
Synopsis: Katherine Morrissey (Hilary Swank), a former Christian missionary, lost her faith after the tragic deaths of her family. Now she... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

#35

The Unborn (2009)
10%

#35
Adjusted Score: 14407%
Critics Consensus: David Goyer's Unborn is a tame genre effort with cheap thrills and scares that border on silliness.
Synopsis: Plagued by nightmares and visitations from tortured ghosts, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) turns to a spiritual adviser named Sendak (Gary... [More]
Directed By: David S. Goyer

#34

No Good Deed (2014)
12%

#34
Adjusted Score: 13677%
Critics Consensus: Dull, derivative, and generally uninspired, No Good Deed wastes its stars' talents -- and the audience's time.
Synopsis: An unsuspecting Atlanta woman (Taraji P. Henson) lets in a charming stranger (Idris Elba) to use her phone and soon... [More]
Directed By: Sam Miller

#33

The Dark Tower (2017)
16%

#33
Adjusted Score: 35747%
Critics Consensus: Go then, there are other Stephen King adaptations than these.
Synopsis: Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known... [More]
Directed By: Nikolaj Arcel

#32

The Gunman (2015)
16%

#32
Adjusted Score: 23114%
Critics Consensus: With an uninspired plot and rote set pieces that are overshadowed by its star's physique, The Gunman proves a muddled misfire in the rapidly aging Over-50 Action Hero genre.
Synopsis: Eight years after fleeing the Congo following his assassination of that country's minister of mining, former assassin Jim Terrier (Sean... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Morel

#31
Adjusted Score: 21368%
Critics Consensus: With a weak script, uneven CG work, and a Nic Cage performance so predictably loony it's no longer amusing, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance aims to be trashy fun but ends up as plain trash.
Synopsis: Now hiding out in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still struggling with the curse of the Ghost Rider... [More]

#30

Obsessed (2009)
19%

#30
Adjusted Score: 21096%
Critics Consensus: The inevitable Fatal Attraction comparisons aside, Obsessed is a generic, toothless thriller both instantly predictable and instantly forgettable.
Synopsis: Things couldn't be better for Derek Charles (Idris Elba). He's just received a big promotion at work, and has a... [More]
Directed By: Steve Shill

#29

Cats (2019)
19%

#29
Adjusted Score: 39532%
Critics Consensus: Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.
Synopsis: A tribe of cats must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a... [More]
Directed By: Tom Hooper

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 26584%
Critics Consensus: Daddy's Little Girls boasts fine performances and a poignant message, but is ultimately let down by amateurish filmmaking.
Synopsis: Monty (Idris Elba), a mechanic, struggles to make ends meet and raise his three young daughters alone. When his drug-dealing... [More]
Directed By: Tyler Perry

#27

Takers (2010)
28%

#27
Adjusted Score: 30881%
Critics Consensus: Takers boasts some gripping set pieces and keeps things moving quickly, but its two-dimensional characters, clichéd script, and brazenly derivative plot make it hard to recommend.
Synopsis: Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba) and his friends enjoy a luxurious lifestyle funded by bank robberies, and they avoid capture by... [More]
Directed By: John Luessenhop

#26

The Gospel (2005)

#26
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While he was once on the way to becoming a minister, David Taylor (Boris Kodjoe) instead chose to become a... [More]
Directed By: Rob Hardy

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 50739%
Critics Consensus: The Mountain Between Us may be too far-fetched for some viewers to appreciate, but it's elevated by reliably engaging performances from Idris Elba and Kate Winslet.
Synopsis: Stranded on a mountain after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must work together to endure the extreme elements of... [More]
Directed By: Hany Abu-Assad

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 43062%
Critics Consensus: 100 Streets strands its talented cast - led by a clearly overqualified Idris Elba - in the midst of a well-meaning but fatally contrived drama.
Synopsis: Three different stories covering infidelity, adoption and a drug dealer turned actor are intertwined as characters meet in the streets... [More]
Directed By: Jim O'Hanlon

#23

Bastille Day (2016)
48%

#23
Adjusted Score: 51321%
Critics Consensus: Bastille Day proves Idris Elba is an action hero in waiting -- specifically, waiting for a script that deserves his talents.
Synopsis: A rogue CIA agent (Idris Elba) forms an unlikely partnership with a pickpocket (Richard Madden) to stop a terrorist conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: James Watkins

#22

The Losers (2010)
48%

#22
Adjusted Score: 54141%
Critics Consensus: The Losers is loud, fast, and unrelentingly violent -- but it's also funny and well-acted, which will make all the difference for some action fans.
Synopsis: On a mission deep in the Bolivian jungle, a team of elite commandos (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans) finds itself... [More]
Directed By: Sylvain White

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At holiday time, family matriarch Ma'Dere Whitfield (Loretta Devine) assembles her large brood for their first reunion in four years.... [More]

#20

RocknRolla (2008)
60%

#20
Adjusted Score: 64591%
Critics Consensus: Mixed reviews for Guy Ritchie's return to his London-based cockney wideboy gangster movie roots, but most agree, it's a step in the right direction following two major turkeys.
Synopsis: Old-school mobster Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) rules London's underworld with an iron fist and a score of well-greased palms. As... [More]
Directed By: Guy Ritchie

#19
Adjusted Score: 66448%
Critics Consensus: It might be too respectful to truly soar, but there's no denying Idris Elba's impressive work in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom -- or the inspirational power of the life it depicts.
Synopsis: The remarkable life of South African revolutionary, president and world icon Nelson Mandela (Idris Elba) takes center stage. Though he... [More]
Directed By: Justin Chadwick

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 77761%
Critics Consensus: It may not be the finest film to come from the Marvel Universe, but Thor: The Dark World still offers plenty of the humor and high-stakes action that fans have come to expect.
Synopsis: In ancient times, the gods of Asgard fought and won a war against an evil race known as the Dark... [More]
Directed By: Alan Taylor

#17
Adjusted Score: 88516%
Critics Consensus: Hobbs & Shaw doesn't rev as high as the franchise's best installments, but gets decent mileage out of its well-matched stars and over-the-top action sequences.
Synopsis: Brixton Lorr is a cybernetically enhanced soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#16

28 Weeks Later (2007)
71%

#16
Adjusted Score: 79378%
Critics Consensus: While 28 Weeks Later lacks the humanism that made 28 Days Later a classic, it's made up with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction.
Synopsis: Six months after the original epidemic, the rage virus has all but annihilated the population of the British Isles. Nevertheless... [More]

#15

Pacific Rim (2013)
72%

#15
Adjusted Score: 84164%
Critics Consensus: It may sport more style than substance, but Pacific Rim is a solid modern creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun.
Synopsis: Long ago, legions of monstrous creatures called Kaiju arose from the sea, bringing with them all-consuming war. To fight the... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#14

Prometheus (2012)
73%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86503%
Critics Consensus: Ridley Scott's ambitious quasi-prequel to Alien may not answer all of its big questions, but it's redeemed by its haunting visual grandeur and compelling performances -- particularly Michael Fassbender as a fastidious android.
Synopsis: The discovery of a clue to mankind's origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 90810%
Critics Consensus: Exuberant and eye-popping, Avengers: Age of Ultron serves as an overstuffed but mostly satisfying sequel, reuniting its predecessor's unwieldy cast with a few new additions and a worthy foe.
Synopsis: When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jump-starts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go terribly awry, forcing him, Thor (Chris Hemsworth),... [More]
Directed By: Joss Whedon

#12

Second Coming (2014)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 77463%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unexplained pregnancy forces a husband to doubt his wife's faithfulness.... [More]
Directed By: Debbie Tucker Green

#11

Thor (2011)
77%

#11
Adjusted Score: 87536%
Critics Consensus: A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.
Synopsis: As the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of the Norse gods, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will soon inherit the throne... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 89289%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) earns his living as a chauffeur to one of Harlem's leading mobsters. After his boss dies,... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#9

Molly's Game (2017)
82%

#9
Adjusted Score: 99853%
Critics Consensus: Powered by an intriguing story and a pair of outstanding performances from Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, Molly's Game marks a solid debut for writer-director Aaron Sorkin.
Synopsis: The true story of Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game... [More]
Directed By: Aaron Sorkin

#8

Legacy (2010)
86%

#8
Adjusted Score: 25256%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A former soldier (Idris Elba), who was once captured and tortured during a mission, has a mental breakdown while holed... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Ikimi

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 114161%
Critics Consensus: Avengers: Infinity War ably juggles a dizzying array of MCU heroes in the fight against their gravest threat yet, and the result is a thrilling, emotionally resonant blockbuster that (mostly) realizes its gargantuan ambitions.
Synopsis: Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet --... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

#6

Star Trek Beyond (2016)
86%

#6
Adjusted Score: 105811%
Critics Consensus: Star Trek Beyond continues the franchise's post-reboot hot streak with an epic sci-fi adventure that honors the series' sci-fi roots without skimping on the blockbuster action.
Synopsis: A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall... [More]
Directed By: Justin Lin

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 101462%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of No Nation finds writer-director Cary Fukunaga working with a talented cast to offer a sobering, uncompromising, yet still somehow hopeful picture of war's human cost.
Synopsis: As civil war rages in Africa, a fierce warlord (Idris Elba) trains a young orphan (Abraham Attah) to join his... [More]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga

#4

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 126308%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, funny, and above all fun, Thor: Ragnarok is a colorful cosmic adventure that sets a new standard for its franchise -- and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Synopsis: Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits... [More]
Directed By: Taika Waititi

#3

Finding Dory (2016)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 115473%
Critics Consensus: Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor's classic story.
Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#2

The Jungle Book (2016)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114744%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors -- all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Synopsis: Raised by a family of wolves since birth, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) must leave the only home he's ever known when... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

#1

Zootopia (2016)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 115816%
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation -- all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live... [More]
Directed By: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

Director Ari Aster unleashes Midsommar this week, his follow-up to breakout debut Hereditary, the family shocker made very much in the horror tradition of dark corners, black nights, and creeping shadows to conjure up scares. Midsommar, set in remote Sweden during a flower-dressed festival, is designed as an anomaly: A gruesome horror movie that allows all its gore and brutality to curdle in open, bright daylight. There’s no hiding away in this one, folks, inspiring us to offer up our own selection of the 11 scariest scenes where the blood shines bright as the sun.


11. Pinbacker Attacks in Sunshine (2007) 77%

(Photo by Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Here’s a movie that turns up the heat — literally — as a space crew treks with a nuclear payload to reignite our dying sun. A monumental task for those onboard the Icarus II, but the real danger takes on a more human face when they encounter the derelict Icarus I, which disappeared on the same mission seven years earlier. Sunshine morphs into a sun-bright slasher in its third act, a contrast to the earlier somber psychological tone, but director Danny Boyle tackles the shift with zest, challenging himself to pull the knife out of shadows and into retina-searing white light.


10. The Finale in Session 9 (2001) 66%

A condemned asylum. Inside: clattering chains, disturbed wheelchairs, and crumbling wards. A group of people enter to clean up the place, some who harbor dark histories. Sound like a set up for classic dark and stormy Gothic tale? Not so with Session 9. What kind of clean up crew would work at night? Come on, this is a horror movie: Logic is king here. A slow atmospheric burn with minimal gore until its final minutes, but even when things go to hell, the blood is bathed in New England sun.


9. Freddy’s Coming For You in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%


Time for a victory lap: Hop into the convertible on this bright school morning having vanquished the tormentor of fatal dreams, turn around and wave goodbye to your mom standing on the porch. Suddenly, the top slams down and the car peels down the street, as mama is sucked through the front door window. The nightmare has only just begun. The original Friday the 13th‘s Jason Voorhees made the last-second jump scare a mandatory inclusion for ’80s slashers and beyond. Freddy Krueger may have perfected it.


8. Michael Myers Stalking in Halloween (1978) 96%


John Carpenter’s classic did a lot of things right. Gave us a classic creepy synth score. Destroyed suburbia’s manicured image as a stronghold of safety and comfort. And it rolled out the red carpet to let masked killer Michael Myers to wander and stalk his prey in broad daylight. The shot of Myers staring up at you from among the billowing laundry sheets hung to dry in the yard remains an iconic and violating image.


7. The Day After in The Hills Have Eyes (2006) 52%


The Carter family is subjected to a litany of brutal terror over the course of 24 hours. During the initial day, they’re led off-road and their car gets mangled in the desert. The family separates in search for help. A dog gets gutted. The gas station attendant commits suicide. And always mutants are watching them from afar in the brush and rocks, leading to a long night of crucifixions, immolation, rape, murder, and baby-snatching. And then the next day, the cannibals feast on sun-cooked flesh. It’s a torturous chain of events that transforms the remaining Carters into out-for-blood hunters in a highly questionable, deeply satisfying revenge ending.


6. Randy’s Death in Scream 2 (1997) 81%


You knew director Wes Craven wasn’t fooling around when he killed off know-it-all cinebuff Randy, portrayed by Jamie Kennedy as someone as smart and cynical as the audience. How could he have fallen for the afternoon masked killer in the local news van with noisy nearby breakdancers? Oldest trick in the book! But it’s also series’ most shocking homicide outside of Drew Barrymore’s, the one that tells the oh-so-smart audience that no one was truly safe. The Arquettes, Courteney and David as Gale and Dewey, frantically search for the killer in the college square by accosting students with their new-fangled mobile phones, presenting on screen when awful taunting calls escaped the constraints of landlines and curly cords, and into a new world of free-roaming terror.


5. The Ceremony in The Wicker Man (1973) 88%

Midsommar owes a blood debt to this provincial classic: the unsettling tale of an uptight Christian cop investigating a young girl’s disappearance on an island of decadent mystic pagans has thematic and visual parallels to Aster’s film. Likewise, nearly the entire movie is set during the day among verdant nature and maypole celebrations and foreshadowing musical rhymes that seem to follow the officer everywhere he goes. It’s far too late when he realizes the true nature of his work, leading to a fiery climax in the friscalating dusk light.


4. The Premonition in Final Destination 2 (2003) 48%

Some of the best horror wedges its way into the normal, degrading the routine and humdrum into a morass of paranoia and fear. Final Destination 2 does that with the daily morning commute, because what could be more humdrum than getting in our 1,000 lb. metal husks every day, navigating them manually down the road as cars careen towards us in the opposite direction separated only by capriciously painted lines on the ground? Suddenly, something as innocent as a flatbed of loose tree logs becomes a rolling thunder revue of broken windshield, splattered heads, and Michael Bay–style auto explosions.


3. The Opening Chase in 28 Weeks Later (2007) 71%

28 Days Later‘s famous opening features calm shots of the hero wandering an empty London metropolis depopulated by zombies — moments we would consider eerie, almost beautiful, but not scary. 28 Weeks Later takes the opposite approach. It’s set in the countryside, as a band of infected descend upon defenseless survivors. The camera is in your face, the footage choppy and frantically (but not confusingly) edited, save for a gliding crane shot as our new “hero” flees across the field and towards a waiting river boat. The fact that he just abandoned his wife to the zombies moments earlier contribute to the gut-punching bleakness of the situation. Now that we consider scary.


2. Leatherface Appears in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

Like a rusty chainsaw, Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece takes a moment to rev up. But once it gets going, the movie is relentless, grinding down the viewer’s endurance up until the famous ending of Leatherface cutting the rising sun light in boiling anger. It’s a great final appearance, but his first introduction is even better. Hapless travelers, in search of gas for their thirsty boogie van, approach a piquant homestead, oblivious that its inhabitants are cannibal freaks who have no qualms doing their dirty deeds in daylight. Leatherface suddenly appears from out of a hallway, smashes his victim’s head in with a hammer as the body crumples and twitches on the ground, and then slides the slaughterhouse door shut. Looks like meat’s back on the menu, boys!


1. The Beach Attack in Jaws (1975) 98%


The scene that made a generation of filmgoers terrified of open water. It’s immaculately crafted pop horror and it still works today. Steven Spielberg uses a collage of beach crowd noise and throngs of people innocently rising to disorient the viewer, telling us to be just as alert as Roy Scheider’s police chief. Spielberg famously had to use every filmmaking tool he knew to overcome critical obstacles like a malfunctioning shark, and here heightens and stylizes reality as Jaws approaches the beach. A split diopter lens shot puts an obtrusive face and a possibly drowning distant swimmer in equal focus. A dog is discovered missing. We get that terrifying first-person viewpoint as Jaws picks his victim, and the incessant John Williams theme building on the soundtrack. Then a dolly zoom as terror dawns on Schieider’s face. A geyser of blood erupts out in the ocean as pure pandemonium breaks out, and a frantic mother loses her son. It’s a powerful scene in how powerless it makes a man of law feel against a force of nature.

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(Photo by © Universal, © Warner Bros., © Paramount, © Dimension Films)

Those who saw John Krasinski‘s A Quiet Place earlier this year surprised to hear that the director and his co-star and wife, Emily Blunt, recently told Rotten Tomatoes that Jaws is their favorite movie. Their new creature feature opens with a scene that shocks audiences in ways that echo the Spielberg film’s famous first scene, and even goes one step further, breaking one of the biggest rules of horror (and nope, we’re not saying which).

The scene was not in the original screenplay, say co-writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods; it was something Krasinski added himself in the rewrite phase. “I’ve got to give props to John for just being a crazy person,” says Beck. “I think he just really wanted, like, the opening of Jaws — let’s establish this monster right out the gate, and get really, really dark.” Woods adds: “You pull that on an audience and you instill this instinctual fear: These characters are fair game, so watch around every corner.”

Is it one of the scariest openings, ever, though? Time will tell — we need a few years and a lot of perspective to make those kinds of calls. For now, we at Rotten Tomatoes have voted on our favorite scary opening scenes up to now, and ranked them according to just how pinned-back-in-our seats we were the first time we saw them.


20. My Bloody Valentine (1981) 58%

(Photo by © Paramount)

This is Quentin Tarantino’s favorite slasher flick and it’s not hard to see why: It’s gruesome as hell. It’s set in a mining town, and the slasher wears a mining get-up and uses mining tools, which means a lot of inventive swinging pickaxes and nail-gun use (so much so that the MPAA had the filmmakers slice out 9 minutes of gore from the original cut). The opening is basic, over in barely two minutes, and may have suffered a touch because of those cuts. But its simplicity and directness is kind of the point: This film isn’t wasting any time, and it didn’t come to play.


19. Scream 2 (1997) 81%

How did director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson choose to up the ante on awesome openings in this sequel, which is actually slightly higher on the Tomatometer than the original? They showed us that original opening again, this time as a movie-within-the-movie (Stab!), starring Heather Graham as Casey Becker, who had been played in the original by Drew Barrymore. Confused? So is Jada Pinkett Smith’s Maureen, the actual victim of this super-meta opening. She just came out to see a dumb scary movie, and has no idea why her boyfriend has just stabbed her and the audience is doing absolutely nothing about it. Seriously, worst movie theater audience ever.


18. Final Destination (2000) 35%

(Photo by (c) New Line)

Movie rule #96: When a flight steward says it’s going to be fine, you can bet that it really, really isn’t. This opening set the standard for the rest of the Final Destination franchise, and was believed at the time to be inspired by the explosion of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. Like the flight shown in the movie, that real-life 747 was on its way to Paris and carrying high school kids when it blew up shortly after takeoff.


17. Final Destination 3 (2006) 44%

(Photo by (c) New Line)

It’s hard to pick the best of the Final Destination openings — replace plane with car with roller coaster and so on and they’re essentially the same — but the Rotten Tomatoes staff votes have the third installment, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, nudging out the others. This time we’re at an amusement park, and the latest set of unlucky teenagers is killed (or not) on a roller coaster. It’s brilliantly staged, zeroing in on virtually every “could it happen?” thought that runs through your mind when strapping into a fast-moving ride: Will the wheels come loose? What if my seat lock comes undone? The film’s Devil’s Flight roller coaster was actually a ride called the Corkscrew in Playland in Vancouver, which was made to look higher — and much deadlier — in post-production.


16. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

Nothing really happens in the opening few minutes of Tobe Hooper’s infamous low-budget 1974 horror flick, and yet rarely has a movie evoked so much dread so quickly. There’s that (rather long) text scroll, laying out the movie’s “maybe-based-on-a-true-story” credentials, and then those camera flashes, shocking us to life with grisly images of decomposing eyes and other bits and bobs. Finally, Hooper pans out to reveal a ghastly, barely-human sculpture sat upon a grave marker. Fun fact: The Narrator is none other than John Larroquette, who has said he was paid for his efforts with a marijuana joint.


15. 28 Weeks Later (2007) 71%

While 28 Days Later opens in an empty London, its sequel begins in a packed house somewhere in the countryside. We’re quickly introduced to the occupants, a sweet-seeming family and a Walking Dead-style crew of likable survivors. And then all hell breaks loose. It’s not just that director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo throws everything at the scene — “name” actors bite it, Scream-style, and kids are in no way off limits — that makes it such a gut punch. It’s the way the filmmakers upend expectations, particularly when it comes to our “hero”, played by Robert Carlyle. With each choice he makes, he reveals himself to be anything but a Rick Grimes. And frankly, when the dust settles, we’re leaning #TeamZombie.


14. Jeepers Creepers (2001) 46%

Did you know Victor Salva’s monster flick is based on a true story? Well, the opening scene, in which the Creeper gets into his truck to tail two kids who catch him dumping a victim, was inspired by one. In 1990, Ray and Marie Thornton were driving on a Michigan road when they spotted Dennis DePue dumping what looked like a body behind an abandoned schoolhouse (it turned out to be his wife). In their court testimony, the Thorntons said that DePue proceeded to follow them in his van for miles.


13. Stranger in the House (1974) 71%

(Photo by (c)Warner Bros.)

Scream and When A Stranger Calls may have horror-dom’s most famous problem callers, but Black Christmas’s pervy “moaner” is a close runner-up. The film’s opening sequence meanders a little, lurching from one cliché (stalker cam!) to another (hiding in the closet!), with detours into calls with mom and a bit of bathroom boozing. But when the sorority sisters circle around the phone to listen to the stalker — who goes from static-y groans to screechy vulgarities that we won’t repeat here — it’s as transfixing as it is disturbing.


12. The Stepfather (1987) 88%

(Photo by ©New Century Vista Film)

Sometimes seeing the aftermath of a horrible act can be even more terrifying than witnessing the act itself. The opening sequence of The Stepfather is a case in point. With each shot we’re given an awful little breadcrumb clue to what has just happened in this bland-looking suburban home. There’s the blood on Terry O’Quinn’s face. An out-of-place toy boat. A dial tone. And then… We won’t give it away. Director Joseph Ruben would go on to make more chillers in this vein — including Sleeping with the Enemy and The Good Sonbut none would come close to creating moments as chilling as The Stepfather’s (very) cold open.


11. Piranha (1978) 69%

(Photo by ©New Century Vista Film)

A couple decides to go skinny dipping at night and it ends badly thanks to something bite-y in the water. Sound familiar? There is a lot that sounds and looks familiar about this Roger Corman-produced answer to Spielberg’s Jaws. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun in its own right — and memorable. A bunch of the Rotten Tomatoes staff saw this one when they were kids, and the opening scene left a mark.


10. Ghost Ship (2002) 16%

(Photo by (c) Warner Bros.)

What’s worse than an iceberg — right ahead? A wire, right onboard. In the best part of this pretty mediocre movie, almost an entire ship’s worth of passengers is wiped out in one fell swoop when a wire snaps and slices across a dance floor packed with revelers. It takes the well-dressed folk a few seconds to realize they’ve all been cut in halves and quarters and thirds (depending on height), and when they do, the makeup department goes to work. Side note: The little girl who survives (she was just short enough to escape) is Emily Browning.


9. The Witch (2015) 90%

Robert Eggers’ unnerving opening plays on every parent’s — or babysitter’s — greatest fear: A child that vanishes the second you look away. Here, a game of peak-a-boo takes a dark turn when Thomasin’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) baby brother disappears and is then seen in the clutches of a witch. Said witch is then doing something to the baby that we can’t quite make out until… wait, is that a knife?


8. 28 Days Later (2002) 87%

How exactly did Danny Boyle film in a completely empty — and completely eerie — central London? He had some help from his then teenage daughter, it turns out. Boyle has explained that in lieu of traffic marshals and police, which he couldn’t afford, his daughter and her friends tried to hold back traffic during the seven early mornings over which they shot the sequence.


7. Carrie (1976) 93%

High school is terrifying, and rarely has it been as terrifying as in the opening sequence of Brian De Palma’s Carrie. The film is no conventional horror flick, and the scene is no conventional horror opening, but its mark is indelible: Just try to wipe the image of a screaming Sissy Spacek begging for help from your memory.


6. Dawn of the Dead (2004) 76%

Online snarks have said that Dawn of the Dead’s opening seven minutes were the peak of director Zack Snyder’s career. Frankly, they’d be the peak of most directors’ careers as far as we’re concerned. In the absolutely brutal sequence, Sarah Polley’s Ana wakes to discover her neighbor’s daughter is a ravenous zombie (the fast-moving 28 Days Later kind) who isn’t making any sort of distinctions between family and food. Eyes out for the “Here’s Johnny!” nod and ears out for the excellent use of Johnny Cash’s “When the Man Comes Around” over the killer credit sequence. [Editor’s note: This story originally said that Ana woke to find her own daughter was a zombie — we have corrected, and regret, the error.]


5. It Follows (2014) 96%

It Follows opens with an almost two-minute tracking shot that coldly observes a young girl running for her life on an idyllic suburban street. We eventually join her as she gets in her car and later find her next alone on a beach. Cut to… well, just watch it. There are no big scares or jumps or monsters in these few minutes. The key horror here is mystery: Why is she running? What is she running from? And what the hell did that to her?


4. Halloween (1978) 96%

(Photo by © Compass International Pictures)

John Carpenter told Rotten Tomatoes recently that you have two options for opening a horror film: “You can slow things down, lull people into a false sense of security, and then smack them in the face with it,” or “kick it into gear straight away — let’s go!” For 1978’s Halloween, he went with the latter approach, opening with a stalker-cam single shot that took him and his crew some eight hours to execute. Carpenter says he was inspired by long tracking shots in films like Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.


3. It (2017) 86%

Director Tommy Lee Wallace’s 1990 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s It doesn’t open with Georgie and Pennywise’s drain-side chat — it begins instead with the disappearance of a little girl and a memorably abandoned tricycle — but it does get to the scene eventually. When the moment does come, Wallace plays it TV safe: We see Tim Curry’s clown bearing his teeth and advancing on his victim before we cut to the next scene. Andy Muschietti takes the road less traveled in his treatment of the scene, which opens 2017’s It, showing Pennywise’s attack on poor Georgie in all of its gory glory. Yes, that’s a child getting his arm chomped off — and Muschietti isn’t letting us look away.


2. Scream (1996) 79%

Wes Craven’s big comeback film kicked off a slasher revival and gave the horror genre one of its most famous lines (“What’s your favorite scary movie?”). Most of that was thanks to the opening scene, penned by horror fanatic Kevin Williamson, which plays out like a mashup of Jeopardy and the last half hour of Halloween. It was always going to be a nerve-shattering ten minutes; what made it more than that was the casting of Ghostface’s first big target, Casey Becker. Craven said he wanted to have the film’s biggest star die straight out the gate, and had considered offering the role to Alicia Silverstone. But when Drew Barrymore, who was set to take the lead role, said she wanted to do the opening scene, the plan changed and Craven had his “No they didn’t!” moment.


1. Jaws (1975) 98%

It took a lot of innovating to pull what is arguably cinema’s most famous opening together: Actress and stuntwoman Susan Blacklinie had hooks attached to her Levi’s so that drivers could pull her to and fro to get that jerked-by-a-Great-White effect; Spielberg employed a devastatingly effective predator’s-eye view to put us inside the hungry mind of the shark; and John Williams’ score did the rest of the work. The scene was a direct lift from the opening pages of Peter Benchley’s bestselling book. In those pages, the reader — like Spielberg’s camera — mostly inhabits the perspective of the beast (the opening line reads, “The great fish moves silently through the night.”). On page, the opening scene is as brutal and mysterious an attack as on screen. “At first, the woman thought she had snagged her leg on a rock or a piece of floating wood,” writes Benchley. “There was no initial pain, only one violent tug on her right leg. She reached down to touch her foot, treading water with her left leg to keep her head up, feeling in the blackness with her left hand.” Then comes the kicker: “She could not find her foot.”


Which scary opening scene is your favorite? Don’t see it on the list? Are you about to write us an angry letter asking how in Samara’s name we could leave out The Ring? Save the postage, and let us know what you think in the comments. 

After a blockbuster detour with Furious 7, director James Wan returns to his horror roots for like the fifth time in his career with The Conjuring 2, which follows Conju-Uno‘s Ed and Lorraine Warren into their next really true scary case. The original 2013 film was a Certified Fresh smash for Wan and company, notable because it’s rare for horror movies to get Fresh Tomatometer scores, and even rarer for their franchise sequels. So the fact Conjuring 2 is drawing sorta the same praise as its predecessor…well, that inspires this week’s gallery: 24 best-reviewed horror sequels!

Sometimes they come back from the dead…again! And sometimes…they never come back at all. That’s what happened to the horror movies in this gallery: they never got the sequel they deserved, so we’re dreaming up our own. You’re welcome, Hollywood!


[Spoiler alert for the whole gallery!]


Neil Marshall

Just a few scenes into Doomsday and we know we’re watching the work of someone who adores post-apocalyptic films, with every scene littered with references to end-of-the-world classics from the 70s and 80s. And writer-director Neil Marshall readily admits that’s exactly what he was going for.

“Right from the start, I wanted my film to be an homage to these sorts of movies, and deliberately so,” he says. “I wanted to make a movie for a new generation of audience that hadn’t seen those movies in the cinema – hadn’t seen them at all maybe – and to give them the same thrill that I got from watching them. But kind of contemporise it, pump up the action and the blood and guts.”

This is a rather surprising shift for the filmmaker behind Dog Soldiers and The Descent, two claustrophobic thrillers that got deep into their characters’ heads. But Doomsday is a big, loud action movie, and Marshall reveals to RT readers the films that inspired him most…


The Road Warrior (1981)

The Road WarriorThe three Mad Max movies set the bar for this kind of movie, but for me personally it’s the second one. I do love the third one, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985); there are elements in it that are rubbish, but most of it’s pretty good. The first one, Mad Max (1979), has a great car chase at the start – a real jaw-dropper – and a pretty good one at the end, but the rest of it is quite slow. But with The Road Warrior, once the bondage gear comes out – the Mohawks and all that kind of stuff – it was like, “Wow, OK, we haven’t seen this before.” My thinking is that if you’re in the apocalypse and you survive, you’re going to choose to wear a leather jacket instead of a tweed suit. People are going to look like punks, because it looks cool!

The Road Warrior is so concise, beautifully written and beautifully directed. I love the use of cars and locations. And Mel Gibson is just so perfect in that role. He hardly says a word, but when he does speak, it counts. Like him, Rhona Mitra‘s character in my film, Eden Sinclair, is a police officer who has a history. So there’s another connection.


Doomsday


Escape from New York (1981)

The Road WarriorWhat a fantastic vision and idea, and certainly my film is a huge homage to this film, what with the concept of something being walled off and all the gang warfare. The anarchic spirit of that movie is definitely something I was going for. And of course Eden Sinclair has an obvious connection with Snake Plisken. It’s no accident that she wears an eyepatch in the film. But I said right from the start that if I was going to have her wear an eyepatch, I’d have a bloody good reason for that. So the eyepatch became a plot point, with the fake eye and the camera. And that also enabled us to have her not wear the eyepatch all the time. So that was fun.


Excalibur (1981)

ExcaliburThis isn’t a post-apocalyptic film, but it had that same ethos, and it’s one of the films that deeply inspired me when I first saw it. I think John Boorman did a wonderful job with the whole genre; no one has ever touched the artistry of it. I mean, compare it to King Arthur! Excalibur has that beautiful look about it – it’s so rich, and I wanted to tap into that a little bit. There’s just a kind of logic in that they’re living in this castle, and they’ve gone to a feudal society and have divided into tribes at war with each other. Scotland is full of these amazing fortresses, so what better place to hide out? They’re all museums as well, so they’re all going to be full of suits of armour and swords and stuff. Maybe go that way – you don’t need to find ammunition when you’ve got bows and arrows and other useful kit.

Doomsday


The Warriors (1979)

The WarriorsOne of my biggest inspirations is Walter Hill. He made these very tough, very violent adult action movies during that period. And The Warriors is just a classic example. It’s completely nuts – just the visual style of the gang warfare. When I first saw it I took it as being pretty literal, like this kind of stuff was going on in New York. And now of course he’s explained that it was very much an exaggeration and he sees it as a comic book movie. And I don’t see it that way at all. I love the idea of these crazy gangs roaming around New York – it’s scary but fun. But its world is New York at night, and it’s a brilliant depiction. And he did a similar kind of thing with Streets of Fire, another great movie. It’s not post-apocalyptic, but it’s certainly set in a nonspecific future world.


No Blade of Grass (1970)

It’s about a virus that wipes out all the crops in the UK, and there’s bikers roaming the countryside, somebody trying to make their way up north, and they end up hiding in a country house full of soldiers – just like in 28 Days Later. And it was made more than 10 years before Mad Max. I think 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later are great movies, but they’re very straight-faced, and I wanted to make mine a lot of fun. It’s not to be taken seriously, really.

Doomsday


The Omega Man (1971)

My generation’s version of the whole empty city thing. It’s a subgenre that I really like. This generation has had 28 Days Later and I Am Legend. But I prefer the gritty, darker side of it.

Doomsday


A Boy and His Dog (1975)

I like the world of it, and that sort of sun-scorched look. And I just loved the relationship between Don Johnson and his dog, and then at the end when they eat the girl – one of the best endings ever. I think that’s kind of where the whole Sean Pertwee sequence in my film comes from – the cannibalism idea.


Waterworld (1995)

I just love that gritty thing, with everyone just scavenging to survive, and how they’ve adapted to the future world. Although some of those things don’t really go there enough.

Doomsday


Gladiator (2000)

I think Ridley Scott gave us the most amazing spectacle put on screen in years. It’s brutal and giant. And it’s what my film is about – trial by combat. I wanted to put Eden Sinclair through that, and she’s not supposed to survive it. And I just liked the idea of this little woman facing off against this seven-foot knight in armour and managing to outwit him. She’s not stronger than him, but she outsmarts him, and I thought that was a lot of fun.

Doomsday


Children of Men (2006)

An excellent movie. But it was kind of frustrating that it came out during the course of making this film. Oh great, let’s do a version of post-apocalyptic London after they do it, and they had something like a $130m budget. So we knew we were going to have to make ours more bloody and more fun.

 

Competition, or a lack of it, will be the deciding factor at the North American box office this weekend for the half-dozen new releases that studios are packing into already overcrowded multiplexes. Leading the way is the horror film 30 Days of Night followed by the sports comedy The Comebacks which both will be targeting the teens and young adults that Hollywood has been ignoring in recent weeks. Mature adults who already have a wide selection of serious dramas to choose from will be served up three more – Reese Witherspoon‘s Rendition, Ben Affleck‘s Gone Baby Gone, and Halle Berry‘s Things We Lost in the Fire. With far too many films aiming for the same finite audience segment, some are sure to eat into the potential of others.

Sony will monopolize the horror crowd looking for a scare before Halloween with its gorefest 30 Days of Night which tells of vampires that attack a small town in northern Alaska during its annual sunless period. The R-rated film prominently informs moviegoers in its marketing that it is based on a graphic novel hoping to tap into a little bit of the excitement generated by 300 last spring. The first eight months of this year were brutal to R-rated horror films with none reaching number one and high-profile franchise flicks like Hostel II, 28 Weeks Later, and The Hills Have Eyes 2 all failing to reach $10M on opening weekend. But the Halloween remake over Labor Day weekend changed all that and was followed three weeks later by another top spot debut from horror-action hybrid Resident Evil: Extinction. But those have died out so 30 Days stands as the only creepfest at a time when scary movies are in demand. Attacking 2,700 theaters, 30 Days of Night should easily top the charts and could bite into around $19M over the weekend.


30 Days of Night

Fox spoofs the world of sports films with its new comedy The Comebacks which will target adolescents either too young for 30 Days or uninterested in scary movies. With so many mature stories hogging up screens, the market can certainly use a dose of immature humor right about now. The Comebacks is the first viable PG-13 comedy aimed at teens since fellow sports comedy Balls of Fury launched at the end of August. After a mid-week debut, that pic bowed to $11.4M over three days and Comebacks will play to many of the same folks. And with seventeen R-rated films opening wide over the last eight weeks, there has been little to celebrate for the under-17 crowd. Sure The Comebacks looks dumb, but dumb can sell. Add in a trim running time of under 90 minutes and commercial prospects are not bad. This is disposable entertainment for 14-year-olds. It will draw attention upfront, and be forgotten two weeks from now. Thanks to a lack of direct competition, The Comebacks could debut with about $11M from 2,800 sites.


The Comebacks

Leading the charge for the 30-plus crowd this weekend is Reese Witherspoon who headlines the political thriller Rendition from New Line. The R-rated drama finds the Oscar winner playing a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is captured by the CIA after being suspected of being a terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep add to the cast. Rendition follows The Kingdom and In the Valley of Elah as military-themed films this fall with connections to the Middle East. Audiences will want only so much of this content. Witherspoon will have her starpower put to the test since she is the only major commercial star here and she is outside of her safety zone of romantic comedies. The film will play to mature adults and will have to compete not only with this weekend’s other new dramas, but also with an assortment of holdovers already playing to the same audience. Reviews have been mixed which will also make things difficult. Debuting in roughly 2,200 locations, Rendition may capture about $9M over the Friday-to-Sunday period.


Reese Witherspoon and Peter Sarsgaard in Rendition

Ben Affleck makes his directorial debut with the crime thriller Gone Baby Gone which stars his brother Casey in the lead role. The Miramax release also stars Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan and carries a R rating. Reviews have been good which will come as a shocker to those that look at this movie as nothing more than Daredevil getting to hop into the director’s chair. Reese, Joaquin, George, Cate, and Halle will all be cutting into the adult pie which can only expand by a certain amount. The marketing push has been highlighting the film as being from the author of Mystic River in hopes of finding those who loved that other Boston-set fall crime drama. An invite to the top five may not arrive for Ben. Opening in approximately 1,500 theaters, Gone Baby Gone could collect about $6M this weekend.


Freeman, Affleck and Monaghan in Gone Baby Gone
Yet another new option for adults looking for serious fare is the Halle BerryBenicio Del Toro starrer Things We Lost in the Fire. The Paramount release about a widow who seeks comfort from her dead husband’s drug-addicted friend will play to a mature audience and skew more female. The R-rated film has generated some good early reviews and both leads have Oscars on their shelves, but it will not be enough to compete with the other films targeting the same crowd. Berry showed in April that she can only open a picture so much when her thriller Perfect Stranger bowed to a $4,211 average even though A-lister Bruce Willis co-starred. With a not-so-wide release in about 1,000 theaters this weekend, Things We Lost in the Fire might debut with around $3M.


Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro in Things We Lost in the Fire

Freestyle Releasing has booked the few remaining empty screens out there for its teen thriller Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour. As one of the only PG-rated suspense pics ever made, the film will try to attract younger teenagers not interested in sports-themed comedies. With only 1,100 theaters, a quiet marketing campaign, no stars, and zero buzz, a weak debut of about $1M could result.


Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour

After a potent number one debut, Tyler Perry‘s hit comedy Why Did I Get Married? should suffer a big fall in its second weekend if history is any indicator. Sophomore drops for the filmmaker’s previous offerings include 50% for Diary of a Mad Black Woman, 58% for Madea’s Family Reunion, and 57% for Daddy’s Little Girls. Lionsgate should see a 50% fall to about $10M this weekend giving the ensemble relationship tale $37M in ten days.

Disney’s The Game Plan once again has no new competition for the kiddie audience. Why studios have programmed so many serious adult dramas into this month and no other good family films is anyone’s guess. A 35% dip would leave The Rock with $7M and an impressive cume of $68M after 24 days.

Both Sony’s We Own the Night and the Warner Bros. thriller Michael Clayton will have to fight extra hard in order to compete with the new releases gunning for their customers. Night looks to slide more and fall by 45% while the strongly reviewed Clayton could ease by 40% with both films grossing roughly $6M over the weekend. That would lead to ten-day totals of $20M and $21M, respectively.

LAST YEAR: Just two months after the release of the similarly-themed magician pic The Illusionist, Buena Vista still managed to score a number one bow for The Prestige which opened with $14.8M on its way to $53.1M. Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed enjoyed a strong hold and ranked second with $13.5M in its third frame. Debuting in third was Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers with $10.2M leading to a disappointing $33.6M final for Paramount. Sony’s animated hit Open Season ranked fourth with $8.2M. Rounding out the top five was rival family film Flicka with $7.7M for Fox on its way to only $21M. Also premiering in the top ten was Sony’s Marie Antoinette with $5.4M which led to a final tally of just $16M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Horror fans are in luck, since a
number of new DVD releases this week (
28 Weeks Later,
Black Sheep
) offer
critically acclaimed
thrills and chills — and we know how rarely that
happens. Thankfully, we’ve also got new fare for the kiddies (
Surf’s Up), the indie-minded (Reign Over Me,
12:08
East of Bucharest
), and reality TV-loving
couch potatoes (
Meerkat
Manor
!).



28 Weeks Later

Tomatometer:
71%

In this sequel to
Danny Boyle‘s
breakout hit, 28 Days Later, the Rage Virus has been contained in Britain — or
has it? Director
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo does a decent job building atmosphere
and thrills, even if Weeks falls short of the modern-classic achievement of its
predecessor. The disc is loaded with featurettes, including director commentary
for the film and two deleted scenes and multiple making-of videos.

 



Reign Over Me

Tomatometer: 63%

Adam Sandler fans who’ve been
tracking the former SNLer’s career departures into drama (like the excellent
Punch-Drunk Love) should take note of this character-driven
piece from
writer-director Mike Binder. Charlie (Sandler) and Alan (Don Cheadle) are former
friends who reconnect in New York City five years after the 9/11 attacks, in
which Charlie lost his family — a tragedy that has turned him into a shell of
his former self. The bonus menu features an unusual treat: a jam session between
the two stars.

 



Surf’s Up

Tomatometer: 77%


Featuring the vocal talents of
Shia LaBeouf,
Jeff Bridges, and
Zooey Deschanel, this animated pic about a
talking penguin — one who lives to surf, not to tap-dance — scored pretty well
with the critics for top notch visuals and charming mockumentary style. The DVD
release is packed with behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a nice glimpse
into the recording studio, where cast members were encouraged to interact with
each other. Sony’s also been generous with interactive games for the kiddies and
animation instructionals for the nerds, so there really is something for
everyone.

 



Black Sheep

Tomatometer: 71%

Seeing as New Zealand’s most
famous filmmaker (Peter Jackson) started his career with gross-out comic gore
(Bad Taste), it’s appropriate that his fellow countryman
Jonathan King follow
suit with this tale of bloodthirsty mutant sheep run amok. (Special effects
courtesy of Jackson’s WETA Workshop.) With a tagline like “Get ready for the
Violence of the Lambs,” who can resist?

 


Other Safe Bets

12:08
East of Bucharest

Tomatometer: 97%

16 years after the Romanian
Revolution of 1989, a local television station gathers guests to revisit the
historic moment when their city hosted a key protest so many years ago. But did
it really happen? This overwhelmingly critic-approved import earned the Camera
d’Or at Cannes — worth your time if you don’t mind the subtitles.

 

You
Kill Me

Tomatometer: 77%

Ben Kingsley stars as an
alcoholic hitman sent to dry out in San Francisco by the mafia, where he gets a
job at a mortuary and goes to AA meetings.
Tea Leoni co-stars, with direction by
John Dahl (Rounders).  

Poltergeist:
25th Anniversary Edition

Tomatometer: 84%

Rebuffed for its quarter
century anniversary,
Tobe Hooper‘s 1982 suburban horror classic is back looking
quite nice thanks to a new anamorphic transfer. That said, Poltergeist fans,
beware: besides a single two-part documentary (They Are Here: The Real World of
Poltergeist Revealed
) featuring paranormal experts and cast and crewmembers,
the disc is conspicuously free of bonus features.

Meerkat
Manor: Season One

Tomatometer: N/A


Danger, incest, and intrigue — daytime television’s got nothing on a day in the
life of a meerkat. The Animal Planet show, narrated stateside by
Sean “Samwise Gamgee” Astin, has been tracking the lives and loves of the Whiskers clan in the
Kalahari Desert for three seasons.  Season one brings us back to the beginning,
when family matriarch Flower ruled her roost with an iron paw, evicting her own
daughter Mozart for getting pregnant and leading the Whisker’s first turf wars
against rival gang the Lazuli.

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Evan
Almighty

Tomatometer: 24%

This sequel to the
Jim Carrey
hit was one of the most notorious flops of the year, mostly because an estimated
$175 million budget made it the costliest comedy film ever. So if you were one
of those "I’ll wait for DVD" types, now’s your chance to see
Steve Carell‘s turn
as a modern-day Noah figure. Or you can wait for cable TV.

Rise:
Blood Hunter

Tomatometer: 40%

Lucy Liu stars as a recently
undead reporter who vows revenge on the vampires who killed her. With a 121
minute runtime, this one’s better off dead last on your rental list — unless
you’ve already seen the week’s more worthy horror releases and are still hungry
for gore.

 

Until next week, happy renting!

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