UK’s Best Zombie Movies, Ranked | Pretty Reel

Following news that a 28 Months Later movie may finally be coming, we’re taking a look at the UK’s best horror movies in the zombie subgenre. After the quick succession of 28 Days Later in 2002, followed just under two years later by Shaun of the Dead, the UK has become the go-to place for the zombie apocalypse on the big screen.

Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead coined the term “zom-com” and apparently the horror-comedy genre was back in vogue for its cheapness and ease with the like-minded British film industry. Copiers came and went, now stuck in the straight-to-DVD bargain bins of your local ASDA, but the zombie movement of the 2000s in England and the UK will not be forgotten for its effect on the industry. Here are some of the best.

9/9 Cockneys vs. Zombies (2012)

Productions in the limelight

A fun who’s who of British acting royalty must fight for their lives across east London in Cockneys vs Zombies. A bank robbery goes wrong (it always does!) when the robbery is interrupted by the undead. Sporadically very funny – of a baby zombie being kicked and a sight gag on a fake mustache – Cockneys Vs Zombies is an example of a great idea done perfectly well. Writer James Moran’s Severance from 2006 is better, however.

8/9 The Zombie Plague (1966)

Hammer Movies

It was apparently the only foray into the zombie genre from major studio Hammer Films – and even then, it’s incredibly brief. An unknown plague has a village in Cornwall, England, under its spell, with residents dying at a rapid rate. The local doctor sends for help, bringing a stranger to the village. Now rather dated and with a slow-paced snail’s pace, it feels a bit like Coronation Street has zombies in it, with its Cornish decor and Scooby-Doo-like designs. However, the movie’s big zombie intro is a cracker, and like all of Hammer’s horrors, it looks pretty good.

7/9 Kennel (2009)

Sony Pictures

In this now possibly dated concept, the tiny village of Moodley in the middle of nowhere suffers from a zombie plague that has only infected the female sector of the population. Leaving for a weekend between guys, several boys are killed one after the other by the opposite sex. With some truly brilliant and wicked kills, Doghouse is fun with a brilliantly cast English cast in Stephen Graham (Boiling Point, Peaky Blinders) and Danny Dyer (Human Traffic). Solid low-budget British cinema shows up in this tacky zom-com.

6/9 Outpost (2008)

Black camel pictures

While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly whether these undead Nazis are actually zombies, ghosts, ghouls, or anything else, Outpost is a blast nonetheless. Stuck in a fox hole, a troop of British soldiers must survive the night against all sorts of evils of World War II. Severe and brutal, think Dog Soldiers but with zombies and you’re on your way. Need more? Discover Dead Snow in Sweden.

5/9 The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)


Though this one suffers from the worst use of zombie slang (they’re called “hungry,” and it’s awful every time it’s said), The Girl with All the Gifts is truly one of most assured movies on this list. A collective of children are studied to see why the zombie virus only affects them in the face of humans. After a slow start, The Girl with All the Gifts really kicks things up a notch with hundreds of zombie-supporting artists storming a military base in what looks like an English remake of the ultra dark Day of the Dead. (1985) by Romero. This is another example of having a fantastic cast, not feeling at all that the material is beneath them. Glenn Close is (obviously) superb as a mad scientist. While it’s arguably the best looking movie on this list, be prepared for very pessimistic viewing right off the bat.

4/9 28 Weeks Later (2007)

British Film Council

In the sequel to Danny Boyle’s now modern classic, 28 Weeks Later manages to up the ante in every way. Tripling the original’s paltry £5m budget to £15m (still relatively small but well-spent), with truly impressive tension throughout this unrelated follow-up to a family separated by chaos. If the original film was Alien, this is the action-packed follow-up in Aliens. Idris Elba and Jeremy Renner both star in this underrated sequel, and there’s talk of a much-deserved third film.

3/9 Dead Set (2008)

Endemol Shine United Kingdom

Dead Set was released over several nights on Channel 4 in 2008, but the DVD has collected the episodes into one big feature and it’s so good we’re counting it here. Before Black Mirror, writer Charlie Brooker made this satirical look at a group of survivors trapped in Big Brother’s house during the apocalypse. Naturally, the egos on display are grotesque and the satire itself is rather heavy, but the premise is so much fun and the violence so gory. As is also done via Channel 4, the attention to detail in being able to use the real Big Brother set from the same channel really makes this one scary.

This cast is also packed, with Riz Ahmed (The Sound of Metal, Venom) and Jackie Winstone featured throughout, and Andy Nyman showing why he’s one of the best working actors in the UK right now. Get ready for a gory, funny, yet surprisingly dark viewing experience.

2/9 28 Days Later (2002)

20th century workshops

Now a seminal example of what British cinema can and should be, 28 Days Later said zombies (sorry, ‘infected’) can run now, and it added a huge sense of danger to viewing its sleepy opener. and lonely. Between Cillian Murphy (star), Danny Boyle (director) and Alex Garland (writer), all three would become huge names and move on to bigger, more expensive projects, but this was their first real hit between them. Marvel at the film’s low-budget simplicity and mastery of tension, cinematography, and score. His large and brash suite makes a perfect double bill.

1/9 Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Universal images

Not merely a parody or love letter to Romero, Shaun of the Dead is a genuinely hysterical horror-comedy in its own right that would change the face of British cinema in the future. A gold standard for horror and comedy, Shaun (a perfect Simon Pegg) has just split up with his girlfriend, and in order to win her back must prove himself in a last-ditch survival effort on the front- zombie apocalypse guard. The first chapter in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, and perhaps the best, Shaun of the Dead remains just as delightful today as it was nearly 20 years ago. Featuring one of Shaun and Ed’s (Nick Frost) biggest onscreen bromances, this film is so well put together that repeat viewings only reward the viewer with uncovering more details.

UK’s Best Zombie Movies, Ranked | Pretty Reel