Amidst a sea of zombie films and subgenres ranging from romcoms, satires, to straight-out horror, there’s still plenty of life left in the undead. It doesn’t seem like fans of the zombie genre will hit exhaustion in the near future; AMC’s The Walking Dead is still holding strong, and the recent success of Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet is a clear sign (season 3 premieres March, 29th, 2019). Since Romero’s inception of zombie horror as we know it, countless iterations and commentaries have been associated with the genre. Perhaps striving for satire, without eluding the bloody violence, several films within the zombie genre have tackled the plague as a sort of affliction looming over loved ones. Dead girlfriends, zombie pets, and even parents dealing with their zombie children – these films examine the lives of those living with the undead. The following are five films that demonstrate loved ones living with the zombie curse.
5. The Cured (2017)
After facing a zombie epidemic that nearly resulted in mankind’s demise, humanity has found a cure for the plague; also known as the Maze Virus. Taking place in Ireland, a country that was particularly devastated by the virus, martial law has encroached on the once normal society and has enclosed survivors apart from those infected. The cure allows the previously infected (also known as the “cured”) to acclimate back into society, but at a harsh cost. Social divide and prejudice lead to civil unrest and protest for fear that allowing the “cured” back into society could lead to another outbreak.
Abbie (Ellen Paige) is an American journalist whose Irish husband was killed during the zombie outbreak. Abbie’s brother in-law, Senan (Sam Keeley), is soon to be released as a “cured”, back into society into Abbie’s care. Senan suffers terrible visions and nightmares from his memories during his infected state as a ravenous zombie; he’s also holding terrible secrets that could tear his family apart. The Cured was released in 2017 and written/directed by David Freyne.
4. Life After Beth (2014)
Surrounding the relationship between Zach Orfman (Dane DeHaan) and Beth Slocum (Aubrey Plaza), Life After Beth dives into zombie territory meanwhile analyzing grief and loss. After Bethis killed, boyfriend Zach is stricken with grief as he attempts to become closer to Beth’s family as a means of coping. Soon after, Zach begins to notice the family’s withdrawal, he comes to realize Beth is in fact alive….sort of.
Continuing his relationship with an undead girlfriend has its fair share of drama. As days go by, Beth becomes more aggressive and out of control as the ravenous zombie nature begin to take hold of her. Released in 2014, Life After Beth was written and directed by Jeff Baena.
3. Maggie (2015)
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin, Maggie is a tragic story of a father’s love attempting to retain the last bit of humanity that’s left in his infected daughter. After suffering a zombie bite on her arm, Maggie (Abigail Breslin) leaves her home in an attempt to protect her family. Her father, Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), searches for her and eventually brings her back home. With just a few weeks left to live, Maggie experiences the gruesome transformation as her father watches from the sidelines, helpless. Unable to take Maggie out of her misery, Wade chooses to have her live the remainder of her life as normal as possible. Released in 2015 and directed by Henry Hobson, Maggie delivers powerful performances, most notable from Mr. Universe himself, as well as a heartfelt tone.
2. Zombie Honeymoon (2004)
There’s nothing quite heart wrenching like a doomed love story, and Zombie Honeymoon is the perfect example of one. The film follows newlyweds Denise (Tracey Boogan) and Danny (Graham Sibley) on their extended honeymoon near the shore of New Jersey. Witnessing a ragged man emerging from the ocean, Denise attempts to warn Danny, who is soon attacked by the zombie. Vomiting a black substance directly into Danny’s mouth, the zombie suddenly collapses. Danny dies.. momentarily.
Zombie Honeymoon reveals the struggles of these newlyweds during Danny’s slow transformation into a ravenous flesh eater. Bound by her undying love for Danny, Denise maintains her devotion to her rotting husband; at least for as long Danny can retain his humanity. Released in 2004, Zombie Honeymoon was written and directed by David Gebroe.
1. Fido (2006)
As a result of radiation from space engulfing the Earth, the dead rise as bloodthirsty zombies – which initiates a “zombie war” between the living and the dead. With humanity claiming victory over the living dead, society has restructured their way of life by enslaving the zombies. In the small town of Willard, Helen (Carrie-Ann Moss) and Bill Robinson (Dylan Baker) live the ideal suburban life, with the exception of not owning a zombie servant. Tired of being the only family in town sans a zombie, Helen brings home a living dead servant of her own.
The Zombie (Billy Connolly) Immediately bonding with the Robinson’s young son, Timmy (K’Sun Ray), who names the zombie servant Fido. As the two become inseparable, Fido soon finds himself in the midst of a zombie outbreak as well as a corporate conspiracy. Comedy, drama, romance, with a touch of gore, make Fido an enjoyable watch. Fido was released in 2006 and written/directed by Andrew Currie.
Offering a glimpse into dysfunctional zombie romances and family tragedies, these interesting takes on the living dead keep the genre fresh. Speaking of dysfunctional undead romances, Santa Clarita Diet season 3 will premiere later this month on March, 29th, 2019.
Let us know your thoughts on these zombie films and if you’re excited about Santa Clarita Diet’s latest season. Be sure to follow Nightmare on Film Street on all social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Share your thoughts or just say hello! You can also check out the NOFS Podcast for awesome horror commentary. Stay ghoulish, friends!