I do understand the concept of the original slow zombies.
They are slow, but numerous and they keep reproducing by biting livings and killing them. You are a human, you have no chance to make mistake, or be weak, if you do, you are doomed. Sleepy? Tired? Mourning? Broke your leg? The zombies are lifeless and cruel, they won't feel sorry. But other humans do, and only they can help.

I do understand: Zombies are not invincible, they are just huge danger, which you can't hide properly, and you have to help others to increase the chance of survival.

I just watched movie World War Z, the zombies are running like 50 miles/hour, climbing 100 meter tall walls, and nobody helps others (except Brad Pitt). I don't understand why is it a recent trend in modern movies.

I don't understand the recent trends about superfast, superstrong zombies. Is there a specific reason (Sociological, Cultural, Industrial-Practice or Audience Reception based) that most zombie movies have adopted this new Zombie breed?

  • 3
    moar scary and blood-pumping 4 viewers
    – sight ward
    Oct 22, 2013 at 9:01
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    This question is "primarily opinion based."
    – Flimzy
    Oct 22, 2013 at 12:14
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    Basically, are you asking "why are they making the movies they want to make, rather than the movies I want them to make"? Oct 22, 2013 at 12:49
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    Physiologically speaking, you could make the case that it makes more sense for a zombie to be faster than slower. Presuming the brain/muscle neuronal connection remains intact, the fact that they are dead removes a lot of the limitations against muscle contraction that the conscious mind imposes (For example, people in comas can be placed in stretch positions they cannot achieve while awake). It's like removing the restrictor plate in a NASCAR auto.
    – JohnP
    Oct 22, 2013 at 17:38
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    Re: basic concepts of zombies - Whose basic concepts? Remember that zombies were originally undead voodoo minions and that the rules change from one work to the next.
    – phantom42
    Oct 22, 2013 at 19:03

4 Answers 4


I think much of it can be blamed on 28 Days Later. That was likely the best film in the zombie/ infected genre, but as it was about humans infected with rage it made perfect sense that they would move with great speed and display enhanced strength; they're just humans with all the inhibitions against violence removed.

Lesser film-makers since have attempted to use the same style of 'zombie' - the rage-virus sufferers in 28 Days Later aren't zombies, but they are part of the genre - without the same effect. Probably the best, at least that I have seen personally, is the 2005 Dawn of the Dead remake, and a lot of that is down to seeing Ty Burrell, tv's nerdiest dad, playing a character you can't help but want to punch in the face.

Much of this likely has to do with the idea that slow zombies have been, as was said in Stargate: SG-1 episode 200, "done to death." This is ignoring films after 28 Days Later that have used the slow zombies very effectively, such as Diary of the Dead - which was done by Romero, after all - as well as conveniently forgetting that every single zombie film these days uses fast zombies, meaning a film with slow zombies would probably make for a refreshing change.

Add the Resident Evil franchise to the equation, and you can see why fast zombies are becoming the new norm. Resident Evil almost immediately abandoned the game's horror roots to become an action franchise. While fighting slow zombies might make for a fairly intense game, it doesn't translate well as action in a film environment. Resident Evil also had the built-in excuse of the Umbrella Corporation's bio-weapons research, so they had other non-zombie mutations to use. Eventually the hyper-aggressive fast zombies introduced in the third film became the only zombies you see. Most zombie films these days seem to be action films rather than horror films.

  • So far I like this answer the best, I afraid Hollywood nowadays stripping the social and human moral from zombie movies. They are making action movies instead of horror. I can't understand the 7/10 IMDB rating on WWZ, and on I Am Legend. Both movies should deserve serious review. Oct 22, 2013 at 9:13
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    I Am Legend works far better with the alternate ending, which test audiences apparently didn't understand. I haven't seen WWZ yet. I was going to watch it at the movies, but the trailers didn't look very promising. It is very true that a huge amount of the social and moral commentary that was the driving force behind the early zombie films is gone from modern zombie films. I Am Legend covers it somewhat with the alternate ending. 28 Days Later did so it perfectly. Resident Evil? Not at all. And RE seems to be the model most studios are following, for understandable reasons: profit. Oct 22, 2013 at 9:25
  • I hope I didn't SPOILER-ed it too much, in my opinion, don't spend huge amount of money on WWZ, if you have some friend who bought BluRay or DVD, then use the occation to borrow. 28 days later was more like drama, and zombies weren't action figures, so it worked well. Oct 22, 2013 at 9:30
  • Nah, I don't mind spoilers for a film I'm not that interested in. I'll likely do what you suggest, borrow it from a friend, at some point, but I'm not going out of my way to see it. Besides, someone else already told me the surprise ending. Oct 22, 2013 at 10:52
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    I Am Legend does deal with infected people, and the movie version is a little more ambiguous, but the book makes it EXTREMELY clear that the infected are modeled after vampires.
    – phantom42
    Oct 22, 2013 at 19:30

Damn good question, and has provided a lot of interesting answers so far. Sincerely hope it doesn't get shut down by the fun police for being too broad. ;)

I think all of the answers provided so far provide an insight into this growing trend, but there' s more to be found if we look a little closer, and dig a little deeper.Cinematic depiction of 'typical' zombie behaviour is not limited to increased speed or ferocity, but also: manner of infection, sentience, self-awareness and tactical prowess.  It is nearly impossible to understand why zombies have 'gotten faster' in isolation,  without considering the other behavioral changes that have naturalized themselves into the zombie genre...

It has been noted that whereas in the Romero canon all deaths result in zombiefication,  modern cinema seems to privilege the curse as an infection (28 days later, WWZ,  The Walking Dead). There will always before examples to counter this, but by and large they exist because they directly oppose this. Even the Romero re-set opted for this, interestingly.

Whereas the Romero canon has always alluded that zombies become smarter the longer they roam,  2005's Land of the Dead featured a semi organised,  self aware and emotionally cognitive zombie force,  able to manipulate ballistic weaponry. It has long been posited (and rightfully debated) that zombies themselves are an allegory for consumerism and if we choose to examine their change in behavior through this critical lens, its possible to find a possible answer..

1978's Dawn of the Dead is the most overt in said associations, featuring the undead shifting lifelessly through a shopping mall, largely oblivious to happenings around them. This film arrives from a period of relative consumer-infancy, where the post 'mad-men' boom of conscious marketing and psychoanalytic manipulation had left the masses sedated,  and the radicalised minority fearful of its effects. The zombies are dopes, being pushed around by the unseen hand of their new religion: The desire to eat, to feed, to consume

Now flash forward 35 years and look at the modern consumer: tech savvy, potently aware of the fact they are engaged in consumerism and self-schooled in navigating the nuances of this brave new world for their own benefit (Groupon, Orange Wednesdays, the list is far from exhaustive). They actively engage in their consumerism, seeking out new ways to participate and becoming willing nodes for distribution (Like!), they surrender themselves to the zombie menace and elect to run alongside the horde!

This coupled with the frenetic, ceaseless barrage of media which epitomizes consumerism, creates a thoroughly accelerated type of consumer, and thus zombie.They have evolved alongside the very entity they satirize.

P.S, I have written this entry on a tablet, which seems to have a limited allowance for hyperlinks etc. I will edit when I get home, but if someone wishes to do so in the mealtime,  I would be appreciative. I'd like to imdb link to the movie titles mentioned, as well as including links to these supporting articles where appropriate... ta! http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Analysis/ZombieApocalypse http://pbpsning-breakingthelaw.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/consumerism-modern-zombie-as-allegory.html 

  • Urgh, I hate tablets. Please forgive the numerous typos and repeats. Will be rectified soon.. Oct 22, 2013 at 14:18

I can provide an opinion but theres not really any verifiable answer

basically it comes down to what type of movie the filmmakers are trying to make

WWZ big budget fast paced action movie (for the most part) slow moving zombies would clash with the feel of the film so the zombies are fast, not to mention slow moving zombies would never have been able to get over that wall

slow moving zombies are implacable they will never stop coming but you can get away from them for awhile and its easier to barricade against them for awhile so they are more suitable for character dramas like the current season of the walking dead

  • What you say is true, but I don't understand why did they need the plot to make zombies to breach the wall or roll a bus. These things don't make them more horrifying, instead it gives you the feeling: okay, this is not real, actually far from real. The Walking Dead is partially believable, you can feel you might be part of this kind of groups. Oct 22, 2013 at 9:15
  • it would take a lot more space than this to express my reasons for disliking WWZ I just used it as an example cause you mentioned it in your question
    – severa
    Oct 22, 2013 at 9:26
  • I don't mind if you do, I am pretty sure this question is touching personal opinion, please share your feelings, at least I am not the only one who feels this was on WWZ. Oct 22, 2013 at 9:32

Since there is no definition of "zombie" (since it is fantasy), the author or movie director can make them however they want.


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