28 Days Later (2002)
Director Danny Boyle (Train Spotting, Slumdog Millionaire) reinvented teh zombie genre again with this British entry which introduced both baby-faced Cillian Murphy and the concept of fast zombies. Technically, the creatures in Boyle's apocalyptic thriller aren't zombies, just folks infected with a virus called Rage (released by a bunch of do-gooder animal rights activists when they attempt to free lab monkeys). A simply chilling view of science gone wrong.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Director Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg are responsible for this screamingly funny entry into the genre. Shaun lives a life of dreary repetiveness, moving through his day barely acknowledging the world around him. He and his mates end up every night at the same pub and his girlfriend is ready to dump him for his inability to grow up. When the zombie plague hits, Shaun barely notices the changes, but those changes end up changing his life (and those of his friends and family) forever - and for the better. Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man's Chest; Love, Actually), Nick Frost and Kate Ashfield head up the talented and very funny cast. In an homage to Romero, Frost screams "We're coming to get you, Barbara!" into the phone to Shaun's mum. Sadly, I was the only person in the theater who laughed at that one.
Carrie Ann Moss (The Matrix), Dylan Baker (Spiderman) and Billy Connolly (The Boondock Saints) head up the cast of Canadian director Andrrew Currie's satire of zombies, 1950's television and a megacorporate greed. Using modern technology, zombies have been turned into domestic servants, performing tasks most humans would find humiliating. When Timmy's family finally get their own zombie (Connolly), Timmy names him 'Fido" and the fun begins. Dead-on hilarious, Fido deserves to be seen by both Lassie and zombie fans, alike. "What's wrong boy? Is Timmy in trouble?"
Black Sheep (2006)
Another entry from New Zealand, Black Sheep isn't technically a zombie movie, though it certainly has all the earmarkings of, and owes a load of debt to, the genre. An overly ambitious sheep farmer attempts to breed the perfect sheep and hires a crazed geneticist (is there any other kind?) to help him. When do-gooder animal rights activists (damn them and their PETA-loving ways!) attempt to expose what's happening on the farm, tehy release a mutant sheep embryo which results in a plague of man-eating sheep, whose surviving victims soon find themselves becoming - for lack of a better term - weresheep. Crazy, gruesome and laugh-out-loud funny, Black Sheep also features an inevitable and hilarious take on the "shepherd's relief" scenario. If you've never seen this Kiwi gem from writer/director Jonathan King, do yourself a favor and get to Blockbuster.
As always, more of this, anon.