Dawn of the Dead (2004), Don’t Breathe and other action horror movies

Samara Weaving in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved
Samara Weaving in the film READY OR NOT. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved /
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Dawn of the Dead
LOS ANGELES – MARCH 10: Actor Kevin Zegers “Dawn Of The Dead” (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images) /

If self-isolation has you feeling a bit sluggish, you might want to consider watching Dawn of the Dead (2004) Don’t Breathe and some of our other selections to fuel your adrenaline.

I love a good slow burn horror flick. You know the kind of film I’m talking about. Think The Haunting of Hill House and other stories that pull you in at a deliberate and steady pace.

But I know that they are not every genre lover’s cup of bloody tea. However, I also love action horror that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

There is nothing quite like a movie that gets your heart pumping and causes your eyes to bug out of your head. Since a lot of action horror movies out there fit that bill, I am just going to focus on a few of my personal favorites.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I was a teen horror nerd when the original Dawn of the Dead was released, and I absolutely loved it. When the remake hit theaters in 2004, I was both hopeful and dubious, certain that it would not measure up to George A. Romero’s original masterpiece.

To my surprise and delight, I loved it! It paid tribute to its source material, while adding something new and exciting to the mix. These zombies were not slow, plodding dummies, they were hungry, angry and they could RUN.

From the moment a neighborhood child walks into Louis and Ana’s bedroom and kills Louis, this story does not slow down. Ana and an eclectic mixture of people end up sheltering in a shopping mall surrounded by zombies, and they don’t know that pregnant Luda has been bitten. Her loving husband Andre keeps it a secret, and the childbirth scene that follows is SO uncomfortable to watch.

The special effects are fantastic, and trivia alert: AFX Studio is responsible for them. Why is this interesting? AFX is co-owned by scream queen Heather Langenkamp, who played Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street!

If you prefer the old-fashioned slow moving zombie, then by all means, watch an older film. But, if you want to see zombies run their victims down, knock them violently to the ground and then eat their faces off, check out this excellent remake.

Action horror film Dawn of the Dead is available to stream on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Vudu.

Fast-paced horror
MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 23: Don’t Breathe (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Allied) /

Don’t Breathe

Fede Alvarez followed up his remake of Evil Dead with this dark little gem of a movie. Money, Alex and Rocky (played by Jane Levy, who was so good in the Evil Dead remake) are three young adults who break into homes to steal valuable items. Money comes up with a plan to break into the home of an older blind man, having been told there is a large sum of cash in the house.

Unfortunately for our friends, this isn’t just any blind man…he has what Liam Neeson would call “a very particular set of skills”, and the three thieves are in a lot of trouble. What makes Don’t Breathe so great is that we are actually rooting for two of the three burglars, and we eventually want Rocky to conquer the “innocent” blind man.

Trapped in the house, Rocky and the remaining friend (spoiler alert: one of them is brutally killed) must try to escape with their lives, while being pursued by a very calm, very dangerous man and his vicious dog. Don’t Breathe had me sitting in the theater wide-eyed, feet up in my seat, and my hand up to my mouth. It’s a real nail-biter, and personifies action horror.

You can view Don’t Breathe on a number of streaming platforms, including Vudu, Amazon Prime and Hulu.