Movies

How Scary Is Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s New Zombie Movie for Netflix?

Is it too gory for you? What if you just like Tig Notaro?

In front of Nora Arnezeder is a meter labeled "The Scaredy Scale."
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Clay Enos/Netflix and Getty Images Plus.

For die-hards, no horror movie can be too scary. But for you, a wimp, the wrong one can leave you miserable. Never fear, scaredies, because Slate’s Scaredy Scale is here to help. We’ve put together a highly scientific and mostly spoiler-free system for rating new horror movies, comparing them with classics along a 10-point scale. And because not everyone is scared by the same things—some viewers can’t stand jump scares, while others are haunted by more psychological terrors or simply can’t stomach arterial spurts—it breaks down each movie’s scares across three criteria: suspense, spookiness, and gore.

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Next up is Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, which hits theaters on Friday before streaming on Netflix beginning May 21. The film posits a world in which Las Vegas has been overrun by zombies and walled off from the rest of the world, and Dave Bautista stars as a survivor who agrees to go back in to pull off a heist.

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A chart titled “Suspense: How much will you dread the next kill or jump scare?” shows that Army of the Dead ranks a 3 in suspense, roughly the same as Gremlins. The scale ranges from The Joy of Painting (0) to Alien (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Clay Enos/Netflix and Getty Images Plus.
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As to be expected from any zombie movie worth its salt, Army of the Dead has a few surprises in store, but the movie won’t necessarily have you on the edge of your seat. It’s a little more action than horror—there’s a lot of just mowing down zombies—and the gore is a way bigger factor here than suspense or spookiness. That said, there’s still a faint overarching sense of dread, thanks to the fact that the undead seem to be evolving, rather than remaining mindless “shamblers,” as the movie terms them.

A chart titled “Gore: the Ick Factor” shows that Army of the Dead ranks a 9 in goriness, roughly the same as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The scale ranges from Singin’ in the Rain (0) to the Saw franchise (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Clay Enos/Netflix and Getty Images Plus.
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Oh boy, the gore. Perhaps unsurprisingly, if you’ve seen Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead, there is a lot of blood in Army of the Dead. Heads getting chopped off, hands thrust into abdomens, even a tooth-and-claw mauling—this movie has it all. It’s a little easier to deal with because most of the casualties are suffered by the titular army, but the living crew that Bautista assembles gets put through the wringer, too, so there may be a few moments where, if you’re even a little squeamish, you might want to look away.

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A chart titled “Spookiness: How much will it haunt you after the movie is over?” shows that Army of the Dead ranks a 3 in spookiness, roughly the same as Gremlins. The scale ranges from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (0) to The Exorcist (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Clay Enos/Netflix and Getty Images Plus.
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The story of Army of the Dead is contained enough that it likely won’t make you worry about what would happen if your hometown suffered the same fate as its Las Vegas, and the zombies themselves aren’t too scary. At the end of the day, the movie feels like it’s meant to be a fun romp more than something that gives you nightmares after you’re done watching it, and though there’s a lot of carnage, there’s nothing so grisly that most people won’t be able to wipe it from their minds after the credits roll.

A chart titled “Overall: This is even more subjective, depending on what kinds of scares get you the most” shows that Army of the Dead ranks as a 4, roughly the same as Jurassic Park. The scale ranges from Paddington (0) to the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (10).
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Clay Enos/Netflix and Getty Images Plus.
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As far as scary movies go, Army of the Dead isn’t too severe a trial—unless zombies are your one true phobia. The “survival” aspect that makes most zombie movies scary is offset here by the fact that the protagonists are all outfitted with a considerable arsenal of firearms, and Snyder definitely leans into the humor that comes with having the living dead take over a location as gaudy as Vegas. (Yes, we get a glimpse of a zombified Elvis impersonator.) However, the sheer amount of viscera on display bumps the movie up a rung or two on the Scaredy Scale. It’s not for babies, but if you can stomach some gruesome violence, you should come away unscathed.

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