Like vampires, zombies have enjoyed a renaissance over the past decade or so. The Walking Dead established dominance over the genre on TV after the preceding graphic novel did the same for comic books, while movies like Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later and World War Z all helped mould the genre with different takes on the ‘infected’ and ways to approach them in cinema. Video games, too, have embraced zombies; Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising and DayZ proved popular – The Last of Us took things to the next level.

Transcendence What is he up to...

In Transcendence, Johnny Depp plays a forward thinking scientist on the verge of uploading the human consciousness onto a server, creating a sort of computer intelligence never seen before – it has the potential to be more powerful – intellectually – than the entire history of the human race. His character is shot in the stomach, giving him just weeks to live, prompting his wife to upload his brainwaves. It’s not long before his presence in cyberspace becomes a threat to mankind. So the question is this: is Depp’s new thriller set to add another dimension to the zombie genre? 

More: 'Transcendence': Johnny Depp Sci-Fi Thriller Is A Technological Cautionary Tale

Naughty Dog’s innovative game, The Last of Us, took the idea of a zombie infection and added new and exciting elements, like blind “clickers” that react to sound, and a fully realised apocalypse two decades into its lifecycle. If the guys over at Badass Digest are right, and the film does in fact see Depp’s mad scientist recruit other dead humans for his e-army as he becomes more power-hungry, more determined and thirstier for knowledge. 

“Soon after waking up in his new computer body, Depp starts demanding access to more power and more information,” says the site, adding that we “see him operating on – and reviving – a dead man. But more than reviving him, the dead man is amplified, and a voice over tells us Depp is building an army. An army of zombies? That’s certainly how it seemed…”

Morgan Freeman in TranscendenceMorgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Rebecca Hall in Transcendence

Of course, the general perception of zombies in popular culture is that of a ravenous creature, hell bent on consuming human flesh without a second thought. They’re instinctive beings, often characterised by unnatural movement and the fact that they’re un-dead. If Transcendence really is a take on the zombie genre – which the physical action at the end of the trailer, alongside the comments of those who have had a chance to see extended footage suggests it is - then it’s far more forward thinking and exiting that we first thought.

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What’s more, pulling this off wouldn’t just add a further level to the zombie genre, but would also help revive the career of Mr. Depp. And we all want to see him back at his best, don’t we? Transcendence, directed by Wally Pfister and starring Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Kate Mara is out in the U.S on April 18.

Watch the trailer for Transcendence right here