I read The Stand at the age of 12 or 13 and it quickly became one of my favorite Stephen King books of all time. But now that we are all quarantined, I’ve found myself reading it again. (I’ve also just finished reading The Great Influenza, by John Barry – which tells the story of the Spanish Flu fight here in America, and in World War I. I highly recommend it.) I guess I embrace the crazy. All of our life events are shutting down and yet, here I am, rereading The Stand. Heck, why not? And here we are, with the World Health Organization, just today, declaring the Covid-19 outbreak an official Pandemic. So, if you are like me, and you like to embrace the chaos – and are currently beginning to take shelter, then maybe we can all watch these outbreak movies together? I mean, our lives haven’t gotten this bad yet! But hey, if that doesn’t sound like a good time to you – then just move on to my next movie recommendation (Like Devs – which I’ll be reviewing each episode weekly for), and consider this one a pass. So if you are in, here we go – without further ado: 10 Movies to Scare You Senseless While Quarantined.
#10 93 Days – Starring Danny Glover, Seun Ajayi, Bimbo Akintola, & Zara Udofia Ejoh. The movie asks the question, what happens when the deadliest infectious disease known to man arrives in a megacity with over 21 million people?
#9 Blindness – Though I haven’t seen this 2008 movie, I absolutely loved the book Blindness by the Portuguese author José Saramago. The film stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Gael García Bernal and deals with a sudden outbreak that is causing white blindness. (No, not in a racial sense.) Spoiler: The book is actually more of an allegory about blindness to wisdom than about a literal pandemic…
When one man is struck blind while driving home from work, his whole world is turned to an eerie, milky haze. One by one, each person he encounters suffers the same unsettling fate. As the contagion spreads, and paranoia sets in, the newly blind victims of the “White Sickness” are quarantined within an abandoned mental asylum. But, inside the quarantined hospital, there is one woman who has only pretended she is blind in order to stay beside her husband. She will lead a makeshift family of seven people on a journey to break out of the hospital and into the devastated city where they may be the only hope left.
#8 The Bay – Dig found footage films? We’ve covered our fair share here at THiNC. I personally love them when done correctly. Well, you might like this cool little film that is a petris dish for a waterborne organism that takes control of anyone that it encounters. Obviously not a brilliant little film with deeper aspirations (like Blindness) but there is something really great about the found footage convincing you to buy into what this film is selling. Heck, you may just want to watch it to see a little town burn itself down.
#7 Carriers – This 2009 Chris Pine, and Piper Perabo film tells the story of an intense griping outbreak that hits the world. But as they travel together they begin to realize that they are far more deadly to each other than the virus they are attempting to outrun. Rules, Laws? They have all been dispensed with as the globe begins to realize that absolutely no one is trustworthy. Especially your friends.
#6 Andromeda Strain – This 1971 film tells the story of a crack team of top scientists working feverishly in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped. Who knew old people could tell a story like this one??!
#5 Flu (or Gamgi) – 2013 Korean film where a deadly virus is unleashed on an unsuspecting public. A human trafficker covered in oozing red rashes and coughing up blood dies at a hospital. Within hours, the virus spreads all over the city and death goes viral as the body count rapidly rises. In the city, no one gets in, no one gets out, and everything begins to spiral out of control.
#4 Outbreak – The original Outbreak granddaddy of them all – Outbreak. When the Research Institute for Infectious Diseases is sent to Africa to investigate an outbreak they attempt to alert the world that a global pandemic is on the way. But the world dismisses the threat as impossible to reach the United States. BUT! When a monkey, infected by the disease, is transported to the U.S., and then released, the threat is now on our shores. And now it’s killing faster than ever!!! Minus the exclamation shenanigans, this movie is pretty spot on with what we are dealing with today. Watch it at your own peril.
#3 12 Monkeys – I just recently did a 5,000 word deep dive on this movie. And over the course of my investigation about this human induced world wide pandemic, I realized that I had been wrong about this movie all along. Like, from day one. But, if you haven’t seen it, it tells the story of a destroyed civilization traveling back in time in order to avert the disaster that the world becomes. Was it bound to happen? Was the end determined before the world began? It’s a brilliant movie top to bottom regardless of your answer to the questions this movie poses.
#2 Pontypool – The strength of Pontypool is its super tight scope and scale. This is, without a doubt, a closed box sort of film. It tells the story of a little radio station that is brought to its knees through the rapidly spreading infection hitting the area. Our only viewpoint to the crisis is this Ontario disc jockey that is only getting the occasional update from out in the surrounding area. You can read my in detail comments about Pontypool here.
#1 Containment – This movie is my favorite movie on this list. Sure it’s low low budget. And yes, it’s a bit kitschy at times. But the concept is the best screenplay about an outbreak I’ve ever heard of. Check it out – Mark wakes up to find that the doors and windows of his flat have been sealed shut. Like, solid. Welded, the works. His confusion turns to terror when he sees sinister figures in hazmat suits attacking his fellow residents. We had tons of fun talking about this one in a purely theoretical way over here. But now? Hrmmm! This crazy could happen.