When the government puts your city, your region, the whole freaking island of Luzon, under quarantine, it means you’re forced to stay at home. If you’re not working or studying from home, this means more time to watch the news or scroll through your social media feeds and see the outpouring of news everyone is sharing left and right. Overwhelming, isn’t it? You probably just want to escape from the worries you’re having in real life. And most often, you’ll find the catharsis you’re looking for in art. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of films about virus outbreaks to watch during quarantine, because sometimes, you just want to see fictional global outbreaks instead of IRL.
12 Monkeys (1995)
Imagine if the world was not as equipped as it is now and a virus breaks out globally. What then? That’s something 12 Monkeys has tried to explore. After humanity has almost been wiped out by a global pandemic, a time traveler (Bruce Willis) returns to the 1990s to discover the origins of the virus and figure out how the outbreak can be stopped.
The premise: the world population goes blind. The conflict: society collapses and it’s every man for himself. The terrifying reality you may have to face: humanity is devastatingly selfish. José Saramago’s novel is already difficult to read with how horrifying the events in the book are. And then they turn it into an actual film? It just emphasizes two things: a disease is bound by no rules and chooses no one, and society may just collapse when the world become desperate enough.
World War Z (2013)
While this more of a zombie movie than a pandemic, the film World War Z actually treats the zombie bite as a virus. Brad Pitt stars as a former United Nations employee tasked to investigate the virus that turns humans into quick, wall-climbing zombies. (Note: This film is actually supposed to be based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks, but the only thing that is essentially the same is the title.)
28 Days Later (2002)
Another zombie film (except they don’t actually call them zombies), critically-acclaimed 28 Days Later follows the survival story of Jim (Cillian Murphy), a man who woke up from a coma 28 days later after a contagious virus affects the whole of Britain.
Based on Richard Preston’s nonfiction book The Hot Zone on deadly viruses like Ebola, this film follows a group of scientists as they struggle to find a cure against the deadly virus quickly spreading across the world. Terrifyingly creepy trivia: Outbreak just turned 25 years old just last March 10, just as the coronavirus rages the rest of the world. But onto some good news: the Deomcratic Republic of the Congo just discharged their last Ebola patient last March 3.
The Hot Zone (2019)
If you want something a little longer than a film, try this drama series based on the same novel as Outbreak. Dr. Nancy Jaax, veterinary pathology, discovers the Ebola virus and how it appeared in monkeys in her research lab in Washington, D.C. After a lab accident, Jaax has to quickly find a cure against the deadly virus before it further spreads and breaks out across the US.
Children of Men (2006)
Director Alfonso Cuaron’s dystopian film follows jaded bureaucrat Theo Faron in fictional 2027, where humanity has been rendered infertile and almost on the verge of extinction. Societies have collapsed and only two governments are functioning, with one becoming a police state discriminating and executing refugees. One woman miraculously gets pregnant, and Theo is tasked to bring her to safety.
Perhaps the most terrifying film right now is the star-studded, critically-acclaimed Contagion. Why? It’s supposed to be fiction, but it’s eerily familiar to what we’re seeing right now all over the world. After the confirmation of a deadly virus upon the death of patient zero Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) and her son, researchers scramble to find a cure while trying to curb the spread of the virus across the globe. And still, it does, and the world spirals into panic. Like we are right now.
What other films and series are you planning to binge? Share them with us!