The global spread of COVID-19 and uncertainty surrounding the extent of its impact continues to be endlessly and exhaustingly stressful and scary. So it can be comforting to throw a movie on and turn your brain off for a couple hours. And what better way to really distract yourself than through some truly amazing, entertaining and insightful disaster flicks. WellWell has helped out by pulling together a short list of great movies related to outbreaks, pandemics, humanity’s struggle to survive and, frankly, the end of the world. Sit back, relax – and realize things could be worse.
Inspired by the by Richard Preston’s nonfiction thriller The Hot Zone, the film is the most realistic and immediate offering on this list. Presenting a grounded display of the early attempts to contain a viral, ahem, outbreak. With greats like Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman helping out, the film speculates on the disturbing lengths military and civilian agencies might go to contain the spread of a deadly, contagious disease.
On The Beach (1959)
A classic of the post-apocalypse genre, depicting the world in the final throes of its own destruction by nuclear war. On The Beach was born out of fear the of atomic weapons and the paranoia of the Cold War and shows humanity conflicting with its own execution.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Just about every zombie movie could be a seamless metaphor for a pandemic so why not go with the one that started it all. Admirably low budget, splendidly gory and incessantly thought provoking, Night of the Living Dead continues to epitomize its legacy.
Focusing on four friends on the road looking for safe haven while a deadly virus continues to spread globally. Featuring a montage of facemasks, intense supply searches and cautiously enforced human distance, it could easily be renamed, Social Distancing: The Movie.
Mauvais Sang (1986)
One of the most influential French language films of all time, a beautifully haunting reflection of the AIDS crisis in the 1980’s. An allegory that can easily be repurposed for the current COVID-19 fears.
It Comes At Night (2017)
Presenting a grounded, personal narrative in a truly sinister world demolished by an unnamed contagion. The cinematography is excellent, a constant blend of long takes and tight frames help to give the film a nauseatingly claustrophobic tone and atmosphere perfectly representing the confusion and terror in the scraps of a world left behind. The film is refreshingly opaque and stimulating, forcing the audience to recognize the credibly disturbing portrayals of humanity when the staples of civilization fall.
12 Monkeys (1995)
Released the same year as Outbreak, it reads like worst-case scenario outcome of the actions of that film. The only title on this list to include time travel, the plot revolves around a bid from the future to correct an ill-managed virus whose rapid spread took out the majority of civilization. Its creepy, insane, and entirely absorbing, featuring peak Bruce Willis and an early display of Brad Pitt’s sustainable chops.
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