The Best Pandemic Movie For Every Situation, Since Everyone's Started Binging Them Anyway
As we've already covered, the Coronavirus outbreak has hit the movie biz hard for a number of reasons. Premieres hang in the balance, one major one has already been pushed back, and Hollywood is bracing for a month-long period where people are more than a little bit hesitant to go to the movies.
As with almost every major catastrophe though, where there's fear, there's also a thinly-veiled love of disaster porn. And while people don't want to go outside for fear of contracting the virus, they're proving all too happy to stay at home and binge watch things about the exact thing they're scared of, causing views of zombie and epidemic-based films to soar in recent weeks.
Answering the question of which ones are even worth your much-precious stockpiling time is an entirely different matter. So we decided to distill down the best flicks that might just serve as a reminder that as bad as things seem right now, they could probably be worse.
The best for cheap thrills: Dawn of the Dead
The precursor to pretty much all Zombie films to come after it alongside The Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero's 1974 classic laid the ground-work for an entire genre, even if it was one of the few zombie films not to make said zombies the victim of some epidemic. Zack Snyder's 2004 adaptation is also a worthy watch, this time bringing disease into the equation.
The best for sheer production value: World War Z
The only Zombie film capable of snagging Brad Pitt and his all-timer of a hairdo, World War Z was the first book to really show an epidemic on a massive, big-budget scale. Don't expect a whole lot more than Brad Pitt in full action mode, mowing down the hordes, but it's a worthy zombie flick all the same.
The best for a laugh: Shaun of the Dead
The first entry into Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's masterful Cornetto trilogy (alongside Hot Fuzz and The World's End), parodying the horror flicks that they grew up adoring. A timely reminder that, for now at least, the best course of action might be to go to the pub and wait for this all to blow over.
The best for accuracy: Contagion
Underrated in a time when it didn't feel like you could move for Matt Damon movies, Steven Soderbergh's Contagion is renowned for its actual accuracy when depicting the way a virus spreads, particularly one that spreads from animals as the likes of Coronavirus and SARS have. In fact, WIRED wrote a very good article on this very subject.
The best doco: Pandemic: How To Prevent An Outbreak
Netflix's recent, oddly well-timed doco examines the ins and outs of how particularly virulent diseases spread like they do, and gives an insight into the lives and work of those trying desperately to fight it. Who knows, maybe Coronavirus might prompt a Season 2.
The best overall: 28 Days Later
I love 28 Days Later, and not just because it gives you a look at Cillian Murphy when he was little-known enough to get his dong out on camera in literally the first scene. As a out-and-out zombie film, however, depicting the depths that humanity can go to when pushed to the brink, it's outstanding, and the shots of an empty London are equally breathtaking. It's also refreshingly short on CGI, combining a gutteral, almost B-movie quality with Boyle's epic direction.