7 Films About Pandemics

Happy New Year 2021! Since the vacination process against COVID-19 has now started in many countries around the world, I thought it would be a good and more optimistic time to look into some pandemic or epidemic centric films. Givent that the end of our own real-life pandemic is in sight, let’s take a look at a diverse range of movies on similar subjects.

1. The Cassandra Crossing (1976, Italy-UK-West Germany)

In this film, a train in Europe is infected with a deadly pathogen by Swedish terrorists, and nobody will lt them get off the train for fear of spreading the disease. It’s an interesting, if slightly outlandish premise (Swedish terrorists don’t seem to have become a problem meanwhile), and the film has some good actors, such as Martin Sheen, Richard Harris and Sophia Loren.

2. Outbreak (1995, US)

This one is about an outbreak, in case the title wasn’t explicit enough. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, it stars a lot of big names, including Morgan Freeman, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland and Cuba Gooding Jr. The central theme is a deadly virus that originates from an African monkey, and spreads in a Californian town.

3. Infection [Kansen] (2004, Japan)

A Japanese hospital on the verge of bankruptcy and with overworked, undepaid staff experiences receives a patient with a nasty infection. He doesn’t receive immediate attention and the deadly virus he had been infected with causes his body to liquify, and astounds the doctors ast they struggle to understand its degree of contagion.

4. Contagion (2011, US)

Steven Soderberg’s film became the thing to watch once the March/April phase of the 2020 lockdown came into effect, as its fictional plot came closest to the simulation of a real-world, worldwide pandemic with non-zombie elements. Many used it as a case study for not only how a virus spreads across the globe, but what measures are taken, how society adapts and how quickly a vaccine can be rolled out. Although it was not super well received at the time, it’s a very 2020 watch.

5. Deranged [Yeon-ga-si] (2012, South Korea)

This is a bit of a more fictional scenario, as it involves a more dramatic effect of the virus and some sort of government conspiracy. People start jumping in the water and drowning themselves, which is later linked to diseased dogs being dumped in a river. As the disease spreads, cases become much harder to control.

6. Flu [Gamgi] (2013, South Korea)

After smuggling illegal immigrants into Korea, a man dies, and the virus which caused this spreads. Shortly after, more residents of the Seoul suburb of Bundang start exibiting the same symptoms, which leads to government action. The city is sealed off, and a complete shutdown is ordered. An infectious disease specialist and a rescue worker are sent to retrieve the blood serum of the index case, in order to kickstart the development of a vaccine.

7. Virus (2019, India)

This film is based on real-life events related to the 2018 NIPAH Virus outbreak in Kerala. It follows various stages during the evolution of the epidemic, and details aspects such as its identification, methods for controlling its spread and the process towards annihilating it. It also explores the mass paranoia caused by the outbreak, as well as social and psychological consequences for both regular individuals and healthcare workers.



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