The Best (or Worst) Outbreak Movies to Watch While in Self-Imposed Quarantine
If you’re going to be scared, be really scared
It’s very unlikely that you’re among the 48 people in Dallas quarantined after exposure to Ebola (breathe easy—most have already been released). There are hundreds on watch lists in the United States, but thousands actually suffering the virus’ real and devastating impacts in West Africa.
What most Americans have been exposed to is a mad case of fear-bola, what CNN calls an “epic, epidemic overreaction.” So, if you are going to lock your doors and hide from Ebola, why not let the fear completely envelop you? It’s almost Halloween, and we’ll all be dead one day, anyway. (Or zombies. We’ll probably all be zombies.) So study what it will be like when humans lose their humanity and take note of the weapons you’ll need. (Those new CDC recommendations sure as hell aren’t going to protect you from brain-eaters, sucka.)
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- Outbreak (1995)
Part disease-carrying white-headed monkey (from Africa, because of course), part small-town plague outbreak, part military quarantine. Way-too-familiar hemorrhagic fever mixed with a cocktail of, let’s say, extreme governmental overreach. Double creep factor.
- 12 Monkeys (1995)
In the future, there’s a virus is so prevalent that humankind moves underground. A time-traveling convict is tasked with going back and stopping the terrorists who supposedly set the sickness loose upon the planet. Predictably, he’s put in an asylum—but bonus, he meets a delightfully chatty Brad Pitt. Awesomeness ensues.
- The Andromeda Strain (1971)
An oldie but goodie, based on the Michael Crichton novel: Here’s an alien strain that turns blood to powder and converts energy to mass and vice-versa. A baby and an old man survive, but no one is sure why. Salvation lies in the hands of research scientists.
- 28 Days Later (2002)
First lesson: Monkeys let loose on civilization means doom. U.K. activists release primates infected with Rage, a contagious virus that spreads through blood and saliva. Twenty-eight28 days later, only a handful of citizens survive uninfected and fight their way to a military blockade—but really, in the case of outbreak, should you ever trust anyone affiliated with the government?
- Pontypool (2008)
Infected words. A virus of human language, or at least just English. Maybe. But it turns good people into cannibalistic hordes. It’s up to a Canadian radio shock jock, who talks for a living, to save the world.
- World War Z (2013)
Straight-up zombie disease outbreak. It’s global, and a U.N. investigator who initially appears to be in luck (and have a chance at evacuation), ends up coerced into helping find the source of the outbreak. Zombies are everywhere—fast-moving killers that bite and work in tandem, like a clambering tidal wave of gore.
- I Am Legend (2007)
The after story, when you wake up as one of a few survivors of a re-engineered virus that decimated the human population and left most who remained infected monsters. It’s Will Smith talking to mannequins, remembering his family, and having maybe the most heartbreaking human-dog relationship since Old Yeller.
- Contagion (2011)
Bad things happen when you cheat on your husband—like becoming patient zero for a crazy pig-bat virus that attacks your brain and nervous system. And it spreads. The usual quarantines and crumbling of social order ensue. A homeopathic nutter feeds on mistrust of medical science while the global pandemic causes millions to die—from wealthy politicos to CDC workers on the frontlines. Also, it really makes you want to wash your hands, immediately and repeatedly.