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Top 5: Movies about a pandemic

Who said movies aren't real?

Before COVID-19, I never thought I’d ever be interested in pandemic movies — let alone relate to them, but here we are. I’ve been passing the time by watching a lot of these movies, and here are five that you can watch while social distancing (or quarantining).

Contagion (2011)

The film, directed by Steven Soderbergh, follows multiple characters as their lives are changed by an unknown disease. It spreads quickly and kills everyone it infects. While government officials look for ways to slow down the rate of infection and health experts look for a vaccine, the public becomes fearful and violent. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

After watching this film, I realized why it was so popular. There are so many parallels between the disease in the movie and COVID-19. It has bat and pig origins, is spread through fomites, and the initial symptoms are a cough and high fever. The film is fast-paced, and despite having a lot of characters, is still easy to follow. By the way, if you ever need a reminder of why social distancing is important during a pandemic, just watch (or re-watch) Contagion

28 Days Later (2002)

After some animal rights activists try to free infected chimpanzees from a medical research facility, they unknowingly unleash a deadly virus that causes its victims to become bloodthirsty. 

I thought the film was an interesting mix between a pandemic and a zombie movie. Much like Contagion, it has good pacing — not too fast or too slow. If you check out the IMDb page, under the “goofs” section, it points out all of the mistakes in the film, of which there are many. But I still think 28 Days Later is a fun movie to watch! 

93 Days (2016) 

93 Days is a Nigerian film based on a true story about the ebola outbreak break that happened in Lagos in 2014. A few doctors become infected by the virus and have to be isolated to ensure that the virus does not spread to the whole city. 

The film’s pacing is quite slow, especially in the beginning. However, with some time and patience, it gets quite interesting to watch. There are a lot of intense scenes, and I found myself on the edge of my seat a lot of the time. You can find 93 Days on Netflix!

The Hole (1998)

While an unknown disease is spreading around in Taiwan, a male (Lee Kang-sheng) and a female (Yang Kuei-mei) tenant in an apartment communicate through a hole left by a lazy plumber. It’s directed by Tsai Ming-liang. 

I watched The Hole for a film class, and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s weird, but incredibly entertaining. There are feminist undertones, musical numbers, and funny scenes. If you’re into obscure foreign films and can get a copy of this movie, I highly recommend that you give it a watch!

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

After realizing that the citizens in his town are slowly turning into zombies, Shaun (Simon Pegg) does his best to save his ex-girlfriend from being infected and tries to win her love again by playing the hero. 

I watched Shaun of the Dead during a Netflix movie night with some friends. It was strange to watch a movie like this during the COVID-19 crisis because I could relate to a lot of the events in the film. Being told to stay inside, being initially oblivious to the gravity of the situation we were all in, and the possibility of being infected almost anywhere and by anyone. This movie is hilarious, although it also has its impactful emotional scenes. If you’re looking for a good laugh during a crisis, this is the movie for you.

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