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Four Pandemic Movies You Should Consider Watching While in Quarantine

March 24, 20208 min read

Quarantine hasn’t been the most exciting time. We’ve faced disruption from our regular day-to-day lives during a time of global crisis. What better way of coping than watching a few horror flicks that represent that? Here are four pandemic movies you can watch in quarantine — there’s something for everyone!

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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I can’t tell you how I found Shaun of the Dead, but I was pleasantly surprised after watching.  The 2004 film comes from director Edgar Wright, with creative help from comedian Simon Pegg. The movie chronicles two best friends,  Shaun (Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost), who come face-to-face with an unexpected invasion of the un-dead.

Shaun is an electronic store worker with no sense of direction in life and without a backbone to stand up against those who disrespect him (mostly his colleagues and his step-father, Phillip (Bill Nighy)). Shaun’s life takes a turn for the worst when his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), dumps him. His best friend, Ed, tries to encourage him to get his life together following his sudden heartbreak.

The next morning, news breaks that something dangerous is spreading around London. In an attempt to get his life back on track, Shaun decides on the brilliant idea of rescuing his ex-girlfriend and mother from the horde of the undead.

I would suggest Shaun of the Dead for anyone who wants a few laughs in such a critical time. The feel-good movie seriously tackles the dangers of not taking the news seriously. The film brilliantly sprinkles warnings of the looming outbreak throughout the start of the film, but of course, no one takes it seriously. The film’s front-runners even used one of the scenes as a PSA for the very serious COVID-19.

3. Overlord (2018)

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If you haven’t heard of this film before, it’s okay — most people haven’t. The film, produced by J.J. Abrams, was released around the same time as Bohemian Rhapsody, meaning it was ultimately overshadowed. If you enjoy the historical aspect of films, I would place this at the top of your list.

On the eve of D-Day, a squad of American paratroopers finds itself in a part of France occupied by Nazis. The remaining survivors are Boyce (Jovan Adepo), Ford (Wyatt Russell),  Tibbet (John Magaro) and Chase (Iain De Caestecker). The team still has to finish the remainder of the mission which is destroying a radio transmitter at the peak of a fortified church. In the process of this, they meet Chloe (Mathilde Ollivier) who cares for her 8-year-old brother and mysteriously ill aunt. They all soon uncover the horrific experiments that occur at this church where no one returns.

Overlord takes a somewhat different approach to the horror genre. It focuses more so on a fictional aspect to the very real experiments done by Nazis. This film doesn’t necessarily fall into the box of the outbreak or pandemic genre, but it’s worth your while and ultimately deserves more attention than it was given. Overlord seamlessly blends an old-time, war movie into one that encompasses a sci-fi horror thriller all in one. If you’re one for action and minimal drama, I suggest this one for not only you but the whole family as well.

2. Contagion (2011)

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It was only right to choose a film that showcases a virus almost identical to the coronavirus at times. Steven Soderbergh’s thriller features numerous familiar faces. It follows a woman (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) who contracts an illness after traveling from Hong Kong for a business trip. Things deteriorate quickly as her sickness worsens. Within two days, she’s pronounced dead, much to her husband’s, Matt Damon, shock.

Scientists discover this new disease that is referred to as MEV-1, thought to have derived from pigs and bats. The disease is easily spread through contact with infected surfaces and respiratory droplet transmission. The illness spreads as hysteria accelerates and conspiracy theorists thrive off of panic.

If you’re over the gimmicky aspect of pandemic flicks and prefer the realism aspect that most movies fail out, this is one of your best bets. However, the thriller is overall bleak and is accurate in its depiction of the result of a virus over society. It manages to visit concepts such as social distancing and the importance of cleanliness. This movie also highlights the dangers of misinformation and the chaos when protective measures aren’t taken.

1. 28 Days Later (2002)

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Danny Boyle and Andrew Garland are brilliant in their telling of a post-apocalyptic world. Jim (Cillian Murphy),  a bicycle courier, wakes up from a coma 28 days following an initial outbreak of a virulent infectious disease. Whilst wandering through a dystopian London, Jim ends up at a church where he quickly learns things aren’t as they once were. Jim encounters an infected priest but is saved by two survivors, Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley). Jim has to learn to adapt after society has completely collapsed under the stress of this looming threat.

I appreciate this film most for its grunge look and its role in the resurgence of the zombie genre. The horror flick is high intensity, never quite giving the audience a sense of relief until the end of the film (where two endings are offered). I find Boyle’s approach to the virus interesting. It derives from somewhere inside, as the virus makes someone uncontrollably give into the rage most of us feel deep down inside.

That being said, I hope that everyone stays safe during this time and practices protective measures. Social distancing and isolating ourselves from others isn’t ideal but it’s to help ourselves in the long run. The sooner we take that step, the sooner we’re free to enjoy our regular lives. Hopefully, you find something that piques your interest from this list of movies and remember, wash your hands!

Featured image via Insider

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