10 Pandemic Films You Probably Shouldn’t Watch Right Now… or Maybe You Should?

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, more and more of us are opting to stay indoors. So, apart from those wink-wink good times, what is there to do? Watch stuff, of course!

If you’re wondering what else to add to your quarantine binge list, perhaps don’t add these titles to the line-up. And by don’t, we mean do… or don’t… or whatever. If you wanna feel more comfy, check out the titles on Netflix we’ve suggested right HERE.

• THE CRAZIES (1973)

Overview: Directed by horror legend George Romero, The Crazies follows the story of a town infected by a virus which leads victims to die, or become homicidally insane. A mix of horror and science fiction keeps the plot entertaining, and Romero, as always, delivers in violence and gore.

Why you should watch it:

An nice stereotypical elderly lady stabs someone to death with a knitting needle. Then there are scenes so reminiscent of the Toilet Paper riots gripping grocery stores worldwide in the present day it’s surreal. After watching this you will feel confident taking on anybody who gets between you and the 3-ply in Aisle 5. And no, we aren’t condoning violence… just, you know, making you feel confident?

• I AM LEGEND (2007)

 Overview: Partly adapted from the classic novel written by Richard Matheson of the same name, the film follows Will Smith as seemingly the last man on Earth, albeit with his K-9 pal and fun zombie-like creatures that wanna party – or something. The creatures don’t resemble the ones in the book and the film culminates in an ending that.. also wasn’t in the book?! Yeah, read the book, too. 

Why you should watch it:

Okay – it’s not the best. But Will Smith brings himself, and two hours with Will isn’t too bad. Perhaps if it was just me and big Willy, we could become friends. Man, that’d be cool. I am Legend reminds me that in the darkest days, there’s a glimmer of hope always present (and that hope being you, Will. Be careful out there, buddy. Could be “Just the Two of Us” soon).

• 12 MONKEYS (1995)

Overview: A disease really is just a plot device. This Terry Gilliam-directed classic has Bruce Willis travellling through time to stop Brad Pitt, who plays an extreme environmentalist that’s locked up in a mental institution and who releases a virus that wipes out almost all of humanity. A sci-fi thriller mystery ensues, with just that hint of the disease plot point present to keep this entry relevant in the article.

Why you should watch it:

Because it’s a great movie. It will entertain you. There’s something for everyone. And Brad Pitt at peak Brad Pitt (even though he just won an Oscar – but he’s crazeee in this one!).

• CABIN FEVER (2002)

Overview: Eli Roth’s directorial debut is a Horror-Comedy where a group of college grads head to a cabin and are met with a flesh-eating disease. As it begins to infect them, one by one, they begin to crack under the pressure.

Why you should watch it:

Roth was inspired by a flesh-eating infection he actually contracted on holiday. The film also shows the disease originating from an animal (not a bat, unfortunately). It’s basically a true story. Also, it’s entertaining and funny; infection and death CAN be humourous!

• PATIENT ZERO (2018)

Overview: With a plot that reads as a straight rip off of 28 Days Later as well as most zombie action films from the early 2000’s, this film brings absolutely nothing new to the table. If you’ve seen more that two films from the era from which this film takes clear inspiration, I almost guarantee you could come up with something better.

Why you should watch it:

Uhh… you shouldn’t watch this, really. There’s much better around. But as a plus, it might make you feel better about the threat of Coronavirus, ‘cos if worst comes to worst, you’ll never have to see it again! Hooray!

Wait, Natalie Dormer* is in this? Err, in that case… must see!!

*Sorry, Natalie. I’d like to make a personal apology – just send me (I mean, us) your details or connect with Screen Realm on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook (seamless brand integration!) and I’ll get back to you.

• THE STAND (1994 miniseries)

Overview: Okay, yes, it’s not a movie. I straight-up lied in the headline. Based on the novel by Stephen King, the 8-hour marathon miniseries is perhaps the most comprehensive and faithful adaption of one of his works. The novel deals with an Apocalyptic Pandemic event, the immediate aftermath of the event, and transitions to a more thematic Good v Evil conflict between two groups of survivors.

Why you should watch it:

With so much time to kill in quarantine as we stare at screens and avoid roommates and loved ones, this will thankfully take a whole day to watch. It also features an all-star 90’s cast, featuring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwold, and was adapted by Mr King himself. The Coronavirus has ironically boosted interest in the series, and with a remake out later this year, one must wonder if a marketer has taken the term Viral Marketing too literally.

• THE OMEGA MAN (1971)

Overview: Partially adapted from the classic novel “I Am Legend” written by Richard Matheson (… Wait a second!?…), this is also a liberal adaptation of the novel, where a man survives in a Post-Apocalyptic environment. This time, however, the K-9 companion has been replaced by a lady companion!

Why you should watch it:

The film is considered among the most classic Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi films of all time. Will Smith is replaced with Charlton Heston, which should inform the tonal differences. It deserves its place on the list due to containing the first instance of an interracial kiss in Hollywood. For some reason, self-isolation + interracial just sounds like the perfect match for all.

• THE HAPPENING (2008)

Overview: From Oscar-nominated writer-director M. Knight Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Glass) and starring Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and Golden Globe nominee Zooey Deschanel, comes a blockbuster thriller where people begin to randomly off themselves in creative ways. Marky Mark (sans Funky Bunch) plays a high school science teacher who discovers that it’s really the trees that are the enemy, along with their accomplice… wind.

Why you should watch it:

For starters, it’s hilarious. Mark Wahlberg delivers perhaps the greatest moment of acting of his career to date.

Fun aside, the theories on the origin of the Coronavirus strain are numerous and vary on the conspiracy-realistic spectrum. But why hasn’t anyone brought up those bastard trees and wind? It’s an oversight that should be looked into more thoroughly. I swear, some of the greenery outside my window has been acting mighty suspicious.

• THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (1971)

Overview: Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, of Jurassic Park fame, who was also a practicing medical doctor before his writing career, The Andromeda Strain looks at a scenario of “first contact” with an unknown, possibly extra-terrestrial virus. While somewhat dated, the fundamental science and biochemistry is solid (according to my in-depth YouTube and meme-based knowledge of all things science) and adds to the authenticity of the thriller’s atmosphere as the scientists rush to study and cure the virus before a worldwide Pandemic ensures.

Why you should watch it:

Perhaps one of the more “realistic” films on the list, the film has an appreciation of the knowledge, dedication and hard work scientists and medical doctors do out of the spotlight to protect society as a whole. Like Jurassic Park, this is fiction based around some very real… stuff, and it’s entertaining throughout.

I just wish those doctors in that lab down the road from that market had given it a few watches and picked up some tips earlier.

•••••

So, don’t watch these films if you’re easily anxious and this situation is deeply worrying you. Or, do watch them and get some pointers!

GOD SPEED, EVERYONE!

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Australian raised, now rumoured to reside in New Zealand. Despite his age and greying hair, he prefers to act as if he is still in his 20's and refuses to take anything seriously. With no friends or social life, he turns to TV, Film and Novels to fill the gap in his soul. Currently has over 2 followers on Twitter.