Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 10 Pandemic Movies: 12 Monkeys,. 28 Days Later, More

March 30, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
12 Monkeys

How’s everyone doing out there? Hopefully you’re finding something positive to focus on and not getting too dragged down by the realities of life. Thanks for stopping by and hope this gives you a little distraction.

Of course that will be impossible since I’m going to talk about f’n pandemic movies today! It’s real easy for this to slide into “zombie” territory so I’ll try to steer away from that but don’t let that stop you in the comments. 

This week I’ll be having my friend Boris assist in the pics since he’s a pandemic expert. And he’s from Bosnia. 

Yes, this is a Top 10 list but go easy on me in how I ranked them. I’ve been stuck in the house with 3 kids and running low on wine. 

Honorable Mentions
Train to Busan
The Masque of the Red Death

10. The Satan Bug
Granted I haven’t watched this in years, this 1965 John Sturges movie checks all the boxes when it comes to pandemic excitement. You’ve got a germ that has the potential to kill everyone on Earth and it gets stolen from a biological warfare lab. So far pretty reasonable, right? Then the thief threatens to release it into the open and all hell breaks lose. 

It’s really well shot for a 60s movie and keeps the action moving so you’re pretty well engaged throughout the movie. 

9. Perfect Sense
I’ll catch some backlash on this but I like the pairing of Eva Green and Ewan McGregor in this charming little tale directed by David Mackenzie. They keep it simple with a story that focuses on two strangers who come together to at the strangest of times. An apocalyptic epidemic of sensory loss is the backdrop that provides some cute moments in the face of imminent danger. Don’t get too turned off as there are plenty of gripping moments that will have you asking what you’d do in the same situation. 

Done in 2009, Carriers has its up and downs but has a number of “on-the-nose” moments that will give you a chill with what’s currently going on. The movies steers dark more often than not but Chris Pine, Emily Van Camp, Christopher Meloni and Piper Perabo give you plenty to ponder in this tale of 4 people looking for peace in a world torn apart by a strange virus. In the end, it’s a reminder that people are more dangerous than the virus. 

7.The Crazies
This movie will tell you what happens when a plane crashes with a toxic virus and turns people in a small town into violent killers. A pretty gripping “fight to survive” story that has plenty of panic inducing moments. 
I’m not the biggest horror/thriller guy but this is a smartly done little sprint that will have you squeezing the couch cushions. As if watching the news doesn’t already do that. 

6. The Seventh Seal 
This is one of those movie you hear a lot about and discussed but the average person hasn’t seen it. If you haven’t, now is the time to brush off this 1957 classic from Ingmar Bergman. Taking place during the Black Death plague of the 1300s, the movie centers on a knight who encounters the angel of death, and the game of chess they play for his soul.  Deep. Masterful And one of those classics that earn their title. 

5. The Andromeda Strain
I love the book by Michel Crighton and the movie sticks pretty close to the source material. Scientists investigate an infectious organism that fell to Earth from space with the clock counting to certain doom. Check this one out and note the impressive cinematography and remember this was made in 1971.

4. The Last Man on Earth
I was going back and forth with this and The Omega Man but Vincent Price beats Charleston Heston for me any day. Biological warfare has wiped out most of the population and Price’s character is somehow immune and survives all of this with the rest of the world being turned into mutants/vampires. A fun, cheesy, low budget good time that gives Price plenty of scenery to chew. 

3. 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later 
Yes, make this a double feature. Again, not a thriller/zombie guy but this one got my attention and held it the whole time as I really like the version of “not zombie” monsters that we encounter. An edge of your seat, sweat inducing ride that will have you checking the windows outside to make sure you’re safe.

2. 12 Monkeys
I just watched this and it holds up marvelously! Terry Gilliam delivers a classic with Bruce Willis playing a time traveler that’s sent back to the 1990s to find the origin of a global pandemic that nearly wipes out humanity. The movie hits close to home with current events and Brad Pitt brings the humor in this riveting story that will have you question just about everything you know.

1. Contagion
Was there any doubt? This hits a little too close to home right now but Steven Soderbergh nails this one and gives you a crash course on how diseases spread…and how easily they are spread. It’s a wild look at what goes into finding a cure and how people are their own worst enemy. Seriously. We are. 
Watch this one, if you dare.

Alright, let it go in the comments. Also, let me know how you’re spending your time indoors.