6 Blockbusters Exploring Outbreaks

Deja Magee, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

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With illnesses like coronavirus, Ebola and the swine flu making headlines in recent years, Hollywood has played on people’s fear of an outbreak eradicating the human race. These six movies explore how one disease could be the end of life on earth as we know it.

World War Z
In this 2013 movie adaptation of Max Brooks’ book by the same name, Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former investigator for the United Nations who has to try and find a cure for the outbreak of disease that turns humans into zombies. With the help of military scientists, Lane races against time to find the source of the illness so they can create a vaccine.


“Contagion”
A movie inspired by epidemics like the 2003 SARS and the 2009 flu pandemic, this 2011 film directed by Steven Soderbergh, famous for films like “Erin Brockovich” and “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” depicts a familiar situation that is going on right now: the spread of a virus while major health officials and organizations try to figure out what the illness is and how to contain it while trying to keep the public safe.

“28 Days Later”
A 2002 zombie movie that completely redefined the way we look at zombies and post-apocalyptic films today, “28 Days Later” shows what it’s like when society has been completely driven to disarray and anarchy after the accidental release of a virus. The story focuses on four survivors in Britain trying to figure out how to live in this new society.

“I Am Legend”
A 2007 film starring Will Smith adapted from the novel of the same name. Smith stars as Robert Neville, a U.S. Army virologist who lives in New York City after a virus has almost completely wiped out mankind. The virus was supposed to be able to cure cancer, but instead it did the exact opposite and turned everyone infected into mutant vampire-like beings.

“Resident Evil”
A 2002 film loosely based on the video game of the same name, starring Milla Jovovich as Alice, an amnesiac and the protagonist of the story. The movie follows Alice and a group of Umbrella Corporation soldiers as they try to defeat and contain the outbreak of a T-virus in an underground facility.

“Invasion”
From the fourth adaptation of the book “The Body Snatchers” by Jack Finney, this 2007 film follows a psychiatrist, played by Nicole Kidman, who must survive with her son when her ex-husband and the people around her are turning emotionless from an alien flu that came from the crash of a space shuttle.