Public Pandemic Panic: Our 7 Top Viral/Pandemic Films

Amid the panic and hysteria that has spread throughout our world right now, I myself found opportunity. Everyone in the modern age of cinema seems to have a obsession with films portraying global pandemic/viral infections. Whether it be a form of mutated rabies to a sickness with no origin that just happens to appear one day, we all have this unrelenting interest in disease, trepidation and the results that follow. So, while the radio informs us all of new information on the global affliction that is now the reality we live in, please enjoy our list of our 7 Top Viral/Pandemic Films.

Contagion (2011)

Although not exactly a horror film per se, the grim reality of our situation has made this film a terrorizing nightmare in our eyes. Contagion (2011) is one of the most streamed movies at the moment due to its realistic portrayal of how viruses and pandemics actually work. This film has always been one of my favorites, because reality can be so much scarier than fantasy and deserves a spot on our Top Viral/Pandemic Films list.

Contagion is a frightening, realistic tale of what could happen when a disease spreads and worldwide panic ensues. Doctor Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns from a trip to Hong Kong and almost immediately, both she and her young son get sick and die. Her husband (Matt Damon), however, seems to be immune. Unfortunately, the doctors and administrators at the CDC don’t take action soon enough, and it’s several days before they realize the extent of the virus and what their lack of reaction actually did to the situation. Throughout the movie, scientists and health workers work to keep a deadly disease from spreading and killing more and more people, but as global panic ensues, we can only imagine what happens next… especially since this seems to be the world that we are living in right now. That in itself is scarier than any monster movie.

The Crazies (2010)

The next offering on our Top Viral/Pandemic Films list is one of my favorite movies to date, the remake of The Crazies (2010 – read our retro review of the film here). Seeing a terrific cast of characters and actors to portray them, I was excited about the remake. It definitely didn’t disappoint me. Then again, Timothy Olyphant never disappoints. He is simply one of those actors that you can’t help but enjoy. In The Crazies, his portrayal as David Dutton is played brilliantly.

A plane crash leads to the spread of a toxic virus in the small town of Ogden Marsh. The disease depletes all reason from those infected, and although they still talk, walk and retain all basic human instincts, this virus turns people into violent killers. Beginning with what seems like a fever-induced hysteria, the disease eventually turns loved ones and friends into killers.

Although the movie is a remake, I must say that it is, by far, one of the best that I have seen. The atmosphere it portrays is dark and devastating, and you can’t help but feel the fear and hopelessness that this type of situation would cause… especially when you’re literally trying to escape the devastating reality of a disease that is infecting everyone around you. If you haven’t seen The Crazies, I suggest you remedy that soon.

 28 Days Later (2003)

Danny Boyle is brilliant. I love all of his films, and I must say that these are my ultimate favorites. The 28 Days Later franchise is a collection that consists of two films, a graphic novel and a comic book series. I have always been a fan of movies about the infected. Although many refer to them as zombies, I believe that they aren’t. This Viral/Pandemic Film is the ultimate proof of that theory.

The highly contagious Rage Virus released in Great Britain leads to a literal societal collapse after hundreds of people get infected. The main character, Jim, awakens in a London hospital to find the city completely deserted… or so it seems. Jim is portrayed by Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later, and he does a magnificent job. The infected live up to the name of the disease that is burning through their veins. They are fast, dangerous and the epitome of cannibalistic actuality. It is a terrifying reality to try to comprehend, and these Viral/Pandemic Films have the dark atmosphere that comes with these types of genre flicks.

Danny Boyle is a brilliant writer and director, and this Viral/Pandemic Film is the ultimate proof of that. Following two movies were a comic book series, a graphic novel and even rumor of a 28 Months Later. I truly hope that happens, because this franchise is one that is worth every second of your viewing time.

 Resident Evil (2002)

I know that there is a lot in the Resident Evil canon. However, I am choosing to focus sorely on the 2002 film because the that one leads with the T-Virus and its chain reaction. I truly enjoy Resident Evil and to me, it had enormous potential, especially with the effects and how well the infected were portrayed. It was great.

Although I am not a huge fan of the rest of the franchise, 2002’s Resident Evil stands alone. It’s not perfect, but it is one of those films you can’t help but enjoy, if only for The Nemesis/Tyrant. He is epic and watching the fight between him and Alice is one of my ten Top Viral/Pandemic Film scenes.

Cabin Fever (2002)

Although I am aware of the 2016 remake, what I grew up with was the original Cabin Fever (2002). Written and directed by Eli Roth, Cabin Fever was a favorite of mine for a long time. This film follows a group of friends who go on a vacation to a desolate cabin in the woods. Sounds fun, right? From the very beginning, they run into strange aspects in the nearby town where I would have been like, “Hell no. I’m out!” But that would mean the movie wouldn’t exist so…. The group comes into contact with a flesh-eating sickness that essentially is a death sentence. Called necrotizing fasciitis, this virus spreads quickly and easily, eventually spreading by contaminating everyone within reach. Recently, we got the nearly identical remake as well as rumors of a television series. I also have to mention: Eli Roth didn’t disappoint with his effects, either.

Cabin Fever is a great Viral/Pandemic Film. It’s disgusting and enjoyable in all the right ways, and will forever remain one of my favorite films of 2002.


Quarantine (2008)

Another film on our Top Viral/Pandemic Films list is 2008’s Quarantine. Based off of the 2007 foreign film, REC, this remake was magnificent. I love the reality based aspect of it and the fact that with the carelessness of modern society that caused the disease. It’s something I could honestly see happening in today’s world.

After the live stream of a story on local firefighters, a young journalist follows the men to a call at a apartment building. Expecting nothing less than the usual stop, they end up in a very dangerous, bizarre situation. Some of the people in the building are infected with a strange virus mutated from rabies. The group tries to keep what’s left of the residents in the building free from infection as they struggle with this dangerous reality… when the local authorities quarantine them inside the building indefinitely. This creepy film is one of my favorites, and at a time like this, it is also a grim look into our very lives.

After watching Quarantine, I was beyond paranoid about every little possible sneeze, believe me. This one truly creeped me out because rabies truly does exist. With all the disease mutations out there, it wouldn’t surprise me if this one really does exist, locked away for now in a vault somewhere. Quarantine is a grim reality today, and although we may not be dealing with a mutated form of rabies, our lives are getting awfully close to this fictitious Viral/Pandemic Film.

Carriers (2009)

In 2009’s Carriers, an infection has spread throughout the world, eliminating most of the population. Four friends attempt to drive to Turtle Beach where they plan to hold up in a hotel and wait out the threat. The reality they portray in this Viral/Pandemic Film is more realistic than what I have actually seen since Contagion, although it focuses more on the aftermath of the global panic and not the disease itself, it is still a great film to watch.

That is our top 7 list of Viral/Pandemic Films. During this terrifying time in our society, let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a reality where we live through our own real life horror film. Nothing is scarier than when everything takes a dark turn, and right now, we are all feeling the panic.

About HorrorVision

I am a 35 old avid horror fan with a passion for writing and old movies. I love discussing and viewing movies old and new, everything horror fascinates me its a wonderful work of art that is underestimated by many.

Check Also

10 VHS Covers That Scared Me As A Kid

Sleeping With The Light On: Ten Horror VHS Covers That Creeped Me Out As A Kid

I’m sleeping with the covers pulled up over my head. Here are Ten VHS horror …