Best Movies to Watch During a Pandemic

Author: Kirstin Toms - MarCom/Monday, August 24, 2020/Categories: TV & Streaming TV

Best Movies to Watch During a Pandemic

You may have seen the meme that shows a sign in a bookstore window: “Our Post-apocalyptic Fiction section has been moved to Current Affairs.” The same holds true for movies. For some, watching dystopian movies provides catharsis and therapy. Whoever imagined movies like “The Hunger Games” would suddenly become so relatable?

Here are some of our favorite choices of movies to watch on TV or On Demand during a pandemic. 

“Mad Max” (1979)

Breakout heartthrob Mel Gibson found his footing in the late ’70s with the first movie in the “Mad Max” series. The first in the series of four features “Mad" Max Rockatansky as an Australian highway patrolman, policing the roads and keeping citizens safe amidst a societal collapse. When the leather-clad bad guys show up threatening vandalism, robbery, and murder, Max isn't having any of it. This dystopian action thriller has motorcycle gang villains, car chases, explosions, and revenge, all set within a crumbling Australia.

“28 Days Later” (2002)

Directed by Danny Boyle of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame, “28 Days Later” is the movie credited for reigniting the post-apocalyptic zombie genre. The film begins with Jim (played by Cillian Murphy), a bicycle courier in London, awaking from a 28-day-long coma to find the hospital and the entire city empty. Soon enough, he discovers a life-altering virus has ravaged the planet and all humans along with it. But these aren't your ordinary, slow-moving zombies. They are inhumanly fast and strong, a first for the zombie genre. Follow Jim and the friends he finds along the way as they struggle for survival.

“Outbreak” (1995)

When “Outbreak” was released in 1995, there was a real-life Ebola outbreak taking place in Zaire, which made this pandemic film all the more significant and terrifying. Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and a slew of other big-name celebrities play U.S. Army officers, CDC technicians, and health experts attempting to stop an Ebola-like virus from spreading. Much of the movie takes place in a small California town where the entire community is quarantined and martial law is imposed. Government agencies and health officials work together in search of a tiny capuchin monkey responsible for hosting the deadly virus before Operation Clean Sweep wipes the infected town off the map.

“Contagion” (2011)

Highly relevant, Contagion begins with a virus quickly sweeping the entire world. The pandemic moves so fast that all social order collapses amid attempted quarantines and a lottery that selects which citizens will get the vaccines that are in short supply. Director Steven Soderbergh's goal was to make an ultra-realistic pandemic movie. He succeeded with help from a crew of actual epidemiologists, including the world-renowned expert Larry Brilliant. If the movie feels familiar, it's because Brilliant predicted the coronavirus pandemic and used that information to create Soderbergh's medical disaster film nine years ago.

“The Hunger Games” (2012)

Based on the young adult trilogy written by Suzanna Collins, “The Hunger Games” follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a future dystopia called Panem. Panem is divided into 12 districts, segregated based on the natural resources of each area. The tyrannical government exploits the people of Panem for their resources and labor. At one point, there stood 13 districts. Sadly, District 13 rebelled at some point, and the government obliterated the region. Thus began the Hunger Games as punishment. Now, every year, one boy and one girl from each district must participate in this game, where the goal is to be the last person alive. The film begins with Katniss's little sister being selected as a tribute for the annual Hunger Games, and Katniss bravely taking her place.

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