Watch the Outbreak from Your Couch

Movie/Show Recommendations about Viruses


Cade Campbell, Writer

We’re in quarantine and we will most likely be inside for the next few weeks. So what do we do? Run rampant among the house, screaming and flailing are shirts about in the air as we pretend to massacre cowboys for our tribe? I don’t think so. We’ll be chillin’ in front of our TV most likely, constantly asking ourselves this question: “What’s next?”


Well, I suppose I can help with that in some way. At least for a little while. I have gathered a list of 10 total movies and tv shows that have something to do with a virus or disease outbreak in one way or another. This list is actually surprisingly versalite. Now I’m going to be honest, this list was hard to make, as a lot of movies out there about this kind of suck a lot of the classics are about natural disasters rather than epidemics, which doesn’t really fit our scenario (unless you’re taking climate change into account). Some of these movies and shows I have already seen in the past and chose to rewatch and some of them I watched this week just to see if it belonged on this list or not, because I will never recommend a bad film, Nope, never. In someone’s opinion it may be bad, but not mine. 


Now let’s get to the list, which is in no particular order.




“Carriers” is a film that I had never heard of before. I had logged onto Netflix and saw that “Outbreak” was #10 on “U.S. Today” so I automatically knew that was off my list, because it was already in your faces. So I scrolled down just searching for any hint of a movie with anything to do with viruses and then I went on my “Suggested for You” page and saw this film. The title automatically gave me hope, so I clicked on it and the premise sounded promising. Promising for the list, I mean. Overall it sounded like an overused premise, a story that had been repeated time and time again. But after watching it, I was pleasantly surprised. It captured my attention the whole time and it was actually GOOD. That’s what shocked me, I expected to get bored of it or just have it be some mediocre movie I watched, but Chris Pine definitely held this one together. I was glad i watched it, so now I’m passing the joy on to you. Go watch it, it’s still on Netflix!


2. “Contagion”

I first saw this film in Mr. Seale’s class freshman year, and whenever all this stuff happened it was the first movie to pop in my head besides “Planet of the Apes.” It’s a very interesting film, which surprised me, because I was used to being shown movies in my science classes that I didn’t particularly care for. This movie entails a pandemic, quarantine, and society’s panic as it spreads, and if this virus got a lot worse than it is, like super bad, this film could be what we’re living. It’s available through the Cinemax tv channel or app (if you have cable) or if you’re subscribed through Cinemax on Amazon or Hulu you should also be able to watch it free.


3. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Now this is a fun movie to watch. You have great acting, a great story, and solid science fiction along with a pretty action filled story. In the film, these doctors are looking for a cure of alzheimers, and they create this retrovirus which gives chimpanzees a human level of intelligence, but that same virus also kills humans. Hmm, interesting. I think the tables have turned in this one. It also sprung two sequels to form a trilogy, which were also good movies. It’s available through the HBO tv channel or app (if you have cable) or if you’re subscribed through HBO on Amazon or Hulu you should also be able to watch it free.


4. “See”

“See” is probably one of my favorites on this list. It’s a tv show on Apple tv + that takes place centuries after 98% of mankind has been wiped out from a virus. As a result of the virus, everyone born since then has been blind, so they’ve returned to more hunter-gatherer ways of life. It’s very interesting seeing what it could have looked like if the whole world was blind. It follows a story of a family, in which two children have been born with the sin of sight. Now, I started watching this during spring break, and due to multiple factors I couldn’t finish it until this week, but I finished it just for this. I honestly didn’t even know what it was about until I clicked play, but when I saw that a virus had wiped out nearly all of mankind my jaw dropped open. I thought, “Well if this isn’t relevant, I don’t know what is.” That’s what inspired me to make this list. I realized there are so many people out there who have already thought of the same thing many people are thinking right now. What do we do during something like this, with the coronavirus going around? What do we do after? This show is a great twist on this kind of story.


5. “The Seventh Seal”

Now, this movie is not for everyone, I know that. This film is in Swedish, so one would have to watch it in subtitles, but luckily it is available on youtube for free. It’s a black and white movie from 1957 about a man who came back home from the crusades only to find the Death taking many people out in his home country. He is approached by Death,a dn in order to postpone his demise, he plays a game of chess with Death, stating that if he wins, Death must not touch him yet. I also watched this movie specifically to make this list, but it was beyond great. It’s got so many great themes, and heavily weighs in on the opinion of faith and the meaning of life and the consequences of death, as well as right and wrong. This film is completely loaded, on top of the fact that it takes place during a time when a disease is wiping so many people out. 


6. “In the Shadow of the Moon” 

“In the Shadow of the Moon” is also one of my favorites on this list. It begins in the 80s, where a detective begins to hunt down a serial killer that only appears every nine years. But whenever the killer does, they kill the person with a deadly virus. I watched this movie in December and I absolutely loved it. It was a great story that kept me intrigued during it’s mind-bending 2 hours. It’s a Netflix original, and I know nearly all of you have Netflix. It’s worth the watch.


7. “It Comes at Night”

This is my absolute favorite movie on this list. It kept me in my sight, and although some may find it slow, I found it told perfectly. It’s not necessarily about the virus outbreak itself as much as it is about surviving on your own without society and without getting infected. If I had to recommend a movie to absolutely watch on this list it would be it. During a virus outbreak, a family relocates to a cabin in the woods to live off their life, trying to stay safe and survive. What I think is intriguing is it doesn’t say anything about the virus itself. Not how long it’s been active, or where it came from or what it is. Just that it’s out there and they’re afraid of it. The acting is superb and the story is extremely detailed and raw. Now this does lean more on the horror side than the past features on this list as well. But, it’s too good to miss. Plus we all have time on our hands. It’s on Netflix.


8. “The Rain”

Yet, another subtitled thing on this list. Although you can watch it with english dubbed audio if you must. “The Rain” is a Netflix original Danish tv-show in which very quickly within the first episode we learn that a deadly virus has just been released, and due to multiple factors, it’s in the rain.  This doesn’t hit too close to home, as it gets very science fiction very fast, but it does in the fact that the kids the story is about are around our age, if not a little older. So far it’s got two seasons under its belt, both pretty short. I watched the first season in one day one weekend during freshman year, so it doesn’t take that long to watch, and it’s a very interesting story. Think “The Maze Runner” but a ton better, a better told story, and more interesting characters.


9. “Black Summer”

This I believe is my favorite show on this list. It’s directing and action is uncanny. The episodes range from 45 minutes to under 20 minutes. It’s a very interesting take on zombies too. It has very long takes and very different characters that deal with zombies in very different ways. From the very beginning scene you are put into action. There’s not much to the story, but there is character development and it does have an end goal, where they must reach a place they believe is safe. Just all-in-all though it is a very unique take on the zombie-trope and I’m surprised it never got any hype because i’ve rewatched it so many times due to how entertaining it is. It’s a Netflix original. Go enjoy that full course meal.


10. “The Horseman on the Roof”

Here you go, another super great film on this list. This is a close favorite to “It Comes at Night” although this film is dramatically different. This film is a french romance movie set in 1830s France during a cholera outbreak. I really don’t know how much to say without spoiling, so I won’t say much. I will say though, that my mom loves this movie, and I watched this movie with her as a boy. It has been years since I’ve seen it though so I rewatched it this week to remember everything, and I think it has every right to be on this list. One, because it’s a great movie and 2), because cholera was a very serious epidemic. It’s cheap to rent or buy, because it came out in 1990, but I checked the other day and it’s also on youtube for free. Some people that post movies really can be the life of the quarantine party, huh. Anyway it’s an astounding period romance. Go give it a try!


Now, this list is probably not what you had in mind for outbreak films and shows. You were probably thinking it would be filled with things like “Contagion” and “Carriers”, and that’s what I figured. But then I realized there were so many unique and super good takes on the whole virus outbreak storyline that I decided to find the best and watch them for myself so that I could recommend only the best. Just this one week I watched about three or four movies and a whole two seasons worth of shows for this list. It was difficult to try to find that much time, but it was worth it and it definitely made my quarantine much more fun. It also offers me some fun things to think about. Now this list wasn’t made entirely for you to read! Go watch!