With the anticipated release of Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever on DVD/Blu-ray on February 16, it’s safe to say we’ve got deadly viral outbreaks on the mind. To get in the mood for some apocalyptic-plague fun, we’ve compiled a list of the very Best Infectious Movies on the silver screen. No outbreak is too big, no catastrophe too devastating!
28 Days Later
A man wakes up alone in a hospital, only to realize that the entire city has been abandoned. He soon comes to realize the horrible truth: everybody has either fled in terror or fallen victim to the Rage, a blood-borne virus that transforms humans into the ravenous undead. He and a ragtag group of survivors must make their way to safety before they, too, fall victim to the Rage. While it could technically be defined as a zombie film, the Rage plague is as disastrous as any threat to humanity could get.
When you’re taking on massive hordes of zombie monsters, and winning, no less, you’ve definitely earned a spot on the badass hall of fame. Milla Jovovich steps into the role of the genetically-altered Alice, saving the day in every which way – or at least trying to, as she struggles to defeat the harrowing supervirus, carried by sub-humans that have broken free from their underground hive and threatening mass human extinction. Gory, apocalyptic and ripped right out of video-game heaven, the Resident Evil franchise has spawned countless fans and fantasies of beautiful vixens saving the world from the most nightmarish plague imaginable.
Five college buddies retreat to the woods for a little R & R and end up getting a horrific lesson in infectious disease. A wayward, forest-dwelling vagrant (Arie Verveen) crosses their path, his skin badly desiccated by a mysterious virus. Fearing for their own lives, the quintet decide to do away with the man, with little success: He stumbles away from the campsite and into a nearby stream, where his disease quickly infects the local water supply. It isn’t long before the oblivious co-eds get a taste of the man’s illness, and in their desperation, each learns that he or she will stop at nothing to survive.
Based on a short film called La Jetee, the film follows Bruce Willis as a criminal from a terrible future in which a global plague has pushed mankind underground, with devastating result. Cole is sent back in time to obtain a sample of the original plague before it mutated, for obvious intents of finding a cure. On his first time-trip to the past, Cole is committed to a mental hospital where he meets Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) who we eventually learn is part of a terrorist group called The Army of the Twelve Monkeys – the group believed to be behind the spreading of the plague. What Cole doesn’t grasp in his delirium (he loses the ability to determine what time he’s in or whether he’s dreaming) is that, at least in this reality, changing history is impossible, so his efforts are essentially useless and mankind is inevitably doomed.
When a U.S. satellite crashes into the little rural town of Piedmont, New Mexico, a horrific disease wipes out nearly all the inhabitants, making them suicidal and turning their blood to powder. Pandemic panic ensues as the government realizes that the satellite brought something back from outer space that could be the ultimate biological weapon. A group of scientists assemble at a top-secret facility to determine how to find an antidote for the mysterious infection, but will they make it on time?
A small monkey creates a chain reaction of infection of the dangerous Motaba virus, which results in hemorrhagic fever, extreme sweating and body sores before total nervous system failure and death. Very, very unpleasant death. The government tries to be helpful at first, but when the virus can’t be contained as easily as they anticipated, they contemplate dropping a nuclear bomb on the infected area. Unless doctors can find the source of the virus, the monkey, millions of people will die (spoiler alert: they find it).
When a government-created supervirus escapes the lab it was created in, the resulting infections may wipe out all of humanity. While the film doesn’t do half of the justice to the Stephen King that it should, the overall concept and visual execution of The Stand – including the mass death in the Lincoln Tunnel – is one of the most terrifying apocalyptic depictions you’ll see on film. Bonus points for the appearance of the horrifying Randall Flagg, a frequent character among King’s novels.
Written and directed by Neil Marshal, Doomsday takes place in the future, where Scotland has been quarantined for three decades due to the onset of a deadly virus nicknamed "Reaper". When the virus grows stronger and rises again, panic breaks out and the streets descend into madness. Political leaders send Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) to Scotland to find a cure based on evidence of survivors, where they find two distinct groups: marauders and medieval warriors, fighting for survival in what can only be perceived as hell on Earth.