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5 Movies That Predicted an Outbreak Like COVID-19

Maybe life is a movie, after all.

Oscar Wilde once said, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” This is a saying some people might disagree with, but with everything that is happening this year, nothing seems to be impossible anymore. 

Filmmakers have always come up with the most out-of-this-world concepts and bizarre storylines to feed viewers’ imaginations. And as it turns out, some of their most mind-numbing ideas such as a zombie apocalypse, unfortunate celebrity deaths, and virus outbreaks may not be as ridiculous as we thought. (Read: Dwayne Johnson Shares Learnings After Contracting COVID-19)

With the ongoing pandemic, it feels like every day is a cutout scene from a fictional movie. But have you thought of the possibility that they are not entirely fictional, after all? Here, we list five movies that may just prove our theory! 

Outbreak (1995)

Photo from Letterboxd

Outbreak is an American medical disaster film from the 90s directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston’s non-fiction book, The Hot Zone. It tells the story of a small town in California that becomes entirely quarantined when the residents fall victim to an Ebola-like virus from monkeys.

The movie focuses on the military and health personnel containing and treating the infected citizens, but also explores the political forces taking advantage of the situation.

Flu (2013)

Photo from Amazon

This Kim Sung-su disaster film premiered in South Korea in 2013.  It’s about an outbreak of a deadly strain of H5N1 that kills its victims within 36 hours and causes the city to become quarantined. Some scenes feature intense and crazy realities in an outbreak, from strict protocols and riots breaking out—the hallmarks of the world’s current situation with COVID-19.

Carriers (2009)

Photo from Paramount Vantage / Made in Atlantis

Carriers is an American post-apocalyptic film written and directed by Àlex and David Pastor in 2009. The film, which circles on a  group of survivors trying to find a pandemic-free zone before they get hit by a virus, stars great actors such as Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, and Emily VanCamp.

“I Am Legend” (2009)

Photo from Amazon

I Am Legend is a post-apocalyptic action thriller film based on the 1954 novel of the same title by Richard Matheson. The film takes place in a world where genetically re-engineered vaccines turn everyone else into bloodthirsty mutants. (Read: How Close Are We to Finding a COVID-19 Vaccine?)

The film was directed by Francis Lawrence and stars Will Smith as the only uninfected person left on the planet. The story unfolds as Smith’s character, US Army virologist Robert Neville, tries to find a cure.

Contagion (2011)

Photo from Film Radar YouTube

If there’s one medical disaster film that is reminiscent of what’s been going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. The movie is about the spread of a virus transmitted by respiratory droplets and fomites—much like that of COVID-19—and how medical practitioners and public officials gobble up to contain the virus amid rising social disorder. (Read: 5 Movies and TV Shows About Medical Workers)

Contagion was released in 2011. It stars Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Ehle, and Sanaa Lathan.

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