The most terrifying pandemic-themed movies

Quarantining at home? Here are films about viruses and widespread diseases that you can watch

pandemic-themed movies

When the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020, a lot of movie buffs couldn’t help but compare the ongoing global health emergency to a number of pandemic-themed movies. Though things got a little better in some parts of the world a year after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the development and deployment of vaccines, it’s too early to tell how exactly the health crisis would end.

Despite the uncertainty, people are generally hopeful that the COVID-19 pandemic won’t lead to the end of mankind, which is one of the most common endings of films about pandemics, viruses, outbreaks, and widespread diseases. If you’re one of those who don’t mind watching these kinds of flicks in the middle of a real pandemic, then check out some of the most terrifying pandemic-themed movies on the list below.

12 Monkeys (1995)

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Inspired by Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée, 12 Monkeys centers on James Cole (Bruce Willis), a convict from 2030s who is sent back to 1997 to gather information about a man-made virus that wiped out the majority of the world’s human population. In the movie’s version of 1997, people live in cages underground and have to wear condom-like bodysuit to avoid infection.

Though some critics find 12 Monkeys’ plot a bit of a jumble, mind-blowing plot twists and excellent performances from the cast make the Terry Gilliam-directed movie an eccentric and impactful experience. Aside from Willis, the film also stars Madeleine Stowe, Christopher Plummer, David Morse, and Brad Pitt, who earned an Oscar Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as psychotic mental patient Jeffrey Goines.