Top 18 Pandemic and Virus-Themed Movies That Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat


Explore our handpicked selection of the most gripping pandemic and virus-themed films, featuring thrilling narratives and star-studded casts, perfect for an unforgettable movie night!

Older couple watching a scary movie.  (Adobe Stock 644134591 by Lumos sp)

Older couple watching a scary movie.

(Adobe Stock 644134591 by Lumos sp)

After you open your holiday presents, embark on a cinematic journey through pandemics, viruses, and apocalyptic adventures! We've compiled a thrilling list of films that will make your heart race, your mind ponder, and your laughter burst out unexpectedly.

From infectious outbreaks to post-apocalyptic worlds, these movies have it all. So, grab your popcorn, hunker down, and join us on this thrilling rollercoaster of pandemic-themed cinema!

1. Outbreak (1995)

  • Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 59%
  • Outbreak is a fictional story about the American government's response to a deadly pandemic. The story features the possibility of bombing a California town where most of the residents are sick. With Morgan Freeman and Dustin Hoffman, it must be good.

2. Contagion (2011)

  • Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 85%
  • Contagion explores societal reactions during a pandemic, boasting a star-studded cast.

3. World War Z (2013)

  • Starring: Brad Pitt
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 66%
  • A mix of pandemic and zombie apocalypse, envisioning a society plagued by a virus. Good movie, but could it really happen?

4. 28 Days Later (2002)

  • Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 87%
  • Set post-pandemic, 1 month after a virus outbreak turns people into "rage" zombies. More zombies….

5. 12 Monkeys (1995)

  • Starring: Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 88%
  • Combining pandemics and time travel, it follows a quest to uncover a deadly virus's origins. Bruce Willis shines as always.

6. Black Death (2010)

  • Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Carice van Houten
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 71%
  • Set during the bubonic plague, it involves a young monk on a mission to a necromancer-infested village. Eddie is back in the past.

7. The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

  • Starring: Vincent Price
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 65%
  • A horrifying adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's story, of course, because…Vincent Price.

8. Flu (2013)

  • Starring: Jang Hyuk, Soo Ae, Min-ah Park
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 61%
  • Set in South Korea, it depicts chaos amid an airborne virus outbreak near Seoul. Dubbed in English from Korean, the movie is a look into what could happen.

9. Infection (2019)

  • Starring: Rubén Guevara, Leonidas Urbina, Magdiel González
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: n/a
  • A man races to save his son during a rabies virus turning people into rampaging zombies. More zombies….

10. The Happening (2008)

  • Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 24%
  • Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, it portrays an unknown virus causing suicides. Like most Shyamalan movies, it is suspenseful…and terrifying.

11. Blindness (2008)

  • Starring: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 44%
  • A world grappling with an epidemic that causes blindness. This is an adaption of Jose Sarmago’s 1995 book of the same name. Sarmago is a Portuguese author.

12. Bird Box (2018)

  • Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 64%
  • Netflix original where a mysterious pathogen prompts mass suicides.

13. Carriers (2009)

  • Starring: Chris Pine, Piper Perabo, Lou Taylor Pucci –
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 66%
  • Four friends navigate a virus outbreak while confronting their own darkness. Sounds good with Chris Pine in it.

14. Zombieland (2009)

  • Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 89%
  • A humorous take on a "mad zombie disease" spreading across the US. Good to have some humor!

15. I Am Legend (2007)

  • Starring: Will Smith
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 69%
  • It is set in a post-apocalyptic world after a pathogen outbreak transforms humans.

16. Quarantine (2008)

  • Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Steve Harris, Columbus Short
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 56%
  • A "found footage" film follows a TV reporter and cameraman in a quarantined building.

17. The Andromeda Strain (1971)

  • Starring: James Olson, David Wayne, Arthur Hill, and Kate Reid
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 67%
  • Based on Michael Crichton's novel, it follows scientists investigating a mysterious virus's impact on a town.

18. Containment (2015)

  • Starring: Lee Ross, Sheila Reid, Louise Brealey, Pippa Nixon
  • Rotten Tomato Rating: 92%
  • A British thriller film set in the present-day United Kingdom. Editor’s note: Excellent movie.
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