5 Movies Like ‘Contagion’ to Help You Process These Crazy Times

'The Happening' movie
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox.

For some of us, it might seem counterintuitive to watch more movies like Contagion as we’re holed up in our homes, with little other choice than to simply wait this thing out. For others—and we’re willing to bet, even those who don’t think they fit into this category—it can be a real salve.

You see, there’s no way around it: Our real-life circumstances have evolved into the stuff of cinema—as unprecedented, uncertain, and unwieldy as any one of these films could have predicted. Sometimes, the best way around our fear is to dig our heels into the dirt and get real comfortable with the world these movies offered us (and all over a decade ago, to boot).

Maybe watching them will give us tools for navigating the world we’re in now. Maybe you’ll come out feeling a little braver, and a little more ready to watch, say, some Netflix documentaries instead of your streaming comedies. Or better yet: both.

Read on below for StyleCaster’s list of best movies like Contagion, available to rent or stream now.

Outbreak (1995)

Where: Netflix, Amazon Prime

This ’90s classic features a rugged Dustin Hoffman as a contagious disease expert and his ex-wife, played by Rene Russo, working around the clock alongside a team of doctors to contain a lethal airborne virus. As The New York Times put it, we’re pretty much just living out the sequel.

Blindness (2008)

Where: Amazon Prime

When a city of people begins to mysteriously lose their eyesight, authorities decide to quarantine the afflicted in an abandoned mental hospital. This film is a mirror to the best and worst of humanity—from those who take advantage of the plagued, to those brave enough—i.e., a doctor played by Julianne Moore—that they step into the crosshairs themselves.

The Happening (2008)

Where: Hulu, Amazon Prime

M. Night Shyamalan’s “easiest” movie to film was only that due to its series of seriously inexplicable events. Don’t expect to understand why The Happening‘s worldwide population begins to commit suicide en masse, or why nature itself appears to be rebelling by the film’s end. Just know that the performances by Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo make this strange, eerie film worth it.

Carriers (2009)

Where: Netflix, Amazon Prime

What happens when you try to outrun a deadly virus? This underrated Chris Pine-led film sets out to answer that, as four friends venture out across an American desert in fear of a pandemic that’s now gripped the nation. Yet in trying to elude one thing, they realize that oftentimes it’s our innate nature that proves to be our undoing, anyway.

Black Death (2010)

Where: Tubi (Free)

One of the finer films set during 14th-century England’s bout with the bubonic plague, Black Death stars a younger Eddie Redmayne and the inimitable Sean Bean as they trace news of someone bringing plague victims back from the dead. Your dose of viral anxiety, with a pinch of good old fashioned necromancer myths.

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