Social Distancing Cinema


Photo by: freestock photos

It’s safe to say that over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had ample time to do what I want outside of schoolwork and staying away from other people. For me, that means watching lots of movies and because I’m stupid, I decided to watch a bunch of movies about disease with the goal of terrifying myself. Note that these aren’t zombie or monster movies, I watched grounded realistic movies about how humanity meets its end at the hands of an infectious disease. If you also have way to much free time on your hands or feel like being stupid too, here are five disease movies to fill your time with.




This is sort of the quintessential one that everyone talks about so I couldn’t skip it. One of 1995’s highest grossing films tells the story of a group of Army doctors struggling to contain and cure a virus in a town in California. It’s a pretty ok movie nothing to write home about really, but it’s got Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman and kind of wiggled into status as a classic ’90s drama. As disease movies go, it really isn’t that scary, there are parts of it that actually feel kind of campy, but it will give you something mildly enjoyable to do for two hours and I’d take what I can get.

Panic in the Streets

 It sounds a lot worse than it actually is. “Panic in the Streets” came out in 1950 and follows a doctor and a policeman in New Orleans trying to locate someone who they believe is infected with Pneumonic plague. This is actually a pretty good movie, it won an Oscar for best screenplay, and it isn’t scary. Thematically it is pretty dark, but you don’t see any dead bodies or overflowing hospitals and that’s always nice. If you can stand black and white movies, I recommend trying to find it.

It Comes At Night

I don’t want to spoil anything, and this movie gets kind of crazy, but basically there is some unknown force, implied to be a disease, that is keeping a family quarantined in a rural home. This isn’t really considered a disease movie in the sense that the other movies on this list are, but I thought it was interesting how these characters act when they are quarantined together. This is a more conventional horror movie, and it is pretty terrifying, but the first half seems pretty realistic.

The Andromeda Strain

This is another classic disease movie. Based on the book by Michael Crichton, the movie follows a team of scientists trying to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town. It has been remade into a miniseries in 2008, but the original from 1971 is as good as it gets. The movie also has a science fiction angle to make it more interesting, and it is pretty bleak by the end.


2011’s drama about a pandemic is probably the best and scariest disease movie there is. “Contagion” is the best disease movie at showing the full scope a disease can have on everyday people, government officials, and healthcare workers. As I said it is pretty scary, and it might actually be a little too close to home right now, especially since one of the main characters is a high school student. Maybe I shouldn’t have watched this.