Article written by Matt Wehner on Reposted with permission.

Resident Evil: Afterlife hits theaters this weekend and with it brings up memories of other movies about deathly viruses capable of ruining mankind.

Zombie and virus movies have been around since movie making began.  George A. Romero may be godfather to zombie filmmaking, but he certainly hasn’t been alone in the process.  Several directors and actors have tried their best to bring end-of-the-world horror to the big screen, and while some fail in epic proportions, others are hailed as classics.

Interestingly, almost all movies featuring zombies have a plague or virus as the cause, while not all plague or virus movies have zombies as the result.  The Resident Evil franchise has walked a fine line in this regard, dealing with deadly creations and abominations that are the direct result of a virus.

This week’s Friday Five takes a look at five movies that are certainly about viruses, but not necessarily about zombies.  Resident Evil: Afterlife stars Milla Jovovich and hits theaters September 10th, 2010.

Friday Five:  Best Movies About Viruses


Honorable Mention:  Slither

Slither is certainly a love-it or hate-it kind of movie.  The movie is about an alien virus (plague?) which infests itself inside of local residents, only to create some of the most disturbing and disgusting looking human beings cinema has ever produced.  The movie was directed by James Gunn, who hasn’t gone on to do much else since.  The lead, Nathan Fillion, plays a sheriff who attempts to protect his small town from the deadly outbreak with guns and a quick wit.  The movie is ultimately a black comedy, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is what keeps it as an Honorable Mention this week.


#5.  Doomsday

Doomsday is easily one of the best movies that no one saw.  Its set in the future, where a virus has overtaken Scotland and forced the government to build a giant wall blockading the virus inside.  Years later, when the virus appears in London, the government responds by sending in a small military group to seek a cure from those still surviving inside the wall.  The movie is directed by horror legend Neill Marshall and features one gruesome and bloody death after another.  At times the movie is Mad Max, at others it’s horror version of Gladiator.  It’s certainly worth your time if you haven’t seen it, and fans of action-adventure movies will eat it up.

28 Days Later

#4.  28 Days Later

Director Danny Boyle has proved that he knows how to put to film dramatic and demented scenarios.  The director behind Trainspotting took his visual style and flair to the realm of world-ending viruses with his 28 Days Later, a horror movie about a the breakdown of society after an airborn virus turns the civilians of London into raged filled, zombie-like creatures.  The movie focuses on those who have survived the incident, and how they attempt to escape the infected city.  28 Days Later is one of the more ingenious takes on the virus genre, almost more of a ‘thinking’ movie than a horror movie.  It would be higher on the list if it weren’t for its muddled ending, which according to features found on the DVD, wasn’t the original choice of the director.  The movie has spawned a horrid sequel, along with an interesting comic book/graphic novel for backstory.


#3.  Outbreak

Outbreak is, simply, a classic by every meaning of the word.  The movie stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and Cuba Gooding Jr.  With a cast that impressive back in 1995, how could the movie not be fantastic?  The movie is a social commentary on how far our governmental agencies might go in order to lockdown a deadly virus.  The virus depicted in Outbreak is similar to ebola, called Motaba, and things really heat up after the virus becomes airborne and the military can’t contain it.  The movie centers on a monkey who is believed to be the host animal, and thus the solution as well.

Rec 2

#2.  REC 2

The first REC was amazing enough to garner a remake here in the States by the name of Quarantine.  In Spain, the popularity of the movie was large enough to warrant a sequel, which is miles better than the original.  REC followed a group of individuals trapped inside of a building the government deemed quarantined.  The movie is filmed with a ‘shaky cam’ to established a more realistic feeling throughout.  The brilliance of the sequel is that the owner of the shaky cam is an S.W.A.T. team consisting of four individuals, all with shoulder mounted cameras, whereas in REC the shaky cam operator was a reporter.  REC 2 then turns into more of a 1st Person Shooter film, as the S.W.A.T. team is sent inside the quarantined building to eliminate any remaining infected.  The style and sense of emergency are played out here to their fullest, leaving the audience entertained and very engaged the entire time.

12 Monkeys

#1.  12 Monkeys

What happens when director Terry Gilliam takes on world-ending viruses, time travel, Bruce Willis, and insane asylums?  Genius, that’s what.  12 Monkeys is, without a doubt, one of the best movies ever made.  It also happens to be the best time travel and virus movie ever made.  In it, Willis stars as a convict in a future where an airborne virus has forced humans to live underground.  Willis ‘volunteers’ to be sent back in time to examine how the virus came to be and to bring back a sample, so future scientists can find a cure.  The movie co-stars Brad Pitt, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work as a psychopath.