While every type of apocalypse is scary in its own way, I must say the end-of-the-world scenario that freaks me out the most is one caused by a deadly virus. And I don’t mean the kind of virus you see in I Am Legend or any zombie movie we’ve looked at. The virus that terrifies me is the kind that starts out like a common cold, but ends in a pandemic.

I was recently reminiscing on a film I watched a few years ago called Contagion (2011). In this film, a pandemic breaks out suddenly, spreading quickly and killing millions. Scientists scramble to find a cure while the world suffers from fear, panic and mass death.

 

The film itself has good reviews and a lot of well known actors, check it out:

 

There is so much I could say about this film. First off, it has several motifs we’ve seen this semester. There’s multiple shots showing an excess of garbage congesting the streets; there’s people panicking all over the place; there’s a scene showing masses of vehicles in a traffic jam while trying to exit the city; there’s even shots showing the vacantness of public spaces.

Secondly, this film illustrates a very likely scenario. Plague, disease and infection have been and continue to be one of the largest threats to the human race. Even with the amount of medical advancements, there are still so many incurable diseases, like cancer, AIDS and ALS, to name a few. And still, new viruses seem to pop up and cause so much fear and panic. Anyone remember how big of a threat that avian flu was back in 2005?

 

“When we think of the major threats to our national security, the first to come to mind are nuclear proliferation, rogue states and global terrorism. But another kind of threat lurks beyond our shores, one from nature, not humans — an avian flu pandemic” –Barack Obama and Richard Lugar

 

What is terrifying about pandemics is the fact they’re unpredictable and invisible. One day you’re fine, the next, you’re infected. You don’t know where it’s coming from or how you might catch it. Also, people go out in public ALL THE TIME while they’re infected, spreading their germs everywhere they go (even I’m guilty of this). And your only defense against it is by avoiding contact with others and by washing your hands. Unlike so many ways humans have the potential to eradicate human life, this way is totally out of our control.


Obama, Barack, and Richard Lugar. “Grounding a Pandemic.” The New York Times 6 June 2005. Web.