15 Contagion Movies & Series People Are Watching on Netflix

Nicole Pomarico | Mar 13, 2020 Movies
15 Contagion Movies & Series People Are Watching on Netflix
Image: Warner Bros.

Cuba Gooding, Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey in Outbreak
Warner Bros.

Although we've been hearing about the outbreaks of coronavirus outside of the United States for months, it's official: COVID-19 is finally in America, and the news around the virus is changing every day. Of course, it's a bit stressful, and with many people forced to cancel their plans and stay at home, what better time is there to cozy up on the couch, fire up Netflix, and watch a bunch of TV shows and movies -- like Contagion -- that are about people who survived (or didn't survive) viral outbreaks and zombie apocalypses? Sadly, the film is not on the streaming site, but that doesn't deminish the fact that people are looking for movies about diseases and viruses to watch ... and it might end up being a welcome distraction. 

Recently, The New York Times reported that more and more people have been watching the movie Contagion, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, and Kate Winslet. In fact, it's become the second most-watched Warner Bros. movie, right behind the Harry Potter movies, and given how popular those are, that's saying a lot.

But Contagion isn't the only movie of its kind -- not by a long shot. 

Of course, if the constant coronavirus news and panics are starting to become anxiety inducing, staying away from these movies and TV shows might be best -- at least, until things start to settle down. But for everyone who wants to watch things about people who totally get what we're all going through right now (albeit on a much larger and dramatic scale), these TV shows and movies ought to do the trick.

  • 'Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak' 

    1

    Looking for a series that comes with a dose of reality? Pandemic is a docuseries about the doctors and scientists who work to minimize the effects of the flu and how they work to prevent future outbreaks. Having the facts about how pandemics work might be comforting to those who are worried, and it's a pretty fascinating topic for anyone interested in disease and science, coronavirus or no coronavirus.

  • 'Cargo'

    2

    Starring Martin Freeman and Anthony Hayes, Cargo is a Netflix Original movie that was released in 2018 (long before all of this started happening) about a father who, in the aftermath of a pandemic that turned everyone else into zombies, loses his wife after she is bitten and dies. So he goes on a journey through Australia to try to find someone to help him and his baby before it's too late. 

  • 'Outbreak'

    3

    Though this movie was released in 1995, it's quickly climbing the Netflix charts given how interested movie fans are in anything and everything related to pandemics. In Outbreak, which stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and Cuba Gooding Jr., a virus is unleashed in California that ends up killing people, and a virologist goes on a mission to find a way to stop it from eliminating all life. 

  • 'Containment'

    4

    When a mutated version of the flu with mysterious origins hits Atlanta, the whole city goes under quarantine ... but it's pretty obvious very quickly that won't be enough to stop this virus in its tracks. Containment stars David Gyasi and Christina Marie Moses, and given that it's rated TV-MA, it might be best to watch this one after the kids go to sleep. Nightmares may keep everyone up. 

  • 'The Walking Dead'

    5
    Norman Reedus, Andrew Lincolm, Zach McGowan in The Walking Dead
    Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

    Here's a classic that definitely belongs on this list! This very popular series, formerly starring Andrew Lincoln, is still on the air. Fans can catch up on many, many episodes that are streaming on Netflix about what happens in Atlanta when there's an outbreak of an infection that turns everyone to zombies. Fortunately, what happens on The Walking Dead is very different from the effects of the coronavirus ... at least, so far. 

  • 'Bird Box'

    6
    Sandra Bullock & Julian Edwards in 'Bird Box'
    Saeed Adyani/Netflix

    When Bird Box was originally released in 2018 straight to Netflix, it created a lot of memes that might help us all get through this stressful time right. (Bird Box is an awesome movie, anyway.) In the movie starring Sandra Bullock, some sort of contagion is causing people to commit suicide, and Bullock's character is forced to survive while protecting two children at the same time.

  • 'Carriers'

    7

    In this 2009 movie, starring Chris Pine and Piper Perabo, the world is faced with a virus that ends up killing people in huge numbers. Four friends decide to go on a journey to escape the virus, except it's not that easy -- especially when things start getting desperate. And, um, maybe no one should try this journey thing at home, because traveling right now is kinda frowned upon.

  • '93 Days'

    8

    Remember Ebola? Let's revisit it in this movie. In 93 Days, which stars Bimbo Akintola and Danny Glover, the people of Lagos have to figure out a way to contain an Ebola outbreak when it arrives in their area. If they're unable to stop it, the lives of more than 20 million people could be at risk, and it could end up being one of the deadliest outbreaks of disease in medical history. No pressure!

  • 'Doomsday Preppers' 

    9

    Spent all day standing in line at the grocery store, trying to buy supplies in case of a quarantine, and need to know what other people around the world do to prepare for the worst? Look no further than Doomsday Preppers. They're not all preparing for a virus the way many of us are now, but it gives an interesting, real-life take on people who spend their lives preparing for the end of the world as they know it. 

  • 'Here Alone'

    10

    Honestly, is it even possible to watch too many movies about zombie outbreaks, especially when it's not something we have to worry about happening? In Here Alone, which stars Shane West and Lucy Walters, a woman is left to live alone after her daughter and husband have lost their lives in an outbreak. She meets new people and could end up making a new life for herself, though, so there's that. 

  • 'It Comes at Night'

    11
    Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Griffin Robert Faulkner in 'It Comes At Night'
    A24

    With a cast that includes Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, and Carmen Ejogo, It Comes at Night is about what happens when a terrible sickness takes down society and everyone remaining has to find a way to survive in the aftermath -- especially because the terrifying threat of what's causing the virus still hangs in the air. This one is sad and a bit scary (and rated R), so take caution when watching with little ones.

  • 'V Wars'

    12

    A vampire series starring Ian Somerhalder, V Wars, which is based on the novel of the same name, shows what happens when two best friends are pitted against each other after a mysterious virus starts turning people into vampires. This time, instead of playing a vampire like he did in The Vampire Diaries, Ian is playing the role of a doctor who's trying to find a way to stop the virus.

  • 'Cabin Fever'

    13

    Looking for a good teen horror movie that will distract and scare all at the same time? Look no further than the 2016 movie Cabin Fever, starring Matthew Daddario, Gage Golightly, and Samuel Davis. This time, it's a flesh-eating virus that puts people at risk -- specifically, a group of friends who are in the middle of a getaway to a cabin in the woods and are forced to figure out how to survive. 

  • 'The Society'

    14

    Looking for a Netflix Original series to watch with teens that isn't too scary? Some kind of incident or virus has hit the world in The Society that has eliminated all adults and left only children. They're forced to form their own society and find a way to function without losing control of the situation -- and at the same time, they're trying to figure out what happened to their parents.

  • 'Train To Busan'

    15

    In the South Korean movie Train to Busan, a zombie virus (yes, again -- these are very popular in film and TV!) outbreak hits. But for people who are trapped on a train traveling from Seoul to Busan, it's even more dangerous being in close quarters and trying to survive the outbreak at the same time. This 2016 movie stars Gong Yoo, Jong Yu-mi, and Ma Dong-seok.

  • 'Z Nation'

    16

    In this TV series about the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, starring Kellita Smith and Keith Allan, one man is able to survive the outbreak. He needs to be transported to safety so that, hopefully, he can help develop a vaccine because he's immune to the virus. (Sounds like something we could use right about now!) Five seasons of the series are streaming, giving fans plenty of viewing material.

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