CONTAGION: A Movie Review

I’ll admit, I love survival movies – especially Bug Out movies.  We have a pretty awesome collection of survival themed movies here at Willow Haven and I’m happy to add new ones when they come out.  One such addition is the new epidemic thriller CONTAGION.  I didn’t get a chance to go to the theater when it came out in September 2011 so when it was released in January 2012 on DVD I anxiously picked up a copy.  I just watched it this past weekend.  Before I get into my thoughts, here are the movie details:

  • Released by Warner Bros.
  • PG-13
  • 1 hour 46 minutes long
  • Directed by Steven Soderbergh
  • Written by Scott Z. Burns
  • Starring Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwenth Paltrow and Kate Winslet

Review from a Survival Perspective

Many survival/bug-out movies have at least some kind of fiction element.  Not CONTAGION – it is 100% believable and if anything, more non-fiction than if a similar situation happened in real life.  The premise of the movie is that a lethal virus with no immediate cause, cure or vaccine begins to rapidly spread across the globe.  While the World Heath Organization and Centers for Disease Control try to organize some kind of solution, society begins to unravel – slowly at first but then quickly as panic and fear begins to set in.

It quickly becomes a ‘Hunker-Down’ and ‘Bug-Out’ situation as people try to avoid contracting the deadly virus.  The virus, though, is only 1 safety concern.  As with every large scale disaster, violent crimes increase as people run out of food, water, medicine and supplies.  Grocery stores and pharmacies are looted, neighbors are stealing from neighbors and the public safety systems are completely overwhelmed and unable to contain the chaos.  People are forced to survive in place until the release of a vaccine.  A very interesting twist is how people (and companies) are trying to make money off of the virus – an interesting caveat that made me stop and think.  It is a crazy, crazy scenario… or is it?


Can CONTAGION really happen?

Can it happen?  It HAS happened – several times – in varying degrees of severity.  The Spanish Flu in 1918 spread like wild-fire killing an estimated 50-100 million people worldwide.  Bird Flu killed 100s of people in 2003.  SARS killed nearly 1000 people in 2003 as well.  In 2009, Swine Flu (H1N1) claimed nearly 800 lives in the US alone.


Creek’s Recommendation: 5 STAR RATING * * * * *

If you like survival/bug out style movies, you will like this movie.  It is fast paced, very realistic and a pretty darn accurate depiction of what could possibly happen in the event an epidemic outbreak.  If nothing else, it will motivate you to consider the what-ifs in life.  It is very easy to be complacent when life is easy-breezy.

Survival Lessons from CONTAGION:

  • Have you chosen a remote Bug Out Location (BOL)?  A friend or relative’s house in the country?
  • Do you have Food Storage?
  • Do you have the means to protect yourself and your family if looters come-a-knockin’?



  1. Thanks for the review!! I can’t wait to get a copy and watch….and watch again….and then one more time!! (btw, love your website)

  2. I totally forgot about this movie! NetFlix here I come…

  3. People and companies making money off the virus? Not crazy at all! Less than a year ago, we saw people in a panic and buying up potassium iodide because of Fukushima…and companies eager to sell it to them, as well as scum of the earth selling fake stuff.

    Thanks for the review, Creek. I plan to look for this movie on the next time I get to town for supplies.

  4. Okay…A total side note: looking at the pic under “Creek’s Recommendation” I couldn’t avoid thinking about product placement, seeing the Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes and others. But isn’t that the worst product placement? Everyone’s looting and they don’t even want your product? FAIL haha

  5. Nice observation Joe!

  6. Loved this movie. Have you ever watched the series Jericho? I'd love to see a review of that. I don't think it was as realistic as this movie, but still a great show. Jericho is on netflix if you haven't seen it.

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  8. I’d be interested to see a list of some of the other survival/bug out movies you like!

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