Best Of Netflix: Deadly Viruses

If you’re planning on taking a sick day sometime soon, here are a few flicks that might help set the mood for you…

Watch Carriers on Netflix Instant

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Before his triumphant turn as James T. Kirk in Star Trek, Chris Pine starred in this nasty little horror flick about two young couples en route to Turtle Beach, a place they believe they can hide out from the deadly virus that’s wiped out most of the rest of the world’s population. Of course, they soon learn that there’s simply NOWHERE TO HIDE from this ever-spreading sickness, and only half of the original quartet makes it to their final destination. Carriers is just about as mean-spirited as you can get with a post-apocalyptic scenario; it dares suggest that you might actually be better off dead if such a thing ever actually happened. Sheesh.

Watch Outbreak on Netflix Instant

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Something of a “classier” kind of outing from director Wolfgang Petersen, Outbreak chronicles what happens when an Ebola-like virus called Motaba starts spreading in Zaire and later in the United States, showing how far both the military and civilian agencies would go to contain the disease. Oh, the trouble that monkeys can cause! The all-star cast, including Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Donald Sutherland, are called upon to act like they’re on the verge of nervous breakdown at all times, keeping the suspense and squirminess in the red at all times. The film’s release date preceded an actual outbreak of the Ebola virus in Zaire by a few months in 1995.

Watch The Stand on Netflix Instant

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Look, let’s face it, The Stand is never going to be made into a great film or TV series or whatever. Stephen King’s novel about a virus that wipes out most of the world’s population is too dense, too sprawling and too tricky to make for a satisfying adaptation, even if you hired the best director in the universe, so just enjoy what we’ve got, would you? This mini-series isn’t that bad, even if it features the usual head-scratching casting choices that plague most King mini-series (we weren’t quite picturing Rob Lowe and Molly Ringwald when we read the book, but what the hell, why not?). And yeah, the plot is condensed to the point of almost being parody of itself, but what did you expect? At least that opening tracking shot of everyone dead at the military base set to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper” is pure King, baby.

Watch Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break on Netflix Instant

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Eli Roth‘s Cabin Fever was a nasty and bizarre romp in the woods in which attractive young people became the victims of a flesh-eating virus. This direct-to-video sequel brings the gruesomeness to the scenario of a high school prom, in which the bottled water all the hapless teens are swiggin’ is infected with you-know-what. Gross-outs to the max ensue — indeed, the gore galore is the star of this flick, and we have to admit, a lot of genuine imagination and creativity went into some of the disgustingness going on here. If nothing else, Cabin Fever 2 may make you think twice before going to a stripper club.

Watch The Crazies on Netflix Instant

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The 2010 remake starring Timothy Olyphant was pretty good, but George Romero‘s 1973 original is the real deal, an exercise in genuine mass hysteria topped only by the director himself in his own Dawn of the Dead six years later. The Crazies isn’t really about a virus, but something‘s gotten into a small town’s water supply that’s making everyone stark raving mad, leaving the military nervous and trigger-happy and scientists baffled. This film actually feels crazy — Romero’s knack for hyper-realism is in full effect here, making for an exhausting movie experience.

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