Outbreak (1995): Do films contribute to hysteria?
Updated: Mar 24
With the pandemic of the coronavirus at full force, I found myself sent home like so many others in the United States, however, I was surprised to find that one of the top 10 films watched on Netflix was the 1995 film Outbreak. In case you are unaware, Outbreak is a film starring Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo who are deployed to stop the vicious Motaba virus from spreading. While this is a good film with great performances and a strong storyline, it is filled with a dramatic representation of what can be a real scenario. Tanks roaming the streets, M-16's in the face of citizens, and a virus that liquifies a human being in 48 hours.
As soon as Covid-19 (Coronavirus) entered the United States this film received enough watches to break into the top 10 list for one of the most frequently streamed films. Undoubtedly one will scan the internet for articles and videos about something as scary as a fast-spreading virus that recently shook a large country like China. However, to take to streaming platforms for entertainment focused on a similar situation is or should be a cautionary endeavor at best. It is easy to watch such a film as Outbreak and await the same scenario.
We should all keep in mind that while films serve as cautionary tales at times and provide philosophical subtext that can be worth pondering. A film is written to draw you in with a captivating story that induces you into a dream-like state which embellishes and specifies dramatic affairs. This is not reality, not my reality, and not your reality, take what you can from a film but ultimately walk away with encouragement that you learned something and faith you can persevere. After all, it is just a movie.