Over the past several weeks, I’ve experienced a variety of emotions regarding the current coronavirus outbreak. For the most part I tend to teeter between fear of the future and anger for the present. All the pain and frustrations (including the outbreak itself) just seem so preventable if people would be a little less greedy, a little cleaner, and use a little common sense. Nonetheless, that is not the way the world works and if I didn’t fully understand that before, I definitely do now.
The entertainment I’ve consumed has ranged from comedies (to make me laugh in this chaos), westerns/war movies (to show me people overcoming hard times), and horror (which gives me a bit of peace.)
I haven’t done the research on why I feel so at peace while watching horror during this scary time in my life, but I think it has something to do with seeing other people put into horrible situations and having to deal with these horrific events. I also think the nostalgia and community I get from my horror fandom definitely works as a comforting device and it motivates me to work more on this website.
People keep posting lists of movies to watch during this pandemic and they are usually filled with disease related movies. That doesn’t do much for me. I like horror movies that reflect the current tension that is in the air and the uneasiness that seems to be found everywhere you go. So with that being said, here is my recommended coronavirus watch list.
The Mist is one of those movies I love to check out when there is a pending disaster on the radar. The last time I watch it was right as a hurricane was about to make landing on the North Carolina coast.
The Mist is about of a group of people who become stranded in a grocery store after a huge mist rolls into town. Everyone who goes outside seemingly doesn’t come back so fear and paranoia begin to run rampant. (You can read my full review of The Mist here.)
The reason The Mist reminds me of our current social climate is because of how everyone is locked within the grocery store and how quickly people have broken off into groups. There is this dangerous unknown entity that is terrorizing everyone, but you can’t see it or define it, you just know it’s there. Within the group of survivors you find religious zealots, racists, idiots, rational people, and everyone in-between. It’s an excellent assortment of characters that each represent the same people we are experiencing in society now who are a little more vocal because they are scared.
This movie probably looks most out of place on this list, but it was arguably the first movie that came to mind once the outbreak occurred. Scream does an amazing job of establishing real fear within the community. Following a murder of two high school students, school is dismissed and the town enacts a curfew. Some people recognize it and respect the curfew, others do not. (You can read my full review of Scream here.)
The script does a great job of peeking into various conversations where everyone is talking about the murders and their opinions on it. The level of how serious people are taking it varies between the characters but you can tell this a serious matter.
The media is constantly reporting and jostling for the latest angle and it feels very real and relevant to the way things are happening right now. Everyone is out to make a buck, under the disguise of doing a public service.
This is a movie that is borderline not a horror movie. In fact, you could easily dismiss it as a form of science fiction or even a drama. But I think the psychological aspects of Take Shelter place it within the horror realm and it is another movie that really seems to fit the current social attitude.
Take Shelter is about a man who keeps hearing thunder and seeing storms coming that aren’t there. You question whether he’s struggling with mental illness or are these actual premonitions. This fear of the unknown makes him start working on a shelter for his family that is quickly mocked and dismissed by everyone around him.
The film was written during the 2008 recession and seemed to reflect the attitudes and feelings of that time period, which in my mind, have just been amplified by a thousand this time around.
Take Shelter is one of those movies that you won’t want to revisit, but it’s probably going to stick with you quite some time after you watch it.
None of these movies are about a pandemic or a disease. As I mentioned earlier, I picked them because of the emotions and feelings they evoked and how that resonated with me, not so much the plots. Everyone stay safe out there and let’s hope this chaos will be over soon.