949 voters

The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks

Updated April 23, 2021 9.5k votes 949 voters 45.4k views48 items

There's something in the air, and you definitely don't want to breath it in. Horror movies about viruses and diseases are particularly frightening, because they are among the most plausible situations that could actually happen in real life. This list ranks the scariest movies about virus outbreaks that infect large groups of people.

It can be a bit tricky to distinguish virus outbreak horror movies from zombie films, because often times zombies are birthed from some kind of airborne virus or disease. However, most of the virus horror movies on this list are more about the contagions infecting people than they are the result of the disease. Examples of these films include Viral, Quarantine, and The Happening.

It Follows is probably the best horror movie about a disease. It's kind of tricky to explain the plot if you haven't seen it, so just go ahead and watch the film if it has somehow evaded you up to this point- you definitely won't be disappointed.

  • 1

    28 Days Later

    Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston


    Directed byDanny Boyle

    28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan...  more

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  • 2

    28 Weeks Later

    Rose Byrne, Idris Elba


    Directed byJuan Carlos Fresnadillo

    28 Weeks Later is a 2007 British-Spanish post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film, structured as a sequel to the 2002 critical and commercial success, 28 Days Later. 28 Weeks Later was co-written...  more

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  • 3

    The Crazies

    Danielle Panabaker, Timothy Olyphant


    Directed byBreck Eisner

    The Crazies is a 2010 American horror film directed by Breck Eisner, with a screenplay by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright. The film is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name by George A. Romero, who...  more

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  • 4


    Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet


    Directed bySteven Soderbergh

    Contagion is a 2011 medical thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law,...  more

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  • 5


    Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey


    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston's non-fiction book The Hot Zone. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and Morgan...  more

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  • 6

    World War Z

    Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox


    Directed byMarc Forster

    This film is a 2013 American apocalyptic action horror film directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof is from a screen story by Carnahan...  more

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  • 7

    I Am Legend

    Will Smith, Emma Thompson


    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

    I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954...  more

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  • 8

    Resident Evil

    Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez


    Directed byPaul W. S. Anderson

    Resident Evil is a 2002 German-British-French science fiction horror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. The film stars Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez. It is the first...  more

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  • 9


    Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet


    Directed byPaco Plaza, Jaume Balagueró

    REC is a 2007 Spanish horror film, co-written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The film was shot in Barcelona, Spain and the title is an abbreviation of the word "record", as it...  more

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  • 10

    The Stand

    Stephen King, Rob Lowe


    Directed byMick Garris

    The Stand (ABC, 1994) is an American horror miniseries directed by Mick Garris, and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The remaining survivors after a deadly plague split into two...  more

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  • 11


    Dania Ramirez, Jennifer Carpenter


    Directed byJohn Erick Dowdle

    Quarantine is a 2008 American science fiction horror film directed by John Erick Dowdle and starring Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Columbus Short, Greg Germann, Steve Harris, Dania Ramirez, Rade...  more

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  • 12

    Cabin Fever

    Eli Roth, Cerina Vincent


    Directed byEli Roth

    Cabin Fever is a 2002 American black comedy horror film directed by Eli Roth and starring Rider Strong, Jordan Ladd, James DeBello and Giuseppe Andrews. It was produced by Lauren Moews & Evan...  more

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  • 13

    Resident Evil: Apocalypse

    Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen


    Directed byAlexander Witt

    Resident Evil: Apocalypse is a 2004 British-Canadian apocalyptic fiction action horror film directed by Alexander Witt, from a screenplay written by producer Paul W. S. Anderson. It is the second...  more

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  • 14


    Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams


    Directed byEric England

    Contracted is a 2013 horror thriller film directed and written by Eric England. It was first released on November 23, 2013, in the United States and stars Najarra Townsend as a young woman that finds...  more
  • 15

    Resident Evil: Extinction

    Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter


    Directed byRussell Mulcahy

    RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION is again based on the wildly popular video game series and picks up where the last film left off. Alice (Milla Jovovich), now in hiding in the Nevada desert, once again...  more

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  • 16

    Planet Terror

    Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan


    Directed byRobert Rodriguez

    Planet Terror is a 2007 American action horror science-fiction film directed by Robert Rodriguez, about a group of people attempting to survive an onslaught of zombie-like creatures as they feud with...  more

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  • 17

    Resident Evil: Retribution

    Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter


    Directed byPaul W. S. Anderson

    Resident Evil: Retribution is a 2012 American-Canadian-German science fiction action horror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It is the fifth installment in the Resident Evil film...  more

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  • 18


    Morgan Freeman, Timothy Olyphant


    Directed byLawrence Kasdan

    Dreamcatcher is a 2003 science fiction horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. It was directed by Lawrence Kasdan, and co-written by Kasdan and screenwriter William Goldman....  more

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  • 19


    Jill Wagner, Paulo Costanzo


    Directed byToby Wilkins

    Splinter is a 2008 horror film directed by Toby Wilkins. It had a limited theatrical release on October 31, 2008 and stars Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo, and Jill Wagner. It was filmed near Oklahoma...  more
  • 20

    It Follows

    Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist


    Directed byDavid Robert Mitchell

    It Follows is a 2014 supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary),...  more

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  • 21

    The Omega Man

    Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe


    Directed byBoris Sagal

    The Omega Man is a 1971 American science fiction film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Charlton Heston. It was written by John William Corrington and Joyce Corrington, based on the 1954 novel I...  more

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  • 22


    Rhona Mitra, Malcolm McDowell


    Directed byNeil Marshall

    Doomsday is a 2008 science fiction action film written and directed by Neil Marshall. When the virus is found in London, political leaders send a team led by Major Eden Sinclair to Scotland to find...  more

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  • 23


    Emily VanCamp, Chris Pine


    Directed byÀlex Pastor, David Pastor

    Carriers is a 2009 American post-apocalyptic horror film written and directed by Àlex and David Pastor. It stars Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris Pine, Piper Perabo and Emily VanCamp as four people fleeing a...  more

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  • 24

    In the Earth

    Joel Fry, Reece Shearsmith


    Directed byBen Wheatley

    In the Earth is a 2021 British horror film written and directed by Ben Wheatley. As the world searches for a cure to a disastrous virus, a scientist and park scout venture deep in the forest for a...  more
  • 25

    Resident Evil: Afterlife

    Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter


    Directed byPaul W. S. Anderson

    Resident Evil: Afterlife is a 2010 Canadian-German 3D science fiction action horror film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. It stars Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts,...  more

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