watchworthy presents

The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 6.4k votes 797 voters 40.2k views 47 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris

Released: 2002

Directed by: Danny 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, ...more

More 28 Days Later 

#389 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #356 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made The Best '28 Days Later' Quotes Will Bring You Out Of A Coma

2
28 Weeks Later is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Rose Byrne, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner

Released: 2007

Directed by: Juan 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 ...more

More 28 Weeks Later 

#71 of 159 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies #61 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies

3
The Crazies is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Danielle Panabaker, Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell

Released: 2010

Directed by: Breck 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, ...more

More The Crazies 

#66 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #6 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks

4
I Am Legend is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson

Released: 2007

Directed by: Francis 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 ...more

More I Am Legend 

#98 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #119 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books

5
World War Z is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox, David Morse

Released: 2013

Directed by: Marc 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 ...more

More World War Z 

#1,024 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #384 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

6
Outbreak is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman

Released: 1995

Directed by: Wolfgang 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 ...more

More Outbreak 

#888 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #4 of 44 Every Movie Coming To Netflix March 2020 The Bubonic Plague Ravaged San Francisco In The 1900s—And The Government Tried A Massive Cover Up

7
Quarantine is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Dania Ramirez, Jennifer Carpenter, Doug Jones

Released: 2008

Directed by: John 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, ...more

More Quarantine 

#223 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #30 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

8
Resident Evil is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Isaacs

Released: 2002

Directed by: Paul 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

More Resident Evil 

#322 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #290 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made The Best Resident Evil Games of All Time, Ranked

9
REC is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet, Ana Isabel Velásquez

Released: 2007

Directed by: Paco 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 ...more

More REC 

#201 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #17 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #65 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

10
Contagion is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
RossMynatt(Rossgeek333) added Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon

Released: 2011

Directed by: Steven 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

More Contagion 

#610 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #532 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time It Was Overlooked At The Time, But 'Contagion' Is One Of The Most Realistically Scary Modern Films

11
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Stephen King, Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald

Released: 1994

Directed by: Mick Garris

The Stand is a 1994 American television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. King also wrote the teleplay, and has a cameo role in the series. It was directed by Mick ...more

More The Stand 

#24 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #9 of 52 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books ‘The Stand’ Mini-Series Is A Lot Cheesier Than We Remember

12
Cabin Fever is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Eli Roth, Cerina Vincent, Jordan Ladd

Released: 2002

Directed by: Eli 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 & ...more

More Cabin Fever 

#17 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watching #183 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

13
It Follows is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Linda Boston

Released: 2014

Directed by: David 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 ...more
14
Resident Evil: Extinctio... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ashanti

Released: 2007

Directed by: Russell 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

More Resident Evil: Extinction 

#733 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #29 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

15
Resident Evil: Apocalyps... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Sienna Guillory

Released: 2004

Directed by: Alexander 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 ...more

More Resident Evil: Apocalypse 

#936 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #12 of 44 Every Movie Coming To Netflix March 2020 The Best Characters in the Resident Evil Franchise, Ranked

16
Contracted is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Najarra Townsend, Caroline Williams, Katie Stegeman

Released: 2013

Directed by: Eric 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 ...more

More Contracted 

#46 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks #42 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films

17
Planet Terror is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Bruce Willis, Rose McGowan, Fergie

Released: 2007

Directed by: Robert 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 ...more

More Planet Terror 

#270 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #15 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

18
Splinter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Splinter Jill Wagner, Paulo Costanzo, Shea Whigham

Released: 2008

Directed by: Toby 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 ...more

More Splinter 

#364 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #32 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks

19
Carriers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Emily VanCamp, Chris Pine, Piper Perabo

Released: 2009

Directed by: Àlex 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 ...more

More Carriers 

#58 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time #145 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #16 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks

20
Resident Evil: Retributi... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Michelle Rodriguez

Released: 2012

Directed by: Paul 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 ...more

More Resident Evil: Retribution 

#1,156 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #426 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made The Best Characters in the Resident Evil Franchise, Ranked

21
Dreamcatcher is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Morgan Freeman, Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis

Released: 2003

Directed by: Lawrence 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 ...more

More Dreamcatcher 

#55 of 190 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #28 of 52 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books

22
The Omega Man is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Eric Laneuville

Released: 1971

Directed by: Boris 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 ...more

More The Omega Man 

#183 of 591 The Best '70s Movies #55 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #55 of 151 The Best Zombie Movies of All Time

23
Doomsday is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Rhona Mitra, Malcolm McDowell, Bob Hoskins

Released: 2008

Directed by: Neil 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 ...more

More Doomsday 

#109 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #116 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time

24
Viral is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Viral
25
Quarantine 2: Terminal ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks
Mercedes Masöhn, Ignacio Serricchio, Josh Cooke

Released: 2011

Directed by: John Pogue

Quarantine 2: Terminal is a 2011 American science fiction horror film and a sequel to the 2008 film, Quarantine. It was written and directed by John Pogue and produced by Marc Brienstock. The ...more

More Quarantine 2: Terminal 

#50 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks #38 of 204 The Best Zombie Horror Films