Movies come and go from Netflix all the time, and you can’t be expected to keep track of each film that’s leaving the streaming service in a given month. That’s where Inverse comes in, and this week, there’s only one movie you really need to watch on Netflix before it leaves on Saturday, May 30.
To say Outbreak is a “timely” movie in the Covid-19 pandemic is like calling Independence Day timely after 9/11. The movie is about a deadly disease, yes, but that’s where the similarities end.
In this astonishingly dumb and dated movie, a disease hosted by a smuggled monkey sold in a pet shop turns a small California town into a war zone. And I really mean war zone. The U.S. military mobilizes — in extremely close proximity! — with tanks and loaded guns as they trample over townspeople, none of whom wear masks. They have their guns pointed to nothing but the idea of a threat. All the while, a crack team of doctors putz around in HAZMAT suits like they’re the Ghostbusters, one of whom has an ex-wife that practically causes the whole thing to get worse.
Outbreak is the movie those protesting Covid-19 restrictions think they’re living. It is in every sense of the word a Hollywood movie, one that takes a single premise — a viral disease in a small town — and gives it the real infection of studio notes, with helicopter chases and a romance subplot getting in the way of doing anything authentic and interesting. The disease itself is never named, and it sickens its victims quicker than a zombie bite.