Contagion is a germophobe’s worst nightmare. Director Steven Soderbergh and his usual team tackle a well-worn niche, ploughed by titles like Outbreak, to create a pandemic horror story that will leave most viewers running to stockpile Purell and hesitant to enter airports. Much of its success comes from a grounded depiction of how the world’s biggest lines of defense against infectious diseases such as the CDC and World Health Organization operate. The film’s packed cast, which includes Gwyneth Platrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Marion Cotillard, doesn’t suffer from the typical all-star chemistry issues that have crashed similarly stocked movies over the years, either. Combined under Soderbergh purposefully gangrenous lighting Contagion has all of blockbuster trappings required of a good thriller, complete with a convenient buttoned up Hollywood ending, yet still peddles enough raw fear to leave viewers pondering just how fast the world could degrade when panic takes hold.

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