Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America (2006) Review

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We are all going to die. Well eventually.

Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America (2006): 3 out of 10: This movie is both funny and sad. The funny part is quite straightforward, as this isn’t a sober look at a potential impending crisis. This is a modern version of The Swarm. And very much like those killer bees (and the so-called killer bee crisis that prompted them) Bird Flu has joined a pantheon of media inspired end of the world scenarios (SARS, Y2K, The Rapture) that refuse to actually come about.

The sad part is the blatant attempt of the filmmakers to inspire panic. Pandemics historically were common. After all, people didn’t all die in their forties from heart disease. Even recent pandemics such as AIDS mirrors the old-fashioned VD crisis (Think syphilis) that used to kill more soldiers than bullets.

The 1918 influenza pandemic was a nasty business, killing millions, but honestly, life went on. I wonder if our over dramatic media and their power hungry government allies would allow life as normal today. (2020 Edit: I guess we will find out soon with the new coronavirus COVID-19) (2021 Edit: And no, not really. But not the disaster movie we were expecting.)

The movie itself swerves wildly from competent scenes (Triage in Grand Central Station) to the ridiculous (Rednecks try to ambush National Guardsman in Manhattan).

The scenarios themselves are useless as the filmmakers can’t seem to decide exactly how contagious the bird flu is, or for that matter whether the symptoms are an Ebola style crash or a long illness. One scene will show everyone in biohazard suits and the next will have nobody even wearing a mask.

The film also patently refuses to actually give any practical advice regarding what to do in a Bird Flu crisis. (Outside of wash your hands, what no duct tape?) The acting and directing are competent for a TV movie, but the script is all over the map. Last, the movie has a strangely non-exponential death total running on the bottom of the screen. Just like The Swarm did.

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