Contagious (1997) Lindsay Wagner, Elizabeth Peña, Ken Pogue, Brendan Fletcher, Tom Wopat, Alexandra Purvis, Matt Hill, Gerard Plunkett, Johnny Cuthbert, Bill Croft, Jed Rees Movie Review

Contagious (1997)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Lindsay Wagner in Contagious (1997)


Dr. Hannah Cole (Lindsay Wagner) doesn't always find it easy to get co-operation from other doctors as she is very direct especially when her job is to deal with containing the outbreak of contagious diseases. And she finds herself with a lot on her plate as there is a sudden outbreak of sickness causes by a shipment of shrimp from Mexico which is tainted with Cholera. On top of that the first case came to her attention was a drug smuggler who was found murdered which means that the drugs he was carrying inside of him may also be infected. As Hannah tries to cope with the influx of those falling ill she also tries to help Det. Luisa Rojas (Elizabeth Peña) get to the bottom of things. But then there is her husband Sam (Tom Wopat) who falls sick whilst out on a camping trip with their children.

I hate calling movies "by the book" because I always feel it makes me sound lazy as a movie reviewer but there are times where that phrase simply fits. "Contagious", a made for TV thriller from back in 1997 certainly fits the phrase as the first 20 minutes shows how quickly the sickness spread as first we have people on a plane eating infected shrimp, then we have the drug smuggler with the balloons in his stomach and then we have the restaurants using the shrimp. Basically the disease has lots of way to spread and as we see Hannah's husband eats some shrimp at a formal dinner and then goes camping so you know he is going to end up not feeling so good and in need of Hannah to save him.

Elizabeth Peña in Contagious (1997)

The trouble is with all this is that despite putting up text on the screen to show how much time has passed there is no real sense of urgency or dramatic atmosphere for the drama and story to really come to life. Yes there is danger with Det. Rojas trying to get to the bottom of where the drugs which may be infected are coming from but it is pretty bland. Even some attempts to bring some light hearted elements in such as when Hannah has to deal with an unprepared but eager assistant but it ends up nothing.

What this all boils down to is that "Contagious" ends up one of those movies which you put on whilst doing something else as it doesn't need your entire attention but is an okay distraction. And in truth I don't think it could have been much better as whilst the tension and atmosphere could have been improved the rest of the movie doesn't have the writing to back it up when it comes to characters and events.