Matt Damon is a fine actor, but is he a strong enough performer to prompt moviegoers to give the upcoming thriller Contagion a chance?
Look first at the idea behind the film. . .
The story centers on an airborne virus that wipes out mankind within days of infection. It’s a good idea, but it was a good idea in Wolfgang Petersen’s 1995 feature, Outbreak; just as it was an enjoyable story when Terry Gilliam tackled the topic for his own 1995 flick, 12 Monkeys. Hell, The Crazies, 28 Days Later and Warning all handled the subject matter in fine fashion.
Moving on to the man in the driver’s seat…
Steven Soderbergh is a damn fine filmmaker, but are his credentials noticeably superior to those of Wolfgang Peterson? That’s a topic sure to conjure heated debate. Furthermore, Danny Boyle is a remarkable filmmaker in his own right, who’s already managed to put a terrifying spin on the outbreak concept; can Soderbergh craft a superior piece of artwork?
Reevaluating the cast bestows hope, as Gwyneth Paltrow and Laurence Fishburne are fine performers, but in all honesty, neither has been known to shine in the horror genre (both have dabbled in the macabre, though neither has left the most memorable impresons in doing so), and I’m not completely convinced Damon is suited to carry a picture of this nature.
What’s more disheartening about the picture is the embarrasng promotional campaign that Warner Bros. has implemented. We’ve been treated to a few previews that look about as stimulating as a Sunday trip to the local library, and the numerous one-sheets and premier posters redefine drab. There just isn’t much that really appears appealing.
Contagion, in my mind is a clever approach to releang a remake, while avoiding legal issues by detaching its namesake from any of the number of identical pictures to swarm the market over the last few decades. While I’m convinced plenty will fall in line to see this “chiller” once it arrives in theaters on September 9th, I won’t be one of those. I’ve already seen Outbreak, 12 Monkeys, 28 Days Later, The Crazies, The Stand, Warning gn… well, you catch my drift!
Are you interested in Contagion?