Search - Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America on DVD

Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America
Fatal Contact Bird Flu in America
Actors: Joely Richardson, Scott Cohen, Justina Machado, Ann Cusack, David Ramsey
Director: Richard Pearce
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2006     1hr 23min

An American businessman in China becomes the first victim of an avian flu strain that can be passed from human to human. Genre: Television Rating: NR Release Date: 30-JAN-2007 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actors: Joely Richardson, Scott Cohen, Justina Machado, Ann Cusack, David Ramsey
Director: Richard Pearce
Creators: Ivan Strasburg, Henk Van Eeghen, Dennis A. Brown, Diana Kerew, Judith Verno, Paul Carran, Ron McGee
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/31/2006
Original Release Date: 05/09/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 05/09/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 11/11/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"This made for TV flick certainly makes an impact on just how devastating a pandemic of the dreaded bird flu could impact the world. That's the film's main problem--it is so heavy handed and somber that it doesn't really flesh out the storylines to make us care for the people. It's almost like a documentary; nothing really "happens."
Joely Richardson is lovely but her performance is lifeless; Scott Cohen fares a little better as the obsessed governor of Virginia; and Stacy Keach is appropriately bureaucratic. Ann Cusack takes acting honors, however, as the widow of the businessman responsible for bringing the virus into America. She evokes a lot of sympathy as a wife and mother who takes charge when things get really bad.
A dark, disturbing if ultimately uneventful movie, though."
Not your usual Hollywood hype
Steven A. Herr | Jackson, Michigan | 08/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have been researching the avian H5N1 flu for quite a while now, and was impressed with this film's accuracy. I expected this film to be the usual Hollywood treatment where the pretty doctor comes up with the Magic Vaccine at the last minute. I was pleased to be wrong. The statistics were right on, and it gave an accurate view of how the government in its arrogance will be slow to react when the flu finally mutates so that it will be passed easily from human to human.

Scenes were well-crafted in regards to bare grocery shelves, the panic buying that ensues when deliveries ARE made, and how the garbage will pile up when the trash collectors are not available.

I was impressed with the emphasis on the need for neighbors to pull together to make it through the crisis, and how one individual can make the difference.

I do take issue where the film implies that virtually everyone who catches the flu will die. Other than the one boy (I've forgotten his name) EVERYBODY shown who contacts the flu dies.

One last thing that stood out for me was that this movie did not put a "happy face" on the situation, but ends with the grim reality that nature does not fit in a tidy little box where things are resolved in 2 hours minus commercials.

As they emphasised in the movie, it's not a matter of "if," but "when." I hope people take this film to heart and make preparations NOW, while there is still timwe to prepare. I would recommend that a good starting point would be The Bird Flu Preparedness Planner by Grattan Woodson. I have already given this book a 5-star review, and recommend it without qualification. Naturally, it is available through Amazon."
I thought that this movie was better than average
Brian Burt | Realityland | 07/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It is true that it showed almost like a documentary; and I liked that about this movie. Many disaster movies focus on several troubled relationship and the main theme of the disaster is only a back drop; not so with this film. After watching this movie, I actually felt that I knew more about avion flu and how various government agencies MIGHT deal with the problems that develop."
"These Are Dark Times Indeed."
Robert I. Hedges | 04/22/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

""Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" is a deliberate attempt to sensationalize a current events story, combine it with fearmongering and horrible overacting, and present it on television as the disaster of the week just in time for the May sweeps. The film begins plausibly enough with a single businessman bringing the H5N1 virus back from China and it spreading across the country at lightning speed with special thanks to air travel as a vector. Despite the actual experience of avian flu in North America, the film features extensive quarantines imposed, total social breakdown, all insurance companies going bankrupt, rednecks hijacking a military vaccine convoy, starvation, and the like. Certainly widespread flu is nothing to take lightly, but this movie features over-the-top hysteria that is totally unjustified, and features horrible over-emoting throughout, although it still has time for a demographically-driven romantic subplot and dance on a rooftop amidst the death, mass unmarked graves, and charges of racism against an unlikable and obstreperous governor.

The only big-name actor in the cast is Stacy Keach, who turns in by far the best performance of the film, although I can't imagine why he ever signed on to this project. The film is remarkably downbeat, and I do give the filmmakers credit for staying true to their dream of making an utterly bleak film. Obviously the flu virus mutates over time, but this strain mutates very quickly and with grossly increasing lethality. When we finally get to the end of the film a team of US experts discover a new mutation that has killed all the villagers in regions of Angola, no doubt paving the way for extinction of the human race. One of several problems I have with the film is how these experts in Angola talk among themselves: one actually has to lecture the others that their flu shots may not protect them due to mutations in the H5N1 virus. You would think that if these were the best and brightest virologists and epidemiologists on the planet that they would grasp basic information known to high schoolers taking a biology class. Likewise I have issues with the constantly reinforced concept that everyone (well, everyone except one child, anyway) dies from the flu. Even in the most severe outbreaks that has never occurred. Not to say that it couldn't, but that the level of panic that this movie wants us to attain is historically completely unjustified.

The biggest problem for me wasn't that I didn't think the movie was scientifically credible (I think influenza pandemics can be very severe, although I have reservations about the scope of this presentation; it's unlikely though not statistically impossible.) My biggest problem with the movie is that it's ponderous, preachy, and poorly acted. With the exception of Stacy Keach, there really isn't much to redeem this movie, although I do give it two stars for attempting to tackle the difficult subject of a cataclysmic medical event.

As an aside, I watched this and the wholly unrelated and grossly inferior "Flu Birds" as a double feature. While I found "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" to be boring and plodding, it is exponentially better than the horror that is "Flu Birds." While this movie attempts to treat a serious subject somberly, "Flu Birds" is simply an excuse for a excrementally bad horror movie about killer birds. I recommend this double feature only to the truly cinematically hardened."