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Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joely Richardson, Scott Cohen, Justina Machado, Ann Cusack, David Ramsey
  • Directors: Richard Pearce
  • Writers: Ron McGee
  • Producers: Dennis A. Brown, Diana Kerew, Judith Verno, Paul Carran
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,506 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A virus with no cure. A threat with no borders. A nation with no chance of escaping H5N1, the Avian Flu. When a mutation of the virus is discovered in a local marketplace, China sends an emergency summons to Dr. Iris Varnack (Joely Richardson) of the Epidemic Intelligence Service. When she arrives, she discovers her efforts may be too late - an American businessman has become the first victim of a strain that is passed from human to human. As the flu begins its insidious spread, Secretary of Health and Human Services Collin Reed (Stacy Keach) races to combat the ensuing chaos. The victim's wife, Denise Connelly (Ann Cusack), does what she can to help other infected people. It wasn't supposed to happen this way - until it did.

Customer Reviews

Outside of wash your hands, what no duct tape?
Julian Kennedy
It's almost like a documentary; nothing really "happens."
Michael Butts
This is an excellent, well acted well thought out film.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 11, 2006
Format: DVD
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 21, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julian Kennedy on March 18, 2010
Format: DVD
Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America: 3 out of 10: This movie is both funny and sad. The funny part is fairly obvious as this certainly isn't a sober look at a possible impending crisis. This is a modern version of The Swarm. And 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, Global Warming) that simply refuse to actually come about.

The sad part is the blatant attempt of the filmmakers to inspire panic. Disease pandemics historically were fairly 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 flu pandemic of the early twenties 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.

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

The scenarios themselves are fairly 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 simply a long illness. Indeed one scene will show everyone in bio-hazard 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Movie Guy on August 3, 2012
Format: DVD
For those who couldn't get enough of "Contagion" we have an earlier made for TV movie with all the same thrills and excitement crammed into 83 minutes. People and communities are quickly quarantined. With imports being shut off, no one has any stockpiles of food. Like "Contagion" this story bounces around from scene to scene that never seeming interconnect except through the virus. The acting script, and soundtrack were TV grade which is why I though "Contagion" to be superior. There are scenes that made me go hmm. Such as people holding a paper mask on with one hand while touching an infected person with their other bare hand. Notice when the medical staff are given masks and gloves before they proceed to the infected area. They then get on a public escalator and everyone holds one to the hand rail with their bare first.

There are two things which quickly come to mind. The positive one is that we don't have pandemics such as this and that is because our CDC is on top of things and issue warnings which prevent these disasters. Their efficiency is demonstrated by the fact we don't see these people. The second aspect is the stock piles which America avoids to save warehouse costs and our reliance on items produced abroad. This could one day prove bothersome. China is stock piling raw materials such as high grade iron ore as our demand depletes non-renewable resources. The virus is nature's way to keep the human population in check.

The ending fails to provide closure for the film.

PARENTAL GUIDE: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity.
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