Watch Virus

"Autumn 1982: Mankind has been wiped out except 863 persons on Antarctica. Who will inherit the earth?"
  • PG
  • 1980
  • 2 hr 36 min
  • 6.2  (3,013)

Virus, also known as Fukkatsu no hi, is a Japanese post-apocalyptic science fiction film from 1980 that weaves a gripping tale of global catastrophe and survival. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, who is renowned for his ability to craft dynamic and intense narratives, this film stands out as an ambitious project, especially given the era in which it was made. It features an ensemble cast led by Masao Kusakari, along with Tsunehiko Watase, Isao Natsuyagi, and an array of international actors, reflecting the global scale of the story it endeavors to tell.

The film begins with a distressing scenario wherein a deadly virus, known as the MM88, is accidentally released from a top-secret American laboratory. Disastrously, this virus is a weaponized strain of influenza, created through genetic engineering, with the potential to wipe out human civilization. MM88 is highly virulent and lethal, with a terrifyingly swift mortality rate that raises immediate concerns about the survival of the human race. The virus originates from a well-intentioned attempt to engineer a biological weapon that could neutralize enemy populations without destroying infrastructure, but as is often the case with such experiments within science fiction narratives, unintended consequences arise.

Virus unfolds against the backdrop of the Cold War, which significantly influences the plot's development. The virus's release coincides with a period of heightened tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, adding a layer of political drama to an already dire situation. Masao Kusakari's character is a Japanese scientist, Dr. Shuzo Yoshizumi, who becomes a critical figure in the unfolding events. As governments scramble to respond and the virus begins to take its toll, Yoshizumi's expertise and leadership are thrust to the forefront of an international effort to find a cure.

The scope of the movie is vast, spanning several countries and continents, depicting the widespread panic and chaos that the virus incites. Governments collapse, and social order disintegrates as the virus relentlessly decimates the population. Amidst this downfall, scientific teams and military forces from different nations are shown collaborating in a desperate attempt to confront the implacable biological menace.

Cinematographically, Virus captures the stark, chilling tone of a world facing its demise. The film utilizes a combination of location shooting and special effects to portray the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on cities and landscapes across the globe. Amidst the desolation, there are moments of human drama, with the main characters conveying deep emotional layers as they wrestle with the knowledge that they may be among the last people on Earth.

In the midst of the calamity, a glimmer of hope emerges in Antarctica, where a group of international scientists and specialists, including Dr. Yoshizumi and his companions, find themselves insulated from the rest of the infected world. Antarctica serves as a refuge from the virus due to its isolation and frigid temperatures, which prevent the virus from surviving. The scientists are tasked with the monumental responsibility of preserving knowledge, continuing the search for a cure, and potentially ensuring the future of humanity.

As the survivors in Antarctica come to terms with their situation and plan their next steps, the plot delves into themes of unity, resilience, and the human spirit. The film explores the ways in which people from diverse backgrounds can come together to face a common threat, a resounding testament to the interconnectedness of all humankind in the face of universal challenges.

However, the narrative is about more than just survival; it is about the fundamental question of what it means to be human when faced with the potential end of civilization. The movie's characters must grapple with complex moral dilemmas and the weight of decisions that could determine the fate of the species. This human element adds a rich layer of depth to the science fiction premise.

With adversaries on all fronts, from the biological to the environmental and political, Virus takes the audience on a harrowing journey of humanity’s fight against extinction. It is a reflection on the fragility of human society and the perils inherent in the manipulation of nature. While the technological aspects of the film, such as special effects, may seem modest by today’s standards, they serve the story effectively, underscoring the very personal and human struggle at the film's core.

Combining elements of disaster film, political thriller, and sci-fi melodrama, Virus stands out as a unique entry in the genre. It is ambitious in its scale, combining international drama with intimate human storylines, an introspective look at human nature, and a cautionary tale about the perils of unchecked scientific advancement. Despite its release in 1980, the themes it explores continue to resonate in an age where global pandemics and geopolitical tensions remain starkly relevant.

Virus is a 1980 horror movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.2.

Where to Watch Virus
Virus is available to watch free on Plex and Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, The Roku Channel and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Virus for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.2  (3,013)