Honest Reviews Of Isolation Movies, Watched In Isolation

Ever watched a movie on a plane and deemed it moving and brilliant and recommended it to everyone who’d listen, and then rewatched it later and realized it was… just fine? Something weird happens when you’re in that tin-can tube in the sky, some combination of elevation and cabin pressure and confined space and truly nowhere else to be. A flight is, in effect, a brief and voluntary quarantine.

Well, a plane ride is, what, 16 hours, max? So imagine what’s become of my movie-watching brain during four (4) consecutive weeks of self-isolation. I’m slowly growing feral alone in my 350-square-foot studio apartment, from which I haven’t had a face-to-face conversation since early March, which feels about as long ago as 1992. So, like the carefree Plane Me (only that smug bitch was free as a bird and zooming instead of Zooming), I’m sitting on my ass and watching movies galore. And for some reason, I can’t stop gravitating toward films that prominently feature isolation. 

Health advisory: Don’t be like me and decide to watch quarantine movies during quarantine. This has been your daily COVID briefing. 

‘I Am Legend’

The long shots of Will Smith, convincingly playing a virologist (why aren’t we hearing more from the virology community right now?), traipsing around the empty streets of Manhattan hit awfully close to home. By far the most unrealistic thing about this movie is that the immune humans he eventually encounters don’t know the Bob Marley classic, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”   

‘Dawn of the Dead’

A mall would actually be a pretty sick spot to be holed up during the apocalypse (she thinks while glancing around at the four white walls pressing in around her). You’ve got an arcade, clothing, supplies…and who knows what wonders await when you bust open the walk-in freezer behind the Cinnabon? Also, decently sharp scissors in the Supercuts for when you inevitably get bored and decide to trim your own bags. As for me, I went at it with my kitchen scissors.

‘The Hunger Games’

I sh*t you not, I had the windows open while I was watching this and what wafted in was not airborne coronavirus molecules (when did we all become virologists?) but the dystopian sound of a police car circling the streets of my Brooklyn neighborhood, reminding everyone to stay six feet away from each other. If the Capitol ultimately decides to send a bunch of people into a biodome to fight to the death, can they please keep in mind that Glenn Beck quite literally volunteered as tribute


The scene with the flash flooding serves as a helpful reminder that natural disaster season is coming soon, whether we beat corona or not. 🙃


Sooo does anyone know of any Swedish cults living far enough away from civilization that they’re unaffected by COVID-19, and if so, where can I send the video application I already made? I like flowers and bright colors and dancing and open space, and it looks like they could really stand to up their diversity quotient. (See, I’m a hazel-eyed brunette.) 

‘The Lighthouse’

This movie is strong evidence against the live-streamed yoga and barre and Pilates classes people keep pushing on me. Whenever he’s not eating or masturbating, Robert Pattinson (along with the vermin glued below his nose) is carrying oil drums up the stairs or pushing a heavy wheelbarrow uphill or hauling up lobster traps and generally engaging in the kind of functional fitness regimen that would make Ryan Lochte nod approvingly. (Remember him? Douchebag swimmer best known for flipping tires in promotional videos and swiping right on you on Tinder but then refusing to reply to your message? #Olympics2020) Honestly, even R.Pat’s masturbation looks rather aerobic. And he still loses his mind during self-isolation—take THAT, suggested donation of $10-20 per class, MindBodyOnline.

‘A Quiet Place’

YOU HAVE AN ENTIRE FARMHOUSE AND NIGHTLY CAMPFIRE CIRCLES WITH THE NEIGHBORS? And yet you’re so lonely and isolated you’re having another child?! But also…why don’t you live behind the waterfall where you can shout? Why don’t you set a bunch of firecrackers off in a field and rush up into your lookout tower and shoot the monsters with assault rifles? Why doesn’t your baby cry? Where did you get the teeny-tiny baby-sized oxygen mask it’s so cute I want one too!


I mean, at least she had someone in there with her.

Images: Diego Cervo/; Giphy

Andrea Bartz
Andrea Bartz
Andrea Bartz is a Brooklyn-based journalist and the author of The Lost Night, The Herd, and We Were Never Here. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, Martha Stewart Living, Redbook, Elle, and many other outlets, and she's held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other publications.