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Frightening realism in new flick "Contagion"

TORONTO (NEWS1130) – Studded with stars, you’ve likely seen the trailer for Contagion, a new highly realistic thriller featuring Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Jude Law.

The film features hyper-realistic footage of a group of doctors battling what appears to be a worldwide outbreak of some sort of airbourne disease.

Now, as a recent warning from the United Nations about a “mutant strain of bird flu” has made headlines, some people are accusing the new film of being “a little too close to reality to be called entertainment,” as one man on Twitter wrote.

Dr. Donald Low, a microbiologist from Toronto, says there is no need to panic over the movie or the flu, reminding Canadians that flu shots will be available in only a few short weeks.

If the movie can motivate more people to get their flu vaccination, Low believes that would be one of the best outcomes.

“That would be great if that was one of the off-shoots of a movie that sort of puts fear back in people, (it makes you realize) look something like this could happen and there is a vaccine that could protect me, maybe I will get it,” Low said.

Low warns it is important to get vaccinated, especially because it can be hard to predict how strongly the flu strain will hit from year-to-year.

“What we don’t know is what actual strain are we going to be dealing with this winter, last year it was the run-of-the-mill seasonal flu strain, but this year we might see a return of the pandemic strain,” Low said.

Low, who was front-line when SARS hit Toronto, said the movie is a good eye-opener.

“It is always just a reminder how things can change rapidly and a strain can spread so quickly,” Low said.

He added that, movie or not, there is no need to panic.

To help improve the pre-launch hype, Warner Brothers plans to unveil a “bacteria message board” in an abandoned store window on Queen West in Toronto today.

Contagion is due in theaters September 9.