As I believe was made abundantly clear in my panicked review, Contagion kind of scared the bejeesus out of me, because (A) it's a really effective thriller about how quickly a powerful disease could kick-start an apocalypse, and (B) I'm ALREADY paranoid about germs, so, I was already primed and ready to go, and watching Contagion was basically as if Steven Soderbergh came into my house and was all, "Hey, Erik, do you really think you're washing your hands quite enough? Because you probably could wash 'em a few more times, is all I'm saying. Also, have fun riding the bus tomorrow! 'Cause chances are pretty good that someone will cough on it."
io9 scored an interview with Contagion's writer, Scott Z. Burns, in which he not only mentions a cut of the film that's 45 minutes longer (I'd love to see that, so here's hoping it ends up on the Blu-ray release), but also asserts that Contagion's science is as real as they could make it. (Soderbergh said the same thing in a recent interview with Empire: "This was two-and-a-half years of research and we were very diligent about it, because my attitude was, the more real it is, the scarier it is.") Here's Burns, intent on terrifying me even after his movie has ended:
In 120 days, you could go from zero people to a billion people on the planet [who are] sick. What would that look like? Because when you have a billion people sick, this is where it gets trickier. People have done some modeling, but it's all conjecture. If a billion people are sick, how many people stop going to work? If people stop going to work, how many social services tip over? It's hard to know the tipping point of a lot of these things. It's a relatively new area of science called "threat assessment." It can really, for lack of a better word, fuck us up. After 9/11, I think two people died from anthrax, but it shut down the airline industry. And it stopped Congress. That will do that, but thousands and thousands of people die every year from the flu, and still a lot of people won't get vaccinated.
A lot of people who sit next to me on the bus, he means. The whole interview's here.