Jazz Tangcay Reviews The Hot Zone. The thrilling new drama series about how Ebola almost caused a catastrophe on American Soil.
We live in a society where more often than not, have an attitude that if it doesn’t affect us, we turn our backs. As Ebola devastated towns in Africa, most people thought little of it because it was so far away.
Except, that wasn’t the case. In 1989, Ebola made its way to the USA and the deadly airborne disease appeared in the D.C area. It takes a matter of days for Ebola to kill its victims. Its mortality rate is 90% and there’s no cure.
Richard Preston wrote a best seller based on the events and now, National Geographic has turned it into a terrifying and thrilling six-part mini-series.
Julianna Margulies, Topher Grace, Noah Emmerich, Liam Cunningham, Robert Sean Leonard and Grace Gummer all star.
The series kicks off with an Ebola outbreak in the 1970s. From the coughing on the plane and violent vomiting, National Geographic spares no expenses with its anxiety-inducing opener.
Flash forward to 1989, Dr. Nancy Jaax (Margulies) is an Army colonel working at the USAMRIID or the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases handling some of the deadliest diseases out there. When monkeys at a quarantine facility in Reston, Virginia start dying, the first hunch is Simian hemorrhagic fever. But Jaax has a hunch that it’s more than that. Grace plays Dr. Peter Jahrling, initially reluctant to follow her hunch, he eventually gives in and learns the true nature of what they’re up against. It is Jaax, the real-life scientist who successfully averted a catastrophic disaster.
The series switches between the outbreak of the 70s and the outbreak at Reston, the editing job here by Jon Otazua and Jake Cohen is thrilling as they weave and connects the dots between past and present. You don’t need to be a scientist to understand the dangers of this virus, the visuals are gripping, as is the suspense. It moves fast and it’s airborne. The task is simple, stop Ebola from spreading or there will be hell. Jaax and her team work to stop that, putting their own lives at risk to prevent catastrophe.
Michael Uppendahl directs the limited series that is frightening enough to make us aware of how deadly the disease is. It makes us aware of our surroundings the next time someone has a coughing fit. It’ll make you not want to touch your face every few seconds. Uppendahl spares nothing on the visual front – the disease ravages and he delivers some incredible shots while giving us a science lesson. It’s visually thrilling and scary enough to make us stop for a moment.
National Geographic delivers the series in two episode installments across three nights. It’s a great way to indulge in this thriller over the holiday weekend.