Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
For Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we’re adding Speak to the Let’s Talk Public Health Movie List. Speak tells the story of teenager Melinda Sordino. Before the start of her freshman year of high school, Melinda attends an end-of-summer house party with her friends. While at the party, she meets a senior. They spend time together, talking and dancing. The night almost seems magical, until it turns into a nightmare for Melinda. She calls the police to the house that night, busting the party. But she leaves without reporting what happened to her. As students flee the party, Melinda’s friends find each other and drive off without her, leaving Melinda to walk home alone, disheveled with her shoes in her hands.
This past weekend, I rewatched a movie that I would not have originally classified as public health related, but it really is. To what film am I referring? Cabin Fever. The name even suggests its public health relevance, but when I saw this movie when it first came out in 2002, it was marketed as more of a horror flick. I remembered it as such. But in fact, it's more of an infectious disease thriller.
The movie tells the story of five college friends that rent a cabin in the woods for a week. Before they get there, it's clear that there is some infectious pathogen lurking in the woods; a local farmer is seen coming across infected animals. Our group of friends arrives during the early stages of an outbreak. One of them comes across the now infected and contagious farmer, and the disease quickly spreads.