There was a time when the name Arnold Schwarzenegger brought the big bucks in Hollywood. Throughout the ladies 80s to the early 90s, the Austrian-American actor ruled the box office and it all started with movies such as this action classic – ‘Predator’. Directed by John McTiernan, ‘Predator’ follows a team of commandos, led by Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, essayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, on a mission in a Central American jungle terrifyingly find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial entity. For this list, I have taken into account films which portray similar plotlines and themes. So, without further ado, here is the list of movies similar to The Predator that are our recommendations. You can stream some of these movies like The Predator on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.
10. Independence Day (1996)
Considered as one of the most important films in the history of the “Hollywood Blockbuster”, ‘Independence Day’ resurfaced the science fiction genre, which saw a scathing decline in popularity due to the poorly written, acted and directed flick of the 90s. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the film focuses on an alien invasion which threatens all humanity. Reiterating America’s fight against the alien life, the title marks their attempts to gain “independence” from the clutches of the extern-terrestrial life by July 4 – the independence day of America. While the film receives quite a criticism for its nationalistic overtones, which is quite evident for the summary, the innovative take on the sci-fi genre elevated the film from any criticism whatsoever. ‘Independence Day’ explores the technological superiority of the extra-terrestrial, described as an “alien mothership”, with dexterity. Starring Will Smith as Captain Steven Hiller, a Marine F/A-18 pilot and Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, an MIT-educated technological expert, the film took a detour from the clichéd approaches towards the concept of an alien life. The films of the genre, regardless of its brilliance, had stagnated due to the repetitive elements of horror and fear. However, the alien life and their terrifying power are set in parallel with the quintessential comedy of the “buddy-comedy” genre.
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9. Signs (2002)
Starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, the 2002 film is a science fiction horror film about a family living on a farm which finds mysterious crop circles or “signs”. Little is known that these signs signify an impending peril. ‘Signs’ was both a commercial and critical success, with it receiving quite a many accolades. Releasing at a time when director M. Night Shyamalan was at the top of his game, ‘Signs’ provides the deduction of how the alien life might affect Earth and its unexplored horrors. Shyamalan’s film is all the more accentuated by James Newton Howard’s musical score and the cinematography Tak Fujimoto infuses the backdrop of the rural human environment and the yet unfamiliar extra-terrestrial life. The film focuses on the UFO and exploits its resulting fear without fixating on the alien life. While the film was met with some flak for Shyamalan’s decision of divulging all suspense built through the course of the narrative by the end, his elaborate direction and the exploits of the UFO for highly appreciated by critics and audiences alike.
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8. The War of the Worlds (1953)
An adaptation of H. G. Wells’ ‘The War of the Worlds’, published in 1898, this 1953 movie revolutionised the UFO-oriented films. Tracing the yet un-researched alien life on Mars, the film follows a small town in California which is attacked by Martians, beginning a worldwide invasion. Directed by Byron Haskin, the film is a commentary on the Cold War and the deploring humanity, amidst their obsession of advancing in science and technology. Winning won an Academy Award for “Best Visual Effects”, the film essentially paved the way for directors such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and David Cameron to explore the “other” world. While Spielberg’s 2005 science fiction film ‘War of the Worlds’ was an authentic adaptation of Wells’ novel, Haskin’s Technicolor flick prove to be a favourite among critics and audiences alike.
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7. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Directed by the visionary Steven Spielberg, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ is the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after he tries to follow a series of psychic clues to the scheduled meeting between representatives of Earth and visitors from the cosmos. A dream project for the director, the film is a development of American Ufologist J. Allen Hynek’s classification of close encounters with aliens, in which he said that third kind denotes human observations of aliens or “animate beings”. Like the aforementioned ‘Independence Day’ on this list, ‘Close Encounters with the Third Kind’, alongside ‘Star Wars’ (1977) and Superman (1978), led to the re-emergence of the “science fiction” genre. With visionary visual effects and the pictorial cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond, the movie uses the idea of a spaceship, a concept hardly read by the audience. With its uncertainty and ambiguity of the technological advancements of the third kind, the film was a breath of fresh air to critics and audiences.
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6. Seven (1995)
There are few films which manage to garner critical praise for its atmospheric darkness, and ‘Seven’ or ‘Se7ev’ garnered immense praise for its seamless incorporation of darkness and brutality. What makes this 1995 David Fincher film such a menacing watch is its dark undertones. Employing Christian and religious themes, the movie traces the two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, who in the pursuit of catching a serial killer come across the killer’s shrewd and depressing references of the seven deadly sins. Establishing a film in bold narrative techniques, ‘Seven’ is a masterful merger of the detectives’ thriller hunt for the killer, and the horrifying undertones of religious dogmas. Unlike other films on this list, ‘Seven’ carefully separated the horror and thriller without alienating them from each other. Film critic Roger Ebert famously said, “None of Fincher’s films is darker than this one.” And he couldn’t be more right, with Fincher bringing a cat and mouse chase to an extremely unnerving dark ending, the flick is bound to send shivers down the spine.
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5. The Terminator (1984)
Directed by James Cameron, ‘The Terminator’ follows a cyborg assassin, essayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, essayed by Linda Hamilton, whose son will one day become a saviour against machines in a post-apocalyptic future. The assassin’s attempts are challenged by Kyle Reese, essayed by Michael Biehn, a soldier from the future sent back in time to protect Connor. The film was a revelation during its time, with Cameroon’s taut direction playing a huge role in the film’s massive success.
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4. Arrival (2016)
With a cohesive screenplay and mature performances by the lead cast, ‘Arrival’ is a brilliantly directed science fiction film. Directed by Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, ‘Arrival’ follows linguist Louise Banks, essayed by Amy Adams, who is recruited by the military to communicate with alien life-forms after twelve mysterious spacecraft land around the world. This 2016 film enthrals audiences with its philosophical inferences and allegories on life, humanity and existence. Based on the short story ‘Story of Your Life’ by Ted Chiang, published in 1998, the Academy Award-nominated screenplay is luminously adapted by Eric Heisserer. The incandescent talent of the crew earned ‘Arrival’ the rare distinction of being nominated in the “Best Film” categories at the Academy Awards and BAFTA and was cited as being the best science fiction movie of 2016 by various scientific institutions.
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3. Donnie Darko (2001)
A movie which still has the ability to reinvent itself with its innovative directorial style, ‘Donnie Darko’, directed by Richard Kelly, is about the titular character’s troubled visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes. The film applies disturbing imagery and takes inspiration from veteran director David Lynch’s cinematography techniques. The film draws the scares upon the narrative techniques, crafted by the director himself. Scrutinizing the character’s tortured and anguished soul and mind, the film acts like a maze where one tends to misinterpret reality with illusion. The chain of events created by Donnie’s crime almost acts as a representation of his mind. With a disturbing background score by Michael Andrews and a depressive and haunting cinematography by Steven B. Poster, the film holds its engaging capabilities in its gloomy aura. ‘Donnie Darko’, since its release, has gained a cult following both critically and commercially. Among its gallon of awards, Richard Kelly won the “Best Screenplay” at the San Diego Film Critics Society and the “Grand Jury Prize” at the Sundance Film Festival, to name a few.
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2. Alien (1979)
‘Alien’ is a conclusive proof that alien life is not supposed to be explored. Conceived by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett, ‘Alien’ is the story about a man-hunting extra-terrestrial creature that stalks and attacks the crew of a spaceship. A science fiction film, this 1979 flick embraces the horror of the unknown with terrifying warmth. Preserved by the Library of Congress, the film set a benchmark for the horror genre which still hasn’t been surpassed. ‘Aliened’ is brilliantly symbolical, amalgamating the classic mystery of the fear and an unpleasant social construct.
Directed by Ridley Scott, this sci-fi horror film is vividly visual, intensifying the inner fear of the human and fear of a grotesque reality. While the aforementioned man-hunting alien is set as the primary character, the film utilizes the murkiness of the spaceship where the mysterious life form takes birth as an active character. The production design, which won the BAFTA for “Best Production Design” and a nomination for an Academy Award and the intricate direction by Scott, creates a foggy claustrophobic effect, causing intense discomfort and unease. Winning the Academy Award for “Best Effects, Visual Effects”, ‘Alien’ was met with immense critical praise and commercial success, and has since been regarded as one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time.
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1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
An enigma of a film, ‘2002: a Space Odyssey’ follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution, deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the existence of extra-terrestrial life. Directed by the eccentric Stanley Kubrick, the film is a terrifying yet an intoxicating watch. Adapted from British author Arthur C. Clarke’s short story’ The Sentinel’ (1951), who also assisted in writing the screenplay, the film utilises the ambiguity of the extra-terrestrial life form. While the other movies on this list heavily rely on the terror of the spaceship, this 1968 wonder develops the horror without actually showing it onscreen. What makes this film such a tremendous watch is its scientific accuracy, a feat still unmatched by many. Adding to its grandeur, the employment of classical music and minimalist dialogues elevated the discreet horror and opacity. Like any visionary masterpiece, the film wasn’t a critical success at the time of its release. However, with the passage of time, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ has seasoned to be one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time. Not surprisingly, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ nabbed the Academy Award for “Best Effects, Special Visual Effects” and the BAFTA for “Best Art Direction”, “Best Cinematography” and “Best Sound Track”.
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