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30 Best Science Fiction Movies on Netflix Right Now

January 2, 2019
22 min read

Science fiction is one of the best movie genres. It is incredibly flexible and allows writers, filmmakers, actors, and everyone involved in the process of filmmaking to show off their creativity without limitations. All sci-fi films can have elements of romance, action, drama, mystery, and suspense without losing its identity. Technically speaking, all the alien movies, fantasy movies relying on technology, movies involving time travel and which are set in a post-apocalyptic future can easily be classified as science fiction.  That’s why from a viewer’s standpoint, sci-fi still remains to be one of the most exciting genres. For you, we’ve compiled a list of really good sci-fi movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now. The list includes some top horror sci-fi movies and romance sci-fi movies.

30. Beyond Skyline (2017)

An official sequel to the movie ‘Skyline (2010)’, ‘Beyond Skyline’ packs a bigger punch when compared with its predecessor. Set in a post-apocalyptic world and surrounding LAPD detective Mark Corley, ‘Beyond Skyline’ progresses with Corley meeting his teenager son Trent who has been jailed due to a fistfight that happened earlier. Meanwhile, due to an incumbent alien invasion, in which a blue light is used by the aliens to suck people into spaceships, Trent is also sucked into one. A desperate and distraught Mark must save his son from the alien captors while trying to figure a way to thwart them away. ‘Beyond Skyline’ received positive reviews upon its release and was hailed for its CGI and performances.

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29. The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The heir apparent of the extremely engaging and engrossing ’10 Cloverfield Lane’, ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ is set in 2028 when Earth is crumbling under an energy crisis. Aboard the now floating Cloverfield station, space scientists are about to test and run a particle accelerator which would solve the energy crisis. But many fear that it might increase Earth’s troubles as it would open portals to parallel universes or alien worlds and might create paradoxes, thus leading to an existential crisis. Soon, after some unsuccessful attempts to arm the device, the crew of Cloverfield station is seemingly lost in the vast universe and has entered another parallel world, much similar to the existing one. Although the movie was panned for its mishandling of the genre mix and the shallow characterization, it still wins in terms of its visuals and to some extent – its performances.

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28. Kill Command (2016)

A movie set in the dystopian future, ‘Kill Command’ is the story of a group of marines led by Captain Damien Bukes who are on a remotely located island for a routine training and testing exercise. The catch is – no one knows where the island is located and how to approach it in case of an emergency. Katherine Mills is a cyborg who has accompanied the team to the island and who discovers a grave anomaly in the AI. Soon, they are on the spot as the AI tries to overpower them in a battle that ensues – in a typical man vs. machine way. ‘Kill Command’ wins in most of the departments, with many critics calling it scintillating and worthwhile of a thriller.

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27. Extinction (2018)

Featuring Michael Pena in a leading role as Peter, the movie surrounds the life of the engineer amid the strange visions he’s lately been having of an impending alien invasion. Pondering over the anomaly, as he visits a doctor, he gets to know of another patient who’s having the same visions. The night is followed by a vicious alien attack and Peter and Alice take shelter in a factory. Turns out, an injured Alice (Peter’s wife) is an android known as “synths”. Years ago, the Earth was invaded by synths who overtook the planet and humans and have wiped out the humans’ memories to live among them. Alice can be saved by another android who turns out to be Peter himself. With a shallow script and somewhat lack of twists and turns, ‘Extinction’ turned out to be bland and passive than expected.

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26. iBoy (2017)

No, it is not what you think it is. ‘iBoy’ begins with Tom Harvey getting a new phone from his friend Danny. Tom also has a thing for Lucy, his friend. On an unfortunate night, when Tom arrives at Lucy’s, he sees her brother unconscious and Lucy raped by marauders who apparently have recorded the event. When Tom tries to contact the police, he’s hit by one of the thugs and is rendered unconscious. When Tom wakes days later, he has this newfound ability, thanks to a shrapnel from his phone stuck in his head, to hear digital transmissions and see the signals. He must use his new superpowers to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice. ‘iBoy’ has a strong premise but it becomes too predictable and cliched, which proved to be the nemesis of the film.

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25. Automata (2014)

Featuring Antonio Banderas in a leading role as Jacq, in a movie that’s set in the dystopian future, solar flares have destroyed the vegetation as we know it and mode of travel is almost non-existent. Humans rely upon safer humanoid companions called Pilgrims – who’re robots built on two basic principles – they can’t harm any life form and they can’t alter themselves either. Jacq, who is working at the ROC, the manufacturer of the Pilgrims, in on a hunting spree for a robot who apparently has found a way to bypass its basic principles. Strikingly similar to Will Smith’s ‘I, Robot’, ‘Automata’ disappoints with its hollow portrayals and cliched storyline. Watch it if you’re a fan of Banderas or if you’re into dystopian sci-fi movies.

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24. Anon (2018)

In a ‘Black Mirror’ kind of a setup, set in the dystopian future, ‘Anon’ is the narrative of a time when privacy has ceased to exist and all the private memories down to a millisecond are recorded on a grid known as “Ether” and is shown to the law agencies using the “Mind’s Eye’. Agent Sal is investigating a serial murder spree when he comes across a woman who has no identity of herself. Even the system is found to have a loophole which Sal needs to get fixed before other people are compromised as well. ‘Anon’ starts off on a good note but due to lack of enough plot twists and character depths, it seems a bit of a drag.

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23. I am Number Four (2011)

The story begins with John Smith who’s an alien by birth and was sent to Earth from another planet along with eight others to elope from an invading race. He changes his identity and starts living like a human on Earth, but the invading race has now visited the planet and is on a prowl for the nine aliens who had visited back in the day. The only catch being – they should be killed in a sequence (for apparently no reason). Because he’s an alien, John possesses superhuman abilities like super strength etc. John has to rally with other aliens of his race to protect themselves from the invading aliens. ‘I am Number Four’ was a box office success, despite being called “noisy” and overdone without any worthwhile performances.

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22. Advantageous (2015)

In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen (Jacqueline Kim) and her daughter Jules do all they can to hold on to their joy together, despite the instability surfacing in their world. “Advantageous” focuses on what defines the parent-child relationship through portrayals of emotions and behaviour that feel real. It is not overly dramatic or “scripted” like in most films. It is also stylistically excellent, the general designs, locations, wardrobe, make-up, CGI. Despite not being action-packed, it will still capture your attention because it approaches important topics like class conflict and parental relationships.

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21. Radius (2017)

A film with a difference, ‘Radius’ begins with a delusional man who doesn’t know anything about himself following a car crash and is flabbergasted to see everyone dying when approaching him. His name is revealed to be Liam. After witnessing a lot of dead people on the way, he reaches home to find that there’s another person named Rose who has been facing similar symptoms. Rose doesn’t get killed when she approaches Liam, thus leading to his hypothesis that they should stay close in order to not make more people die. Turns out, there was a cosmic anomaly at the spot of the accident, which explains Liam’s abilities. Liam is a serial killer who had abducted Rose in order to kill her. ‘Radius’ is a defining thriller and won’t make you flinch if you’re into it.

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20. The Discovery (2017)

A scientist (Robert Redford) uncovers scientific proof that there is indeed an afterlife. However, his son (Jason Segel) is not too sure about his father’s “discovery”. After a series of events, he tries to help a mysterious woman (Rooney Mara) who has her own reasons for wanting to find out more about the afterlife. Writer-director Charlie McDowell created an original sci-fi film that not only explores the meaning of life (and of a possible afterlife) but also a complicated father-son relationship. It has an interesting take on consciousness and death that is worth watching.

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19. Infinity Chamber (2016)

One of the most engaging sci-fi thrillers mostly set in a room, ‘Infinity Chamber’ has a man trapped in an automated prison cell after being kidnapped by unknown assailants. His only companion in the cell is a voice coming from the ceiling and a security camera he can face. Soon, Frank realizes that the cell is actually reading his memories from the past and has the abilities to play them over and over again. The automated voice, which identifies itself as Howard, does menial things like bringing him food and opening the toilet door. Frank must play his mind games to overcome Howard and get out of the guilt-ridden cell. Astonishingly brilliant and largely underrated, ‘Infinity Chamber’ is brilliance redefined in simple terms.

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18. Otherlife (2017)

In a yet another sub-plot which is seemingly derived from an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, ‘Otherlife’ revolves around Ren, a tech researcher, who, using nanotechnology, has invented a form of VR known as ‘Otherlife’ which would create life-like memories for its users. Her boss Sam pitches it as an imprisonment alternative, wherein in the real world the prisoner would be “in” for only a minute or so, but in his/her head, they would be in for centuries if need be. While Ren had invented the tech to cure her ailing brother, her ‘Otherlife’ kills Danny, her love interest, thus leading to her own imprisonment. The rest of the movie is a power struggle between Sam and herself and how they should put this powerful invention to use. ‘Otherlife’ has a unique premise and relies heavily on the plot than anything else.

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17. Spectral (2016)

In an ongoing war in Moldova, set in the dystopian future, a DARPA researcher is shown humanoid vicious beings, invisible to the human eye who are capable of killing anything within the blink of an eye. The Delta force then uses hyperspectral cameras and goggles to zero in and clearly identify the invisible adversaries and to figure out what their weakness is. Turns out, they are weak against iron explosives, iron filings and can’t see through ceramic – something the forces use at their advantage in order to corner and eliminate them. ‘Spectral’ looks ambitious and is extremely engaging, but somehow lacks the depth of a sci-fi and turns out to be a predictable affair in the end.

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16. Transcendence (2014)

Coming to one of the major box office failures that featured Johnny Depp in a leading role, ‘Transcendence’ features Depp as a scientist Dr Caster who aims to achieve singularity through transcendence. Caster is put up against R.I.F.T. – Revolutionary Independence From Technology – a rebel group of extremists whose aim is to destroy any and all means of AI. In one of their attacks, Caster is shot with a bullet and is given a month to live. His wife Evelyn urges his team to upload Caster’s consciousness into the quantum computer they had developed for the purpose. As a result, all of his consciousness is transferred into the computer. Caster’s newfound abilities and the vast expanse of the internet lets him explore new avenues of his work and he strives to be more formidable and knowledgeable than he currently is. ‘Transcendence’ was a critical and commercial failure.

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15. Under the Skin (2013)

One of the most underrated movies as of today, ‘Under the Skin’ is the narrative of an alien woman who purportedly has visited Earth to harvest organs or skin and send them to her handlers through a void or a portal. The catch, however, is that this particular alien isn’t a very invasive alien species and uses the human form (especially skin) to prey on single men who don’t have any blood relatives. As it turns out, the alien becomes emotionally attached and delusional, thus leading to her death as her predecessor. ‘Under the Skin’ is one of those brilliant, underrated movies you should watch right now!

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14. Bright (2017)

More of a fantasy than sci-fi, ‘Bright’ still remotely identifies itself as a sci-fi given the premise which boasts of human’s coexistence along with multiple other sentient races in a parallel universe or a dystopian future. LAPD officer Daryl and his Orc subordinate Nick are on a patrol when they come across a man who says Daryl has been blessed with a prophecy. Meanwhile, ‘Bright’ is the name of the folk who could handle or perform the now rare magic who believe that there’s a dark lord who can return and protect them. Elves, dragons, magicians, wands and wizards form an integral part of this sci-fi, fantasy mashup. ‘Bright’ was slammed for the messy script and overdone characters, bringing too much complexity to a rather simplistic storyline.

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13. Armageddon (1998)

After discovering that an asteroid the size of Texas is going to impact Earth in less than a month, N.A.S.A. recruits a team of outcasts to save the planet. Nominated for fours Academy Awards, “Armageddon” is definitely the type of movie you’ll either love or hate. Despite not being scientifically accurate, it still is entertaining from the beginning to the end. It counts with very good performances by Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck. If you are a fan of action or sci-fi films then this is truly one not to miss out on.

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12. Pandorum (2009)

Humanity and the many horrors that it is capable of self inflicting through genetic mutation and experimentation is explored in ‘Pandorum’. Starring Dennis Quaid, the film also delves into the many side-effects of prolonged space flight, which is embellished upon to create the illness, Pandorum. As some of the 60,000 people in pods on the ship mutate and become cannibals, the best and worst aspects of human nature shine through and keep the viewers engrossed. With the remaining members of the crew battling for survival while dealing with amnesia and Pandorum sickness, the horror elements of the film build steadily. The film, surprisingly, has a positive ending wherein the non-infected survivors reach the destination of Tanis, which is a replacement for earth that has been destroyed by a cataclysmic event. In spite of its lukewarm reception at the box office, the film went on to earn several positive reviews from critics.

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11. Cloverfield (2008)

Yet another sci-fi horror on this list, ‘Cloverfield’ follows the found footage horror timeline which is the narrative of an apparent alien invasion. The movie is the first in a series of a trilogy, followed respectively by ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ and ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’. At the beginning of the movie, there’s a party underway when the invasion occurs, sending everyone into a frenzy. The primary plot follows six residents and their camera in a found-footage style, without revealing too much about the aliens or pointing the camera at them, thus maintaining ample suspense. ‘Cloverfield’ was touted to be one of the best films of its subgenre at the time of its release.

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10. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

The official eighth installment of the Star Wars franchise, and the third movie of the sequel trilogy, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ follows the story of Luke Skywalker, the revered Jedi who had been in the hiding in ‘The Force Awakens’ comes out of the way to guide Rey, a young fighter, and to train her with how the Force works for a Jedi. Meanwhile, Princess (and now General) Leia gathers all resistance against the First Order and their tyrannical leader Kylo Ren. Although the film couldn’t garner as much popularity and box office revenues as its predecessor, it still remains one of the best movies of the franchise and certainly one of the most loved sci-fi fantasy movies of all time.

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9. Cube (1997)

Six different people, each with a very different past, awaken to find themselves inside a giant cube with thousands of possible rooms. A cop, a math whiz, a building designer, a doctor, an escape master, and a disabled man. Each plays a part in their thrilling quest to find answers as to why they’ve been imprisoned. “Cube” is a film that explores human nature and our instinctive urges for survival versus our humanitarianism. The power of it lies in its mystery so it is best to know as little as possible. The entire cast was pretty unknown when the film was made (and most still are), but they all gave good performances.

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8. Cloud Atlas (2012)

Boasting of an ensemble cast comprising Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving to name a few, ‘Cloud Atlas’ follows the story of a soul which has been trapped in different bodies over the course of time. The movie begins in the 1830s from the diary of a slave owner, followed by a composer, a reporter, a publisher, a clone and a tribesman in 1930s, 1970s, 2012, 2144, and 2300 respectively. While all the humans were born in different times and were under different political and socioeconomic situations, the goodness of their soul turns them from a ruthless slave owner to a morally upright tribesman. The beauty of the soul is the best highlight of the film, which is set around such a unique and different premise.

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7. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

This alien encounter movie is the telltale of two parallel yet related stories – a group of scientists is exploring and analysing strange phenomena in a desert, using musical signals to generate physical reactions and anomalies. Meanwhile, a group of individuals in Indiana experience paranormal, UFO activity. The UFO activity and the research coincide in a way no one could’ve ever imagined. A major box office success which had a widespread impact on the Hollywood movies that were yet to come to the fore and a critical success as well, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ left a legacy that is difficult to emulate, even to this day.

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6. Ex Machina (2014)

Caleb Smith works for a search engine giant named Blue Rock. The company often organises a contest wherein the winners get to spend a week’s time with the CEO Nathan at his isolated yet posh mansion. Caleb, upon winning the contest and visiting the mansion, is made to sign a pact by Nathan for non-disclosure. Nathan then introduces him to Ava, a humanoid artificial intelligence who has already passed the Turing test and asks Caleb to assess her on whether she’s closer to humanity or not. Ava, in private, alleges that Nathan is a pathological liar, a vile human being and a narcissist. Ava convinces Caleb to help her set her free by tricking Nathan into drinking. Things go awry and Nathan is stabbed by Ava and her accomplice (another humanoid), before Ava escapes, locking Caleb in a room for eternity. ‘Ex Machina’ is a brilliant, masterful piece of science fiction which is a benchmark as far as all sci-fi movies are concerned.

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5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

“Rogue One” is a sort of a prequel that follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) while she leads the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. Although there were high expectations (because it is a Star Wars film), “Rogue One” still managed to meet them. It is an engrossing film that while it is not perfect it has everything required to make a great movie. The story is very interesting, managing to stay fresh and coherent throughout. The characters become interesting quickly, and you create empathy with them. A must watch for fans of Star Wars.

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4. Moon (2009)

Moon, as the name suggests, is set on the far side of the ‘Moon’ wherein Lunar Industries is running all the show in a dystopian future. Sam Bell is the only astronaut stationed on the Moon and is entrusted with overlooking the activities on the Moon by harvesting and supplying Earth with Helium. As there is a dearth of communication channels, he relies on GERTY, his only way of communicating in a near-human form. GERTY is an AI which fulfils his day to day requirements and does the basic chores. During one of the harvesting routines, he meets with an accident and wakes back up at the station. GERTY informs him that a team would visit and clean the aftermath. In an unauthorized drive to the accident spot, he finds his own body and the harvester and begins to doubt his own sanity, when deep dark secrets are unveiled. ‘Moon’ is a plausible, relatable sci-fi movie and has often been called a masterpiece by many critics and viewers.

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3. Mr Nobody (2009)

A defining drama sci-fi fantasy told from a first person’s POV, ‘Mr Nobody’ is the narrative of a 118-year-old Nemo in the year 2092. The centenarian is recounting his entire life’s moments in front of a reporter and he proclaims that he’s only 34 years of age, owing to the three crucial turning points in his life – his parents’ separation, his marriage and his romantic relationship with his step-sister. As an old-timer, he seems confused and logical at the same time, as all the decisions he made at those points could’ve easily gone in another direction, thus leading to an entirely different outcome altogether. ‘Mr Nobody’ won’t disappoint you and Jared Leto’s class act keeps you glued to your seat for the entire duration of the movie.

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2. The Iron Giant (1999)

The story of a submissive and friendly alien Iron Giant who had fallen from space near Maine in 1957, and Hogarth, a nine-year-old kid who befriends the Giant, ‘The Iron Giant’ is a heartwarming tale with its own fun-filled moments. The exploratory stance of the movie, the paranoia surrounding an alien invasion and the innocence of a kid on finding more about the abilities of a relatively harmless alien species, ‘The Iron Giant’ won’t let you down on any given day. Moreover, the complications of a human life form along with the simplicity of a metal man and his thoughts are a delight to watch. With more than 90% approval ratings, critical acclaim and an immense box office success, ‘The Iron Giant’ will rock your world.

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1. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

Although a critically unsuccessful film at the outset, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ managed to rake bigger box office collections owing to its association with the franchise. The movie is set between the events of ‘Episode II: Attack of the Clones’ and ‘Episode III: Revenge of the Sith’ and follows the story of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan who lead an army of clones against the droids on Christophsis. With all the old characters reprising their on-screen presence, including Jabba the Hutt, R2-D2, C-3PO et al, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ is a walk down memory lane with your favourite characters, albeit in an animated form.

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