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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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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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.
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.
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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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. Rim Of The Earth (2019)
Directed by McG, this 2019 science fiction film is the story of four teenagers who have to save the earth from an alien invasion before the foreign creatures manage to conquer the planet. These boys were a part of a summer camp when the invasion occurs and everyone’s lives are endangered all at once. When a NASA spaceship crash lands near the children, an astronaut comes out of it and hands them a key, saying that this key is the only object which can prevent the aliens from taking over the earth. These boys have to overcome all adversities, from violence to kidnapping to a sense of imminent death in order to save the planet. This film is a wonderful adventure story, but it tries to be too politically correct in creating a wholesome entertainer for everyone to enjoy.
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. See You Yesterday (2019)
How many times have you seen the story of an African-American genius in cinema? For a long time in mainstream film history, African-Americans were stereotyped heavily, and thus when films like ‘See You Yesterday‘ are being made and released by Netflix, it is no doubt a commendable act on the streaming platform’s part. This film is centered around a young black girl with genius-level IQ who manages to create a time machine in order to go back in time and save her brother from death. However, its never advisable to meddle in time, as any mistake can create an alternate reality and destroy your possibility of going back where you came from. This film neatly packs everything from humor to drama to a sense of adventure, making it a wholesome family entertainer.
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. TAU (2018)
‘TAU’ is a Netflix original film about a small-time thief called Julia who one day is kidnapped from her home, and when she wakes up, finds herself inside a prison along with two other people. Julia undergoes psychological torture at the hands of her captor, Alex, and the AI which controls the entire prison, Tau. Alex tells Julia that is using her as a subject for one of his experiments, and to get a picture of her neurological functions, he has implanted a device at the back of her neck. Julia realizes that there is no escape from this jail unless she manages to convince Tau to free her. In order to do so, Julia starts conversing with the AI about the outer world while Alex is away each day. But will an AI go beyond its pre-programmed system and do something unpredictable? The film works because of Maika Monroe and Ed Skrein’s performances, but otherwise, it is a pretty cliched plot that does not have any surprise in store for us.
4. Mute (2018)
If you have enjoyed cyberpunk movies like ‘iBoy’ or Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Mute’ is a film which you should watch. The central character of this film is a mute bartender, Leo, who finds himself in a rather precarious situation after his girlfriend goes missing and he is thrown out of his job. The setting of the film is a futuristic Berlin where neon-lit alleys and dinghy shops with futuristic gadgets are the order of the day. In this interesting setting, we get to meet a host of people who have taken up various means for survival. While some are black marketeers, some have gone down the road of prostitution to sustain their lives. We can easily say that this is a neo-noir story that takes place in a futuristic world. Despite being somewhat predictable in certain places, ‘Mute’ is a thoroughly enjoyable film.
3. Next Gen (2018)
One of the best science fiction films on Netflix, ‘Next Gen’ is a story which can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. The story of this animated feature centers around the friendship between two individuals- a small girl called Mia, and a combat robot called 7723. The two of them form an unlikely bond when Mia activates 7723 at the headquarters of a famous robotics company. The two of them then participate in various adventures and even go up against a criminal mastermind who plans to use technology to establish his control on the earth. The film does not have much to offer in terms of an innovative storyline, but the voice performances and the wonderful chemistry created by the animators and the directors Kevin R. Adams and Joe Ksander makes it an entertaining watch.
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2. IO (2019)
We all have become familiar with the name Margaret Qualley after her stunning performance in the Quentin Tarantino film ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood‘. But that is not the only 2019 film in which Qualley has given her very best. The Netflix original science fiction film, ‘IO’, finds her playing the character of Sam Walden, a woman who is still living on the earth despite most of the earth’s population having gone away to another planet.
The earth’s air has become too toxic for everyone to survive and thus humans were forced to live in a space station located near one of Jupiter’s moons, Io. Sam lives in a higher altitude where the air is not that toxic, and she raises bees there, planning to use them to carry out pollination and grow plants. She comes across another scientist called Micah who is about to leave the earth on the last shuttle that is heading for the humans’ new habitat. Will Sam go with Micah, or has she still not given up hope? ‘IO’ stands out because of the performances, but otherwise, it does not have much to offer in terms of plot or content.
1. ARQ (2016)
Tony Elliot’s science fiction film ARQ’s main plot point is one which has been used earlier, most successfully in the Bill Murray film ‘Groundhog Day‘. The central character of this film is a scientist called Renton. He lives in a time when the entire world’s sources of energy are reducing drastically, creating a war-like situation between governments and big industries. Renton is hiding with him a machine which has the potential of generating unlimited energy, making himself a target of a highly dangerous organization called the Bloc. Renton could have been killed easily, but the problem is that the machine he has with him has created a time loop. No matter how many times he dies, he still wakes up like he did at the beginning of the film. ‘ARQ’ does use a plot device we have already seen, but writer-director Tony Elliott packs it with such surprises that the film never feels redundant.
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