Last Updated: November 5th
There was a time when tales of aliens, space travel, and robots were believed to be the strict province of four-eyed basement dwellers, but the truth is that everybody can find something to enjoy in the weird world of science fiction. The best sci-fi works in both universal truths and hyperspecific detail, using fantastical yet fully-realized worlds to tell stories about our own.
Netflix‘s selection of good sci fi movies isn’t exhaustive, but there’s still plenty worth exploring nestled among the sequels and paycheck-generators. Keep on scrolling for 10 of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix streaming to watch right now, taking you from the moon, the farthest reaches of space, and to the outer fringes of reality itself.
1. Cloverfield (2008)
Run Time: 85 min | IMDb: 7.0/10
Disappointing Netflix sequel aside, the original installment in J.J. Abrams’ Cloverfield trilogy remains one of the greatest works of found-footage in the history of film. Most of that is because the narrative style lends itself to the tension, chaos, and horror of fleeing a monster destroying New York City. The film follows a group of friends caught in the bedlam after a Godzilla-like creature begins attacking the Big Apple. While trying to save each other and make it out of the city before bombs drop, the friends document their journey. The directing by Matt Reeves is superb, almost too good, because you often feel a part of the action, for better and worse.
2. Ex Machina (2014)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller breathed new life into the tired A.I. trope when it landed in theaters a few years ago. The film focuses on a naïve young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) who’s selected amongst a pool of applicants to evaluate a new A.I. lifeform. The poor kid is whisked away to a remote villa to spend time with the eerily-human-looking robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander) and her eccentric, often cruel creator Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a genius with an ego to match his talent. The film takes some twists you don’t expect, and Isaac gives cinema one of its greatest dance sequences, in case you needed more reason to watch.
3. Serenity (2005)
Run Time: 119 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
Fans of Joss Whedon’s sci-fi space cowboy adventure were pretty bummed when the series got cancelled after just one season but luckily the show’s cult following earned it a movie follow-up meant to tie up old ends. The film picks up where the series left off, trailing the crew of the Serenity as they evade a government-sent assassin looking to capture River (Summer Glau) a telepath who knows too much. There are adventures to be had in the meantime, and a few characters bite the bullet by the end of the film, but it’s a fitting send-off for a show that was just a few years ahead of its time.