12 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix For A Trip To Fantasy World
Without a question, science fiction is the best cinema genre on the planet. It’s a remarkably free and accepting environment that allows writers, directors, and actors to express themselves without being bound by other genres. Without blurring the lines, all science fiction films can have elements of action, drama, romance, adventure, and mystery (with the best ones combining sub-genres); the same cannot be said for the other way around. Science fiction is, in essence, a genre that appeals to a diverse audience.
With that in mind, we’ve scoured Netflix’s sci-fi offerings to bring you a broad selection of films to fit your preferences. Whether you’re looking for something family-friendly to watch with the kids, something action-packed to watch with your pals, or something unusual you’ve never heard of before, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be adding to this list on a regular basis, so check back as we go through the new sci-fi movies on Netflix!
This list will be updated monthly as new titles become available.
Table Of Content
Deep Blue Sea
Deep Blue Sea may not be the best sci-fi film on our list, but it does contain one of my favorite sci-fi setups: a group of physicians in an underwater research lab accidentally make a trio of genetically modified super-smart sharks while trying to treat Alzheimer’s. In a humorous, goofy take on the Frankenstein archetype, Renny Harlin’s picture blends the sci-fi/horror setup with big-budget blockbuster action and a refreshingly candid B-movie comedy. With truly horrifying shark set-pieces, surprising deaths, enormous laughs, and explosive disaster movie action, it ticks a number of genre boxes with recklessness.
More than a decade later, Inception, perhaps Christopher Nolan’s most striking and affecting picture, is still acknowledged as one of the finest science fiction films of all time. Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is the leader of a group of dream thieves recruited to carry out some high-concept corporate espionage. Cobb’s team is utilizing their dream-sharing technology to implant an idea in the mind of a dying CEO, traversing through several dreamscapes – dreams inside dreams, each with its own set of laws – along the way. From the glossy aesthetics to the dilating perceptions of time, Inception showcases all of Nolan’s trademark cinematic fascinations in their most unified, successful form. Along the way, he crafts a fascinating world out of the human mind, making Inception one of the most engaging and technically accomplished sci-fi stories of its time.
In Beyond Skyline, there is a unique type of WTF. I never expected the critically panned 2010 sci-fi thriller Skyline to become a franchise, let alone that the sequel would be such a delightful, globe-trotting action-packed adventure. After an extraterrestrial attack leaves them fleeing for their lives, Frank Grillo plays a cop at odds with his son (Jonny Weston) in Beyond Skyline, a daring, pulpy B-movie starring Frank Grillo as a cop at odds with his son (Jonny Weston) (Jonny Weston). Once the aliens make contact, the film ricochets through settings and characters at breakneck speed, cramming a paperback book series’ worth of sci-fi lunacy into a single feature film that travels from subterranean tunnels to the nuclear wasteland of Los Angeles to an alien ship, and all the way to Laos, where Mark joins forces with rebels to fight the alien threat. There’s Frank Grillo as a hero with a child in one hand and a space-blaster in the other, Antonio Fargas as a Vietnam vet who calls everyone “bitch,” Iko Uwais and Yaya Ruhain trampling massive aliens, and even a genuine Kaiju combat. Beyond Skyline isn’t for everyone, but if you appreciate a good B-movie, Liam O’Donnell’s feature debut ticks all the boxes.
Even if you haven’t watched Jupiter Ascending, Eddie Redmayne’s quivering, screeching performance as the film’s full-tilt diva space emperor has gone viral in the years since. Make no mistake: Redmayne’s performance is breathtaking, and the movie is worth seeing just for that. However, Redmayne’s portrayal is just one of many unusual elements that contribute to Jupiter Ascending’s success as an entertaining and inventive sci-fi film, even if it doesn’t always achieve its objectives. Mila Kunis stars as Jupiter Jones, a secret space princess who gets to escape her ordinary Earth existence by floating about space with Channing Tatum’s Cain Wise, a seductive man-dog hybrid soldier who flies around in anti-gravity boots. That’s just scratching the surface of all the weird, fascinating, and often just brilliant innovation and wtf-ery out there. The Wachowskis bring their unique and original narrative to Jupiter Ascending, proving once again that the filmmakers behind Sense8 and The Matrix are among the most unique and innovative storytellers in the industry.
Because I advocate approaching this story with as little knowledge as possible, I’m going to save one of the major components of Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein’s Freaks until the end of this blurb. Keep in mind, though, that this is one of the best character-driven sci-fi thrillers of the year. Lexy Kolker’s portrayal as seven-year-old Chloe is outstanding in the picture. Her entire life has been spent in her father’s house, cut off from the rest of the world (Emile Hirsch). He’s always cautioned her about the dangers of the outside world, but the older Chloe gets, the more she wants to go out, and she eventually does. Are you ready for some semi-spoiler information that will highlight how fantastic this film is? Here’s the deal: as much as I appreciate a good big-budget superhero film, Freaks is a must-see for anyone curious in what can be accomplished with a limited budget in the genre. It’s one of those movies that piques your curiosity with its early riddles before bursting with brilliance when Chloe learns more about her reality.
In the Shadow of the Moon
Despite being available on Netflix and being a generally intriguing and well-executed science fiction story, Jim Mickle’s sci-fi criminal thriller managed to fly under the radar this year. Boyd Holbrook stars as a cop who becomes involved in a horrifying series of crimes and becomes entangled in a cat-and-mouse game that will define decades of his life… and entangle him in a convoluted, tragic time-travel epic that may save the country’s future. Despite the huge stakes, In the Shadow of the Moon is an obsessive crime drama that keeps things low-key. It has the terrible habit of thinking it’s ahead of the viewer when it isn’t, but it’s still an intriguing, engrossing, and technically well-executed time-travel epic worth delving into.
If you enjoy grounded, indie sci-fi films, you should check out Midnight Special. The story depicts a father (Michael Shannon) who is forced to flee with his son (Jaeden Martell) after realizing his son has special talents. As they are hunted by both the authorities and a cult, the bond between father and son is tested. While this may sound like a superhero movie concept, Nichols takes a very realistic and grounded approach to the topic. While this sounds like a superhero movie concept, Nichols takes a very realistic and grounded approach to the topic. It’s a Sundance film with excellent performances and few visual effects, focusing on character development rather than plot twists or large set pieces. Shannon gives a touching portrayal as the boy’s father.
Mute is a weird picture, but it’s worth seeing if you’ve ever wanted to see Paul Rudd play a terrible villain and nail it. Mute is the second installment of an unofficial trilogy of loosely connected films set in the year 2035 and follows Duncan Jones’ Moon. Leo, played by Alexander Skarsgard, is a silent bartender on the search for the lady he loves, who has mysteriously vanished. Meanwhile, Rudd and Justin Theroux star as two crazy surgeons in the movie. Mute is a gritty film that doesn’t exactly provide a rosy view of the future, but if you’re on its wavelength, it’s a darkly entertaining voyage.
Mélanie Laurent gives one of her most powerful and technically amazing acting performances in Oxygen, a superb Netflix sci-fi thriller about a woman who wakes up in a future medical pod with no recollection of who she is, how she got there, or how to get out. She is also out of breath. Even while locked within the small confines of her cell, Alexandre Aja’s tightly controlled thriller manages to consistently ramp up the adrenaline with each new revelation while expanding the universe and stakes of Laurent’s battle to survive. The twists and turns aren’t always as shocking as the film claims, but they do make for a wild ride and a full embrace of sci-fi narrative that elevates a film set almost entirely in a small box to a much larger adventure.
Bong Joon Ho’s follow-up to 2013’s Snowpiercer, Okja, was one of the most well-known films to be distributed on Netflix rather than in cinemas. It’s a blistering indictment of both the current agricultural sector and the related science of genetic engineering. The story exaggerates science to ridiculous degrees and makes no attempt to reflect positive real-world achievements fairly. On the other hand, the story’s conclusion is clear: humans who play God lose their humanity soon.
Okja follows the eponymous pet, a genetically modified super-animal raised freely and organically in South Korea by carer Mija. Mirando Organization, a worldwide corporation, wants to return their property and completely explore it in order to recoup their investment and increase their stock, both agriculturally and monetarily, because Okja is the most desirable of the bred animals. Despite animal rights activists, paid corporate muscle, and even the media obstructing her efforts, Mija does everything she can to reconcile her companion with his family. It’s a challenging film at times, particularly for those on the front lines of the animal rights movement, but it’s a lesson worth repeating.
There are plenty of other sci-fi movies on Netflix if you’re looking for space battles, robots, or intergalactic wars, but if you’re looking for an intense, understated dramatic thriller about a space mission gone wrong, Stowaway is a good choice… as long as you don’t mind your science fiction slow-burn and bleak. While working for an independent corporation, Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, and Daniel Dae Kim play a crew of space travelers who discover an extra passenger aboard their spacecraft. But he’s not a bad guy, and no sinister schemes are in the works; he’s just a corporate employee who got stuck in there during takeoff, making it much more difficult for them to make the judgments they need to make when his presence jeopardizes their life support system. It’s a long, depressing picture (if you like seeing A-listers cry in space, you’re in luck), but the performers give it their all, and the moral concerns that threaten to wreck this space trip are refreshingly simple.
If you’re looking for a great vintage sci-fi action film from the 1980s and 1990s, Total Recall is a must-see. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a construction worker who is thrust into the realm of espionage when he is assigned to a Mars colony. It’s strange, funny, and exhilarating, and Schwarzenegger is a perfect fit for the part. Prepare to travel to Mars!
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Terminator 2 is one of the best action movies, sci-fi movies, sequels – well, you get the idea; it’s just one of the best dang movies ever created. James Cameron is one of the greats when it comes to merging blockbuster action with sci-fi, and Terminator 2 is one of the best action movies, sci-fi movies, sequels – well, you get the The sequel to Cameron’s iconic 1984 sci-fi film The Terminator, which brought back Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor years later, enlarged his robot-apocalypse franchise. However, he modified the script and made the T-800 Connor’s and her now-teenaged son John’s guardian (Edward Furlong). With his new great nemesis, Robert Patrick’s terrifying T-1000, Cameron delivered an even more terrifying human-hunter from the future – a shape-shifting, liquid metal design – leveraging the real-world, behind-the-scenes science of cutting-edge FX equipment to complement his science-fiction tale. After decades (and many imitators), T2 is still considered as one of the best and most imaginative sci-fi pictures of all time.