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15+ Low Budget Sci-fi Movies That Are Actually Better Than Marvel Movies

When done well, high-budget science fiction movies may provide audiences with a compelling narrative that is paired with a stunning spectacle. While there are many examples of high-profile science fiction films that succeed, there are just as many that fall short, frequently having cliched plots and subpar visual effects.

The beauty of a fantastic low-budget science fiction movie is that it doesn’t have the luxury of money to potentially cover up its flaws with flashy action and special effects. In order to create a sense of mystery about the universe and characters it is presenting, a low-budget sci-fi must only rely on its narrative.

A Boy And His Dog (1975)

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In A Boy and His Dog, Don Johnson played an adolescent before donning his white linen suit. The 1975 movie, which was based on a Harlan Ellison story, cost $400,000 to produce. Commercial success wasn’t achieved when it first debuted. However, later video and DVD releases made up for it.

Johnson plays Vic, a young guy attempting to survive in a Southwest United States after a nuclear war. His dog, Blood, has joined him. Together, they come across an underground community that at first glance seems familiar. It turns out to be bloodthirsty though. The movie contains a black comedic undercurrent.

Another Earth (2011)

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Another Earth is a romance science fiction movie with deep themes about a man and a woman who meet through tragedy the same night a second Earth is located in the solar system. The two become close because of their shared, sad experiences, but when they have the chance to travel to the second Earth, they start to doubt their closeness.

While watching Another Earth sometimes feels like a chore, there is much to consider and consider long after the credits have rolled. A terrific pick for fans of romance, independent cinema, and science fiction, the movie has appeal across a variety of genres.

Circle (2015)

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In the science fiction suspense film Circle, fifty people awaken in a circle chamber with no memory of how they got there and are unable to move from their seated position. They soon learn that the room is eliminating them one by one every two minutes and that they have the authority to determine who lives and who dies.

Holding someone’s life in your hands while having to decide whether or not they survive or die based on their character is a scary conundrum that Circle explores. Although it puts the audience in an embarrassing situation, the movie is all the more engrossing for it and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats the entire time.

Coherence (2013)

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At a dinner party, Coherence observes eight people who start acting strangely after an astronomical aberration. As they strive to determine what has caused this alarming turn of events, their relationships are put to the strain and their wits are challenged.

In order to keep its viewers interested, this little-known treasure relies on a tiny cast of compelling people and a suspenseful plot. It is a superb example of minimalist filmmaking. It’s difficult to make movies with a single setting, so it’s impressive that the director was able to hit the mark in such a compelling and enjoyable way.

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Deep Impact (1998)

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Armageddon and Deep Impact both had summer premieres. Deep Impact, on the other hand, managed to keep things quiet with a relatively modest $75 million, although the latter was intended to be a summer blockbuster at $140 million.

The movie had a stellar ensemble and was hard science fiction with a dash of conspiracy theory. In comparison to the space cowboys’ reactions in Armageddon, the government’s actions and the public’s response were considerably more realistic. Additionally, unlike the Bruce Willis film, Deep Impact didn’t really end happily.

Mad Max (1979)

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George Miller, a renowned filmmaker, only needed $300,000 to make Mel Gibson a star and start a multibillion-dollar sci-fi series. Mad Max was science fiction, but it was difficult to discern. It most certainly lacked the dystopian atmosphere of its sequels.

The audience realises as the film goes on that Max lives in a civilization that is disintegrating as a result of the scarcity of fossil resources. Later movies will depict darker conditions. Then there would be a tonne of music videos with post-apocalyptic themes.

Monsters (2010)

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In addition to helping revive the Godzilla brand with the 2014 film, Gareth Edwards has directed a Star Wars film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. His low-budget sci-fi monster movie Monsters, which he directed in his directorial debut, helped him land these positions because of the production’s outstanding results.

The plot followed a photographer who was dispatched into a monster-infested area to save the daughter of his boss. The film showed enormous tentacled monsters prowling over areas of Earth. Most sci-fi monster movies cost millions of dollars only for the digital CGI creations, but Edwards completed all the work on Monsters himself, and the budget came in at about $100,000, demonstrating his ability to produce excellent monster movies for a small fraction of the price of big-budget films.

Moon (2009)

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Duncan Jones, the son of David Bowie, made his directing debut in 2009 with the low-budget science fiction film Moon. Sam Rockwell is the only main actor in the entire running time of the film. He portrays astronaut Samuel Bell, who is reaching the end of a three-year employment term aboard the lunar space station.

He begins, though, to have what might be hallucinations of someone else in the station besides himself. The majority of the funding went toward the visual effects because there was only one on-screen performer and Kevin Spacey voiced the AI for the station. Jones made the tiny $5 million budget seem far greater than it actually was. He ultimately used his success with this little production to secure larger ones, such as the video game movie Warcraft. Critics believe that Moon, although having a larger budget, is his best film.

Predestination (2014)

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Predestination follows the voyage of a time-traveling police officer whose goal is to catch future killers before they can conduct their crimes. Ethan Hawke plays the police officer in one of his most undervalued roles. As he attempts to find a criminal who has avoided him for a very long time, his final task will be his greatest test to far.

The movie has a lot of time travel-related sci-fi movie clichés, but it never feels overdone. Predestination is one of the more interesting, yet unappreciated sci-fi movies of the 2010s because of the intriguing mystery element that runs throughout the movie and has a shocking twist.

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Primer (2004)

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There have been some expensive time travel films in the history of cinema, but sometimes less is more. There may not be a better sci-fi time travel film than Primer given the history of the genre’s colossal cost films. Shane Carruth, who also wrote, directed, and edited the film, released it in 2004.

The budget stayed extremely low at just $7,000 thanks to Carruth’s all-encompassing labour, and it all paid off when it took home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. The plot was complicated by the fact that two engineers built a time travel device only to discover its horrific adverse effects. While the majority of high-budget time travel films are purely for amusement, this one challenges the audience and is a thinking man’s movie that has stood the test of time.

Prospect (2018)

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Prospect follows a father-and-daughter duo as they embark on a mission to gather treasure on a desolate alien moon and learn that they aren’t the only ones roaming the area. The journey swiftly devolves into a struggle for survival, forcing the daughter to take matters into her own hands.

Prospect is the ideal illustration of a sci-fi movie that creates a world on a tight budget and draws the audience straight in. Its strengths are in the development of the father-daughter connection and their characters while providing just the perfect amount of tension and thrills. It has a universally relatable plot that would have worked in any situation.

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

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The offbeat dramedy Safety Not Guaranteed by Colin Trevorrow is proof that not all low-budget science-fiction movies are depressing doomsday tales. This obscure yet fantastic science fiction film centres on three magazine staffers who respond to an odd classified ad from a man seeking a companion to go back in time with him.

This book’s sci-fi elements are minimal at best, and it works better as a character-driven coming-of-age tale. The movie employs time travel to explore deeper issues like second chances and squandered opportunities in a funny and smart manner.

Sound Of My Voice (2011)

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The strange cult at the centre of the independent drama Sound of My Voice is the subject of a couple of documentarians’ attempts to infiltrate the cult and remove its mysterious leader, who professes to be from the future. But they start to run the risk of succumbing to her enchantment as well.

Moviegoers frequently ponder what motivates people to join cults and get so captivated by their charismatic leaders, making cults an always fascinating subject matter. Such is the theme of Sound of My Voice, whose sci-fi setting gives the stigma surrounding cults even more mystery.

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

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In this movie, Ashton Kutcher played the dramatic part of a reluctant time traveller. After years of portraying the endearing idiot on That 70s Show, it was unquestionably a change for the actor. It might be the reason why The Butterfly Effect, which cost $10 million to produce, brought in close to $60 million in the United States.

Kutcher plays Evan Treborn, a college student who can travel through time by reading passages from his journal, in the movie. Evan makes many attempts to alter the tragic events that harmed him and his pals throughout those times. The Butterfly Effect is an intriguing and occasionally spooky movie that requires careful attention to follow along.

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The Discovery (2017)

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The Discovery, a sci-fi hidden treasure on Netflix, imagines a world in which the existence of life after death has been established. As a result of this realisation, people start taking their own lives in an effort to restart their lives on the other side. A mysterious woman and his son visit the scientist at the forefront of this discovery in an effort to uncover the deeper significance of this finding.

With controversial topics that are ready for debate when the movie is complete, The Discovery has one of the more original plots to emerge from a sci-fi movie recently. It’s a sombre movie that challenges spectators to think deeply and consider their death, making it a rare movie that can emotionally connect with its audience.

The Endless (2017)

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In the movie The Endless, two brothers decide to recreate the circumstances surrounding their childhood escape from a UFO death cult after discovering an old film with a mysterious message on it. As a weird mystery unfolds in front of them during their voyage, they are forced to reevaluate their beliefs.

The Endless is a low-budget sci-fi thriller that builds slowly but has big ideas. It’s one that needs the audience’s undivided attention because it ventures into difficult-to-explain territory. The audience is thrown into a world of inexplicable happenings, much like the heroes of the movie, and must strive to discern what is genuine from what isn’t.

The Ice Pirates (1984)

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In his lifetime, Robert Urich didn’t produce many theatrical motion pictures. But the ones he did produce were well received. Consider the science fiction comedy The Ice Pirates from 1984.

The movie, which cost just $9 million to produce, is about space pirates who trade in the expensive commodity of ice cubes and turn a profit. Urich, who was skilled in both comedy and drama, played his part with humour. It’s likely the reason The Ice Pirates is still regarded as a masterpiece.

The Man From Earth (2007)

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The Man from Earth is the epitome of minimalist filmmaking, if ever there was such a thing. In the movie, a scientist invites his colleagues to spend the night in a cabin in the woods where he tells them he is a 14,000-year-old immortal entity who has experienced many stages of human evolution. As they try to process what they’ve just heard, the group has a conversation about philosophy, religion, and science in response to the revelation.

With its skilled storytelling and interesting subject matter, The Man from Earth will keep viewers glued to the screen. The plot of the movie centres around a group of people having a profound and thought-provoking discussion, which makes it significantly more captivating than any sci-fi movie with a bigger budget.

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Being a binge-watcher himself, finding Content to write about comes naturally to Divesh. From Anime to Trending Netflix Series and Celebrity News, he covers every detail and always find the right sources for his research.

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