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Best Netflix sci-fi movies: fantastic films to stream right now

The big streaming services have wholeheartedly embraced the sci-fi genre, which means there's plenty of choice for picking out the best sci-fi movies currently sitting in the vast Netflix catalog.

With recent (and very good) titles including the likes of Annihilation and The Cloverfield Paradox, it's clear that there are plenty of sci-fi fans in the Netflix team.

Add to that other off-kilter slabs of sci-fi including Duncan Jones’ Mute and the huge fantasy/sci-fi hybrid hit that was Bright, and the Netflix sci-fi game is definitely strong.

With that in mind, we’ve culled through streams to find all of the best sci-fi movies you can summon on Netflix, and – because we know how suddenly movies can vanish off of Netflix – we will continue to update this article. Keep checking back here to see if your favorite movie is available to stream.

We have also handily split this list so that you can see all the movies available on both US and UK Netflix and the ones that are exclusive to each territory.

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: Mute

Mute

He doesn't need words.

Specifications
Date: 2018
Director: Duncan Jones
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux
Rating: 15/TV-MA
Runtime: 126 min
Reasons to buy
+Sci-fi that surprises+Fantastic cast
Reasons to avoid
-Bleak and uncompromising-Not for everyone

This is the movie that director Duncan Jones has always wanted to make. A story that he first conceived before making his debut movie Moon, it took three Hollywood movies and the freedom of a Netflix deal before he could make his labor of love. The result is a rather muted (pun intended), strange movie that never goes where you expect it to. It’s based in a Berlin of the future, starring Alexander Skarsgård as a mute bartender looking for the love of his life. It is bold, single-minded filmmaking that needs to be watched a number of times to understand quite what’s going on.

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: Annihilation

Annihilation

Fear what's inside.

Specifications
Date: 2018
Director: Alex Garland
Stars: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
Rating: 15/R
Runtime: 115 min
Reasons to buy
+Brainy sci-fi+Uncompromising
Reasons to avoid
-Flits through many genres-SFX could be better

This is exactly the sort of movie that Netflix should be making. It’s uncompromising sci-fi that has a smart smattering of horror running through it. Based on the hit series of books The Southern Reach Trilogy, the movie focuses on a group of scientists who go into Area X, a quarantined section of Earth where strange things are going on. Natalie Portman is superb and refreshing in the lead role. 

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox

The future unleashed every thing.

Specifications
Date: 2018
Director: Julius Onah
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl
Rating: 15/TV-MA
Runtime: 102 min
Reasons to buy
+Continues the Cloverfield mythos+Great to look at
Reasons to avoid
-Nonsensical in places-Clunky dialog

It should have been so much better, but that doesn’t mean that it is all terrible. The Cloverfield Paradox had a stunning debut on Netflix. It was first revealed at the Super Bowl and then, to the surprise of the millions who were watching the halftime show, it was then released on Netflix that night. Much like 10 Cloverfield Lane, the movie has a faint line to the original Cloverfield. It’s set in space for a start and has a cast list that screams AAA - the film, however, is pure b-movie schlock that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but is still well worth a watch. 

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: Okja

Okja

A young girl risks everything to save a fantastic beast.

Specifications
Date: 2017
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-Hyun Ahn
Rating: 15/TV-MA
Runtime: 120 min
Reasons to buy
+Superb direction+Highly original story
Reasons to avoid
-Message too heavy handed-Only hints of sci-fi

Bong Joon Ho is one of the best directors around at the moment so when it was announced he was doing a Netflix-funded movie, excitement levels were high. The result is this sci-fi tinged story that focuses on a giant pig and its friendship with a small child. The movie is set in the near future and is a parable about animal cruelty. It's heady stuff but we'd recommend you check it out.

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: What Happened To Monday

What Happened To Monday

Seven Sisters. One Identity.

Specifications
Date: 2017
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe
Rating: 15/TV-MA
Runtime: 123 min
Reasons to buy
+Great mix of sci-fi and action+Noomi Rapace is great
Reasons to avoid
-Too high concept for some-The story is too convoluted

Noomi Rapace plays seven sisters in this high-concept, convoluted sci-fi tale. The premise is great: the world is overpopulated so there is a 'one child per couple' policy. Rapace plays sextuplets who are looking for their missing sister. It's an occasionally frustrating watch but for the most part is an entertaining sci-fi thriller. 

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: Bright

Bright

Orcs, fairies and, er, Will Smith.

Specifications
Date: 2017
Director: David Ayer
Stars: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace
Rating: 15/TV-MA
Runtime: 117 min
Reasons to buy
+A lot of fun+Not too serious
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't really know what it is-Cliched dialog

Another Netflix original, another movie that was savaged by critics but, whisper it, it’s not half bad. Will Smith stars as a cop who just so happens to have a partner that’s an orc. Set in a world where fairies, orcs and humans coexist, Smith and his partner must protect an elf to protect the future of, er, their future. It’s certainly not for everyone but it’s one of the biggest and boldest movies Netflix has ever made.

Best Netflix sci-fi movies: The Road

The Road

Cormac McCarthy's literary classic looks great on the big screen.

Specifications
Date: December 2009
Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Rating: 15/R
Runtime: 111 mins
Reasons to buy
+Good father/son film+Can Viggo Mortenson be my dad?
Reasons to avoid
-Get ready for a lot of gray-The future is bleak

In classic post-apocalyptic style, The Road is all about survival. After Earth falls prey to calamity, a man and his son take the long journey across America to the ocean, fighting to hold on to their soul. All around them are bloodthirsty gangs who would see them apprehended as slaves, or much worse. 

Although there are hundreds of films in this genre and tone, execution really is everything. John Hillcoat’s vision comes across flawlessly on screen and packs an emotional punch that won’t leave you quickly. And with phenomenal performances from Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road is a worthy entry in the ever growing list of post-apocalyptic science fiction movies.