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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


He doesn't need words.

Date: 2018 | Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux | Rating: 15/TV-MA | Runtime: 126 min

Sci-fi that surprises
Fantastic cast
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


Fear what's inside.

Date: 2018 | Director: Alex Garland | Stars: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson | Rating: 15/R | Runtime: 115 min

Brainy sci-fi
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.

Date: 2018 | Director: Julius Onah | Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Brühl | Rating: 15/TV-MA | Runtime: 102 min

Continues the Cloverfield mythos
Great to look at
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


A young girl risks everything to save a fantastic beast.

Date: 2017 | Director: Bong Joon Ho | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-Hyun Ahn | Rating: 15/TV-MA | Runtime: 120 min

Superb direction
Highly original story
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.

Date: 2017 | Director: Tommy Wirkola | Stars: Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close, Willem Dafoe | Rating: 15/TV-MA | Runtime: 123 min

Great mix of sci-fi and action
Noomi Rapace is great
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


Orcs, fairies and, er, Will Smith.

Date: 2017 | Director: David Ayer | Stars: Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace | Rating: 15/TV-MA | Runtime: 117 min

A lot of fun
Not too serious
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.

Date: December 2009 | Director: John Hillcoat | Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee | Rating: 15/R | Runtime: 111 mins

Good father/son film
Can Viggo Mortenson be my dad?
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.

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.