20 Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix That'll Actually Blow Your Mind

These films will help you see the world through new eyes.

Hilary Swank in I Am Mother, one of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix.
By Bustle Editors
Originally Published: 

We live in an age where it's taken for granted that you can plop down on the couch and have instant access to hundreds, if not thousands of streaming movies and television shows on a number of easily accessed devices. That in itself was once science fiction. But as technology continues to advance and increasingly pervade our lives, it can sometimes be difficult to grapple with the big questions of what sort of society we’re living in and how it may still evolve in the future. Fortunately, one benefit of having all these streaming options is having access to a vast library of sci-fi films that can help you work through some of these thoughts. So whether you’re looking to view your surroundings from a new angle or need a place to work through some of your techno-existential angst, these 13 sci-fi movies on Netflix will blow your mind.

Most of these are high-concept flicks that present a striking idea and explore what it would mean for humanity if it were to actually occur. Take The Discovery, which portrays the world after proof of an afterlife; or I Am Mother, which follows a human child being raised by a robot. There's plenty to mull over with these movies, so put on your thinking cap and read on for the most brain-bending sci-fi movies on Netflix.



In a world where unemployment is over 45 percent, where public schools have been eliminated, and no one stands a chance of getting ahead without wealth and connections, one mother is willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to help her brilliant daughter. —Danielle Burgos


Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Audiences must choose what actions the protagonist, programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), takes in this interactive psychological thriller. Bandersnatch can be fully enjoyed by someone even if they haven’t watched the Black Mirror series, but for fans of the sci-fi show, the film is also riddled with fun-to-find Easter eggs. —Sadie Gennis


The Signal

The less said about this mind-bender the better. But suffice to say that things get started when a mysterious hacker named NOMAD makes life miserable for three M.I.T. students on the road to California. There's abductions, mysterious tattoos, and a strange facility — all the sci-fi hits. —Danielle Burgos



Damon (Jay Duplass) and his teenage daughter Cee (Sophie Thatcher) travel to an alien moon to mine gems in its forest. But the environment’s poisonous spores aren’t the only danger they must contend with, though, as they soon cross paths with a ruthless rival prospector Ezra (Pedro Pascal). —Sadie Gennis



Hailed as “the greatest dystopian movie ever,” Metropolis is a 1927 silent sci-fi film depicting a society in which the privileged elite live in high-rises while the working-class lives underground and works tirelessly around the clock to ensure everything remains functional. The reality of the city becomes even more hellish as filmmaker Fritz Lang uses special effects and simulates hallucinations. —Shannon Barbour



After being kept inside her entire life, when 7-year-old Chloe (Lexy Kolker) finally ventures out into the world she discovers how much her father Henry (Emile Hirsch) has kept from her. Mixing sci-fi and horror, Freaks presents a child’s-eye view of a world filled with secrets, unusual powers, and betrayals. —Sadie Gennis


Mad Max

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Before Charlize Theron, Zoë Kravitz, Tom Hardy, and Nicholas Hoult teamed up for an adrenaline rush of a remake, 1979’s Mad Max finds out what happens when oil reserves run out and life becomes a brutal survival-of-the-fittest marathon. —Shannon Barbour


The Discovery

What if there was definitive proof of an afterlife? That simple question has deep, and sometimes horrifying consequences in this Netflix Original film starring Rooney Mara, Jason Segel, Robert Redford, and Jesse Plemons. —Danielle Burgos


Lucid Dream

A father desperate to find his missing son turns to lucid dreaming, an actual technique you can learn with practice. Working with a psychiatrist they scour his unconscious for any potential clues to find his son. —Danielle Burgos


I Am Mother

Following an extinction event, a robot, Mother (Rose Byrne), grows a human embryo in a bunker for the purpose of repopulating humanity. As the girl, Daughter (Clara Rugaard), grows up, she becomes increasingly curious about the outside world — especially after meeting a woman (Hilary Swank) who shares some disturbing revelations. —Sadie Gennis



A brutal take on industrial farming, corporate greed, and genetic modification, Netflix Original Okja is at its heart a tale of a girl and the beloved pet she'll do anything to get back. —Danielle Burgos



Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan star as a pair of best friends and paramedics who find themselves getting called to the scenes of grisly accidents tied to a mysterious new drug Synchronic. As they look into the psychedelic, they have a mind-bending realization about the nature of reality and time, leading to grim, but trippy adventures anchored by the leads’ easy chemistry. —Sadie Gennis


A Clockwork Orange

A reimagination of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange novel, this film explores a futuristic England and a scientific experiment that’s used to transform Alex’s psyche after he commits an atrocious crime and in exchange for early release from prison. What comes next is a flipped world in which Malcolm McDowell’s character re-enters society and is now the victim. —Shannon Barbour


Midnight Special

After his son (Jaeden Martell) is revealed to have special powers, Roy (Michael Shannons) must go into hiding with the boy to protect him from both the government and a cult. This grounded sci-fi film features an incredible cast, including Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunsts, joel Edgerton, and Sam Shepard. —Sadie Gennis


Outside the Wire

If you were wondering what it might be like if Mackie took the super-soldier serum in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Outside the Wire might be of interest. In the 2036-set Netflix original, Mackie plays a droid who double-crosses Damson Idris’s character and seeks to end the enhanced-soldier program by obtaining nuclear missiles and launch codes for a planned attack against the United States. —Shannon Barbour


In The Shadow of the Moon

This crime thriller starts out like your typical cat-and-mouse flick about a cop (Boyd Holbrook) chasing down a serial killer, but it quickly morphs into a time-travel saga with smart sci-fi elements that only add to the movie’s gripping central mystery. —Sadie Gennis


Bird Box

When confronted with an external force that kills when tempted souls open their eyes and see it, Sandra Bullock, Machine Gun Kelly, Trevante Rhodes, and a stacked roster of more Hollywood stars must devise a plan to travel to safety without taking a peek. The task is made even more difficult as the mysterious presence tries to coerce the characters into opening their eyes by using their worst fears against them. —Shannon Barbour


Project Power

Project Power spins the beloved superhero angle and discovers what happens when a pill gives users unpredictable superpowers in five-minute increments. When crime rates hit a new level, Jamie Foxx, Dominique Fishback, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s characters search for the creators and consider taking the pill themselves. MGK fans will want to check out his feature in here, too. —Shannon Barbour



When a young woman (Mélanie Laurent) wakes up trapped in a cryogenic unit with falling oxygen levels, she must quickly figure out a way to survive. This claustrophobic, nail-biter of a film will keep you in its thrall until the very end. —Sadie Gennis


Space Sweepers

When living on Earth is no longer viable, humans must turn to space — specifically, Eden, a colony ruled by a corporation — to survive. Much like life on the home planet, humans’ pollution knows no bounds, and there are 1.7 tons of space debris drifting about. In Space Sweepers, an interplanetary crew of misfits seeks payment for cleaning up the mess of the wealthy but finds a stowaway robot child in the process. —Shannon Barbour