16 Sci-Fi Movies On Netflix Perfect For Escaping This Reality To An Even Weirder One

From Inception to Space Sweepers, here are jaw-dropping movies you can stream right now.

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

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 16 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%, where public schools have been eliminated, and no one stands a chance of getting ahead without wealth and connections, one mother (Jacqueline Kim, who also serves as the film’s writer) is willing to sacrifice whatever it takes – including her own consciousness as she moves into a new body – to help her brilliant daughter (Samantha Kim) in 2015’s Advantageous.


Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Audiences must choose what actions the protagonist, programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), takes in this interactive psychological thriller as he adapts a choose-your-own-adventure book in video game format. 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.


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. Despite how society chooses to embrace this concept, at the core of this film is a tragic romance.


Lucid Dream

In this Korean sci-fi thriller, an investigative journalist has a lot of enemies. So when his son goes missing, he desperately 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’s abductor.


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 in the 2019 thriller I Am Mother. 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 about humans.



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 genetically-engineered pet pig she'll do anything to get back. The 2017 ensemble film by Parasite director Bong Joon-ho stars Tilda Swinton, Lily Collins, Steven Yeun, and Jake Gyllenhaal, among others.



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.


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’ character and seeks to end the enhanced-soldier program by obtaining nuclear missiles and launch codes for a planned attack against the United States.


In The Shadow of the Moon

A copycat serial killer keeps reappearing every decade in 2019’s In The Shadow of the Moon, but the murderer isn’t who he seems. This crime thriller starts out like your typical cat-and-mouse flick about a cop (Boyd Holbrook) chasing down a criminal, but it quickly morphs into a time-travel saga with smart sci-fi elements that only add to the movie’s gripping central mystery.


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.


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.



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 — the 2021 reimagining of a ’90s classic — will keep you in its thrall until the very end.


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.


The Adam Project

When Laura (Zoe Saldaña) goes missing, her husband Adam (Ryan Reynolds) travels through time to find her only to barrel into the wrong year. There he meets his younger self (Walker Scobell) and enlists his help in reversing the events of the past. The movie also marks the reunion of Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo – one fans have been waiting on since 2004’s 13 Going On 30.



This visually arresting 2010 Christopher Nolan film starring Leonardo DiCaprio will haunt you for days. Dom (DiCaprio) has a special skill: he can infiltrate dreams, mostly to extract top secret information. When he’s offered a deal he couldn’t resist, Dom has to carry out the impossible task of implanting a thought in someone’s dream subconscious. Be forewarned, the end is a doozy.



Chris Hemsworth trades in his superhero cape to play an evil genius in the 2022 film Spiderhead. As Steve, Hemsworth administers mind-altering experimental drugs at a criminal facility in exchange for shorter sentences for the inmates (some played by Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett). But when one’s prison changes from a physical cell to a mind cage, what is considered freedom?

Reporting by Danielle Burgos, Sadie Gennis, Shannon Barbour, and Alyssa Lapid

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