Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now (November 2022)

Science fiction is an incredibly flexible and encompassing field that allows writers, filmmakers, and actors to show off their creativity without being hampered by the confines of other genres. All sci-fi films can have elements of action, drama, romance, adventure, and mystery (with the best ones having a mixture of sub-genres) without blurring the lines; the same cannot always be said the other way around. In essence, science fiction is a genre that offers something for everyone.


With that in mind, we’ve gone through the available sci-fi films that are currently streaming on Netflix to provide you with a range of movies for a variety of tastes. If you’re looking for something family-friendly to watch with the kids, something action-packed to share with friends, or something unusual that you’ve never even heard of before, we’ve got you covered.

Editor’s note: This article was updated November 2022 to include Tau.

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The Adam Project (2022)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 46 min | Director: Shawn Levy

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, Walker Scobell

If you’re looking for a fun throwback to the Amblin adventure films of the 1980s, look no further than Shawn Levy’s Netflix original sci-fi film, The Adam Project. The film centers on a young boy (breakout star Walker Scobell), who discovers that his future self (Ryan Reynolds) is an astronaut who has crash-landed on Earth. If you’re expecting the typical quippy performance from Reynolds, you’ll be surprised to see that it’s actually Scobell who gets most of the film’s best zingers. Reynolds turns in a more hardened, mature performance, and the film itself does a great job balancing humor and heart. Look out for the moving performances by Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner as Adam’s parents, but stick around for Catherine Keener’s scenery chewing villain. — Liam Gaughan

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Tau (2018)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 37 min | Director: Federico D’Alessandro

Cast: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Gary Oldman

Directed by Federico D’Alessandro (Spider-Man: No Way Home), Tau is a sleek movie based on a fascinatingly terrifying concept. The director’s previous cinematic experiences in the art department of Hollywood’s biggest features give him a unique vision that is beautifully implemented in Tau. Starring Maika Monroe as Julia, a woman who finds herself being held prisoner by a sadistic artificial intelligence voiced sternly by Gary Oldman, Tau also seesEd Skrein (Deadpool) as Julia’s captor, continuing his impressively believable villain streak. Written by experienced science-fiction television writer Noga Landau (See), Tau plays with predictable sci-fi themes and elements of horror, but the wonderful casting sets it apart, providing an entertaining ride. – Yael Tygiel

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Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Lakeith Stanfield sitting on the ground with a binder in Sorry To Bother You.
Image via Annapurna Pictures

Run Time: 1 hr 52 min | Director: Boots Riley

Cast: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick

Combining surrealism with sci-fi and fantasy with dark comedy, Sorry to Bother You is a unique and bold film from the mind of the visionary Boots Riley. The film follows Cash (LaKeith Stanfield), a young, struggling artist who gets a job as a telemarketer to make ends meet. He starts succeeding at the job after adopting a “white voice” on the phone; however, he soon learns the company has darker motives than he originally thought and is torn between his morals and greed. Bold and bitingly satirical, Sorry to Bother You offers a refreshing story unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. – Taylor Gates

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Morbius (2022)

Dr. Michael Morbius looking down and trying to listen to the bat sonar

Run Time: 1 hr 44 min | Director: Daniel Espinosa

Cast: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris

Surely you’ve seen the memes, but now, you can watch the film that spurred them all from the comfort of your couch. Based on the Marvel Comics character, Morbius stars Jared Leto in the titular role – and what a role it is. The film focuses on a biochemist attempting to cure his rare blood disease. However, he instead infects himself with a form of vampirism and must feed on the artificial blood he created to satiate his thirst. As his urges for the real thing become more and more powerful, Morbius must also try and escape the FBI agents after him. Though critically panned and a box office flop, Morbius’ cultural impact on summer 2022 can’t be denied. It’s worth a watch to see what all the talk is about. – Taylor Gates

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I Am Mother (2019)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 53 min | Director: Grant Sputore

Cast: Hilary Swank, Rose Byrne, Clara Rugaard

Danish actress Clara Rugaard stars in the intriguing science fiction film I Am Mother, about a lone girl who is raised by an android she calls Mother. Voiced by the multifaceted Rose Byrne (Physical), Mother has convinced her ward that they are the sole survivors of a vicious plague. But when a stranger arrives, played by Oscar winner Hilary Swank, everything Mother has said is called into question. The I Am Mother screenplay by Michael Lloyd Green, based on the story written by director Grant Sputore, broaches provocative philosophical points to be investigated in strikingly sterile sceneries, allowing these talented actresses to discuss and kick ass at the same time. – Yael Tygiel

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The Mist (2006)

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Image via Dimension

Run Time: 2 hr 6 min | Director: Frank Darabont

Cast: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

Based on the Stephen King novel, The Mist is one of the most chilling sci-fi/horror films ever made. The plot revolves around a group of people trapped in a supermarket as they try to stay safe from bloodthirsty monsters lurking right outside. Though the creatures are terrifying, the real scares come from the humans and what people do under the most stressful circumstances. The film almost plays out like a dark, tense social experiment. Marcia Gay Harden as religious fanatic Mrs. Carmody gives an especially memorable performance. – Taylor Gates

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Spiderhead (2022)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 46 min | Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett

Spiderhead is a psychedelic mind-bending science fiction film that questions morality, humanity, and freedom, as it’s set in a terrifying near future where convicted felons are given the opportunity to shorten their sentences by becoming human guinea pigs in untested medical trials. Starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor: Love and Thunder), Miles Teller (Top Gun: Maverick), and Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country), this all-star cast enhances the mystifying premise and captivating story from Deadpool and Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on the short story by George Saunders. Hemsworth’s performance is a pleasant deviation from his more recent recognizable roles, only emphasizing the strengths of this film. – Yael Tygiel

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What Happened to Monday (2017)

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Image Via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr 3 min | Director: Tommy Wirkola

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, Cassie Clare, Glenn Close

It’s impressive any time one actor can play identical twins, but what about seven different siblings? In the Netflix sci-fi thriller What Happened to Monday, Noomi Rapaceportrays seven sisters, each named after one day of the week. Rapace makes each of the characters feel distinct. The film takes place in a dystopian society that is dealing with overpopulation. A one-child policy is strictly enforced by the government’s Child Allocation Bureau. After their sister Monday mysteriously vanishes, the six remaining sisters hunt for their lost sibling. Dead Snow filmmaker Tommy Wirkola adds the perfect amount of camp to the high concept premise. –Liam Gaughan

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The Midnight Sky (2020)

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Run Time: 2 hr 2 min | Director: George Clooney

Cast: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demián Bichir, Kyle Chandler, and Caoilinn Springall

George Clooney’s directorial efforts may have been a mixed bag thus far, but The Midnight Skyis his first venture into the science fiction genre as a filmmaker. It’s one of his strongest films to date. Clooney remarkably brings a lonely sensitivity to his lead performance as the scientist Augustine Lofthouse, who must stay on Earth as the rest of mankind searches the universe for habitable planets. Augustine’s only companion is the young girl Iris (Caoilinn Springall), who he raises as his daughter. Alexander Desplat’s beautiful score highlights this touching relationship. The $100 budgeted visual design earned The Midnight Sky an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. — Liam Gaughan

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Don’t Look Up (2021)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr 25 min | Director: Adam McKay

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Rob Morgan, Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchette, Timothee Chalamet, Tyler Perry

Adam McKay’s darkly humorous satire of the climate change crisis divided audiences down the middle; while there are those that appreciated McKay’s fiery text, others found it to be vague and insulting. Either way, Don’t Look Upis well worth watching just to engage in the debate about one of the most divisive Best Picture nominees ever. It also has an insanely talented cast, who get the chance to change things up from the type of performances they usually deliver. Has Leonardo DiCaprio ever played a nerd? Has Meryl Streep ever played a dictator? Have we ever seen Timothee Chalamet as a philosophical stoner? — Liam Gaughan

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The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Run Time: 1 hr 42 min | Director: Julius Onah

Cast: Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi

The Cloverfield Paradoxis the third installment in the Cloverfield franchise, which follows the crew of an international space station that travels into a parallel dimension while trying to solve the Earth’s energy crisis. As the crew of the Cloverfield Station prepares to test the Shepard particle accelerator, conspiracy theorists back on Earth spin stories about how the accelerator will rip open portals in the fabric of time and unleash horrors from parallel universes. After two years of unsuccessful tests, the crew is finally able to maintain a stable beam, however, chaos ensues as it becomes apparent that the conspiracy theories were not unfounded. As the crew tries to repair the Cloverfield Station after a power surge, they discover a woman named Mina Jensen (Elizabeth Debicki) inside of the wall of the station fused with wires and screaming in agony. This is a perfect example of how the film sits at the intersection of science fiction and horror, delivering on scientific technobabble and nightmare-inducing monsters and body horror.

While The Cloverfield Paradox failed to live up to the expectations set by its predecessors and is certified rotten, it has a brilliant cast that makes it worth watching. The interpersonal relationships and conflict between the crew members—Ernst Schmidt (Daniel Brühl), Ava Hamilton (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Jason Kiel (David Oyelowo), Monk Acosta (John Ortiz), Gordon Mundy (Chris O’Dowd), Sasha Volkov (Aksel Hennie), and Ling Tam (Zhang Ziyi)—makes up for the uneven storytelling. It’s an ambitious film that gets very lost in its own parallel universes, but it’s worth it for Mbatha-Raw, Oyelowo, and the minor romance subplot between Ernst Schmidt and Ling Tam. – Maggie Lovitt

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Bird Box (2018)

Sandra Bullock blindfolded in a boat with two children in the movie 'Bird Box'
Image via Neftlix

Run Time: 2 hr 4 min | Director: Susanne Bier

Cast: Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, Lil Rel Howery, Trevante Rhodes, BD Wong, Jacki Weaver

Watch out. Based on the novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, the sci-fi thriller Bird Boxtells the chilling story of Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock), a mother of two young children who seeks refuge when mysterious entities take over and drive anyone that looks at them to see their worst fears and die by suicide. In an attempt to protect her children and navigate this new life, she bands together with fellow survivors and searches for sanctuary and answers. Clinging to her blindfold and any semblance of hope, Malorie risks it all and travels through treacherous waters in order to get out of this nightmare alive. — Emily Bernard

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Space Sweepers (2021)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr 16 min | Director: Sung-hee Jo

Cast: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu

It is hard to think of a film that you could have more fun with when it comes to science fiction adventure than the glorious experience that is Space Sweepers. It focuses on a crew of a spaceship, that quite literally sweeps up debris in space, who end up getting swept up in an intergalactic dispute that is beyond anything they have ever seen. It is best to go in with as little knowledge as possible as the heights this story reaches is best experienced for the first time in seeing it. All the characters and the cast are routinely outstanding, finding humor as well as drama in every moment they can. There are big space battles galore and a real sense of excitement overflowing from every frame that makes it one of the most enjoyable science fiction films of recent memory. It is everything you could ever want from the genre and then some, proving to be one of the most enduringly thrilling films you could be lucky enough to get to experience for yourself. — Chase Hutchinson

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Synchronic (2019)

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Image via Well Go USA

Run Time: 1 hr 36 min | Director: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Cast: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Ally Ioannides

The Endless and Spring filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead return to cinema’s strangest, scariest cinematic universe with Synchronic. With clever ties to their previous films, Synchronic further unfolds the wonders and the horrors sprung from a mysterious force manipulating the world in ways that ripple through time. In Synchronic, those ripples manifest in the form of a designer drug that’s leaving behind a trail of inexplicable deaths and injuries, a pattern that quickly catches the attention of a BFF pair of paramedics (Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan). Synchronicestablishes a compelling puzzle with striking, unnerving imagery and pays off ever step it takes to solve it with revelations that surprise, sometimes shock, and always up the stakes. Synchronic works just fine as a standalone film if you haven’t seen Benson and Moorhead’s previous work (though you should), but I have to admit, with each new film, I’ve grown consistently more intrigued by the sprawling, genre-building world they’re building, and the obvious attention to detail they’ve put into their design from project to project. — Haleigh Foutch

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Oxygen (2021)

Melanie Laurent in Oxygen
Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Director: Alexandre Aja

Cast: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi

Mélanie Laurent gives one of the most commanding and technically impressive acting performances of her career in Oxygen, the clever Netflix sci-fi thriller about a woman who wakes up in a futuristic medical pod with no memory of who she is, how she got there, or how to get out. And she’s running out of oxygen. Directed by Crawl filmmaker Alexandre Aja, the tightly contained thriller manages to consistently ramp up the tension with each new reveal while expanding the world and the stakes of Laurent’s fight to survive, even while trapped within the tiny confines of her chamber. The reveals usually aren’t quite as surprising as the movie seems to think they are, but they do make for a twisty-turny survival movie that’s tightly crafted enough to pull off the wild ride, and a full embrace of sci-fi storytelling that allows a movie that’s almost entirely set in a small box to feel like a much bigger adventure. — Haleigh Foutch

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Okja (2017)

okja
Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr | Director: Bong Joon Ho

Cast: Ahn Seo-Hyun, Tilda Swinton, Steven Yeun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins

One of the highest-profile movies to hit Netflix but bypass a traditional theatrical rollout was Okja, Bong Joon Ho‘s follow up to 2013’s Snowpiercer. It’s an eviscerating takedown of both the modern agricultural industry and the intertwined science of genetic engineering. The story takes the science to extreme and, at times, ridiculous proportions and makes no attempt to portray beneficial real-world achievements in an equal light. However, the moral of the story is hard to miss: Humans who play God soon lose their very humanity.

Okja follows the title character, a genetically engineered super-animal raised naturally/organically in South Korea by caretaker Mija. Since Okja is the choicest of the bred animals, multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation seeks to take back their property and study it exhaustively in order to recoup their investment and improve their stock, both agriculturally and financially. Mija does everything in her power to bring her friend back home, though animal rights activists, hired corporate muscle, and even the media will complicate matters. It’s a tough watch at times, especially for those on the front lines of the fight for animal welfare, but it’s a lesson worth repeating just the same. — Dave Trumbore

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Beyond Skyline (2017)

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Image via Vertical Entertainment

Run Time: 1 hr 46 min | Director: Liam O’Donnell

Cast: Frank Grillo, Jonny Weston, Bojana Novakovic, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Antonio Fargas, Lindsey Morgan, Betty Gabriel

Beyond Skyline is a special kind of WTF. Of all the movies to spawn a franchise, I never would have guessed the much-derided 2010 sci-fi pic Skyline could pull it off, much less that the follow-up film would be such a gleeful, globe-trotting action-packed adventure. A proud, pulpy B-movie featuring aliens that rip the brain right out of your skull, Beyond Skyline stars Frank Grillo as a cop at odds with his son (Jonny Weston) when an alien attack sends them scrambling for their lives. Once the aliens make contact, the film ricochets through settings and characters at a breakneck pace, packing in a paperback book series worth of sci-fi lunacy into a single feature film that travels from subterranean tunnels to the nuclear wasteland of Los Angeles to an alien ship, and all the way to Laos, where Mark teams with rebels to battle the alien threat. You’ve got Frank Grillo playing hero with a baby in one hand and a space-blaster on the other, Antonio Fargas as a Vietnam vet who calls everybody “bitch”, Iko Uwais and Yaya Ruhain beating the shit out of giant aliens, and there’s even an honest-to-god Kaiju battle. Beyond Skyline won’t be for everyone, but if you love a bananas B-movie, the feature debut from writer-director Liam O’Donnell ticks all the right boxes. – Haleigh Foutch

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In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)

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Image via Netflix

Run Time: 1 hr 55 min | Director: Jim Mickle

Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Michael C. Hall, Cleopatra Coleman, Bokeem Woodbin, Rudi Dharmalingam, Rachel Keller

Jim Mickle‘s sci-fi crime thriller somehow slipped under the radar this year despite being on Netflix and being a generally engrossing, well-executed science fiction tale. Boyd Holbrook stars as a police officer who stumbles into horrendous series of crimes and winds up locked in the cat-and-mouse change that will define decades of his life… and mix him up in some twisted, tragic time-travel saga that could save the future of the country. An obsessive crime drama that mostly keeps it lowkey despite the extreme stakes, In the Shadow of the Moon has an occasional unfortunate habit of thinking it’s more ahead of the audience than it really is, but its still an intriguing, engrossing, and technically well-executed time-travel saga that’s well worth digging into. — Haleigh Foutch

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Stowaway (2021)

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Run Time: 1 hr 56 min | Director: Joe Penna

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim, Shamier Anderson, Toni Collette

If you’re looking for space battles, robots, or intergalactic wars, you’re gonna want to take a look at the other sci-fi movies on Netflix, but if you’re looking for an intense, understated dramatic thriller about a space mission gone wrong, Stowawayis a pretty interesting one… as long as you don’t mind your science fiction slow-burn and bleak. Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette, and Daniel Dae Kim star as a trio of space travelers for an independent company, who discovers there’s somehow an extra person aboard their spacecraft. But he’s not a villain, there are no deadly plots at play, he’s just a company employee who somehow got stuck in there during takeoff, which means it’s a whole lot more difficult to make the choices they need to when his arrival compromises their life support system. It’s a very slow, sad movie (if you like watching A-listers cry in space, oh boy, you are in luck), but the performers give it their all and there’s something refreshing about the simplicity in the moral conundrums that threaten to throw this space mission entirely off the rails. — Haleigh Foutch

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Mute (2018)

Alexander Skarsgard in Mute
Image via Netflix

Run Time: 2 hr 6 min | Director: Duncan Jones

Cast: Paul Rudd, Alexander Skarsgard, and Justin Theroux

Mute is a weird-as-hell movie, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Paul Rudd play a despicable character and knock it out of the park, this is for you. The second in an unofficial trilogy of loosely connected films, Mute follows in the footsteps of Duncan JonesMoon and takes place in the year 2035. Alexander Skarsgard plays a mute bartender named Leo searching for the woman he loves who has mysteriously disappeared. Rudd and Justin Theroux, meanwhile, play pretty deranged surgeons who play a major role in the film. Mute is a gnarly film that doesn’t exactly offer up an optimistic portrait of the future, but if you’re on its wavelength it’s a darkly fun ride. — Adam Chitwood

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