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Underrated Sci-Fi Movies Where Earth Fends Off An Alien Invasion

February 17, 2021 10.2k votes 2.0k voters 118.3k views15 items

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Alien invasion movies are a dime a dozen. And for good reason! It is a genre that has been around for decades, and it isn't going anywhere soon. It seems like superheroes are always fending off the armies of some extraterrestrial foe, and some of the biggest films in history have been centered around visitors from outer space - hello, Independence Day. But there are plenty of alien invasion films that don't necessarily get the plaudits they deserve due to a variety of reasons.

This list runs the gamut from big-budget flops like Cowboys & Aliens to B-movie cult hits like Killer Klowns from Outer Space. We've got Netflix fare such as Extinction and black comedies like Slither. There is something for everyone here as we run through some of the most underrated sci-fi movies where humanity has to stick it to invaders from another world.

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  • It is hard to overstate how good of a film Edge of Tomorrow is. Warner Bros. knew it had a hit on its hands, but the studio basically bungled the film's marketing and ended up trying to change the title upon home release. The movie is a modern classic, and if the film gods are really up there listening to us, we will end up getting a sequel to this underrated gem. Seriously, we are over here praying Doug Liman can get the project off the ground.

    Edge of Tomorrow follows Tom Cruise's William Cage as he is stuck in a time loop as he teams up with Emily Blunt's Rita Vrataski to try and find a way to defeat a massive horde of powerful alien invaders. The action is slick, the comedy is sharp, and the acting is top-notch. The craft on display is remarkable, and it holds up upon repeat viewings. It also houses one of Bill Paxton's last great roles as Master Sergeant Farell.

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  • Perhaps best remembered for its unique debut trailerBattle: Los Angeles delivers exactly what you're looking for in a big-budget sci-fi epic. Think of it as Black Hawk Down by way of Independence Day. If that combination interests you, then you know what lies in store for you. There is all manner of mayhem around every corner, and with a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Peña, and Ne-Yo, there is plenty of star power to go around as well.

    Funnily enough, Battle: Los Angeles isn't telling a massive story with all of its bombast and spectacle. This is a tale about the people on the ground, not the people in the war room, and it's all the better for it. The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips sums it up thusly: "It's about a handful of people trying to get a handful of blocks to a safe zone on the west side of LA and not get [slain] in the process. The saving-the-world part is almost an afterthought." If over-the-top heroics in the face of certain doom isn't your thing, give Battle: Los Angeles a chance.

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  • Is it any surprise that after being nothing more than an average success upon theatrical release in 1998, The Faculty has become a cult hit over time? Directed by Robert Rodriguez from a script by Kevin Williamson and featuring Jordana Brewster, Josh Hartnett, Salma Hayek, Usher, Jon Stewart, and Elijah Wood, there was no way people wouldn't find this film and latch onto it. That is too much star power to ignore.

    The Faculty follows a group of small-town Ohio high schoolers as they try to fend off parasitic aliens that have taken over the adults who work at their school. It's not exactly treading new ground, but the energetic cast and eclectic direction give the well-worn storyline a fresh breath of air. Of course, being a Robert Rodriguez film means it is also goofily gory and vicious.

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  • Back before James Gunn was directing massive superhero films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad, he was an up-and-coming director responsible for dark comedies like Super. And if there ever was a film whose fandom has grown over time, it is 2006's Slither. As the stars of Gunn and main actors Elizabeth Banks and Nathan Fillion have continued to rise over the years, Slither has continued to find more and more fans. For good reason, too.

    Slither is a very dark comedy about an alien parasite that accosts a small South Carolina town and begins to take over the populace. If you're in the mood for body horror, there are few films from the 2000s that can outpace Slither for sheer imagination and gross-out value. All in all, it's just a lot of goofy fun, and if you're a fan of Gunn's brand of humor (and have the stomach to handle some disgusting practical effects), you should definitely check it out.

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