The 12 Most Underrated Netflix Original Sci-Fi Movies

List Rules
Vote up the Netflix movies with legit sci-fi cred.

Netflix seems like the perfect home for sci-fi movies. And of all the film genres there are, sci-fi feels like the most adaptable of the bunch. There is sci-fi/horror. There is sci-fi/action. There is sci-fi/drama. Big zombie fan? That's technically sci-fi. While major Netflix productions like Red NoticeThe Irishman, and Bright get all the press before release, it is the smaller projects that make Netflix what it is.

Finding those underrated gems on the streaming service out of the blue is just about as exciting as modern entertainment gets. Netflix also kind of lets directors get as creative as they want with certain projects. With all of that in mind, let's run through some of the legitimately fantastic sci-fi flicks Netflix has to offer that don't get the love they deserve.


  • What Happened to Monday
    Photo: Netflix

    What Happened to Monday (also known by the infinitely inferior title of Seven Sisters) is a 2017 dystopian feature that stars Noomi Rapace as the identical Settman septuplets. Identical septuplets? So far, not very sci-fi. Highly improbable, sure... but not exactly science fiction. Alas, What Happened to Monday is set in a future where overpopulation has brought the world to the brink of ruin. Each family across the globe is limited to one child and one child only. This being the case, the Settman sisters are raised to live as one person, each individual living one day of the week while the other six are confined to their home.

    Think of it as The Prestige twist taken to the nth degree. And, yes, each Settman sister is named after a day of the week. It's an intriguing premise, Rapace absolutely revels in getting to play seven different people in the same movie, and Willem Dafoe is there doing Willem Dafoe things. If you're a fan of Tommy Wirkola's other films - cult hits Dead Snow and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - then What Happened to Monday won't disappoint. 

    232 votes
  • 2
    111 VOTES
    Cargo
    Photo: Netflix

    And you thought carrying the One Ring around Middle-earth was a taxing adventure. Orcs? Gollum? Smaug? Try rabid zombies, people. 2017's Cargo sees everyone's favorite Hobbit, Martin Freeman, on a cross-country trek in the outskirts of Australia in the midst of a viral outbreak that basically turns everyone into zombies two days after they're bitten. With him on this journey is his wife and infant daughter, so you know the drama is going to be ratcheted up to a high level.

    We know what you're thinking: "Come on. The zombie genre has been absolutely wrung dry at this point." That may be true, but this critical darling is more than your average sci-fi/horror flick. We're not going to go into plot details, as anything but the basic layout would be littered with spoilers that would ruin the proceedings. Also, there is a high chance of probability that you haven't seen many Australian films in your life, so give the Aussies some love, yeah?

    111 votes
  • 3
    201 VOTES
    Project Power
    Photo: Netflix

    Project Power is the kind of movie that would've had a huge theatrical release only a few years ago. Before streaming became the norm, this is exactly the type of picture that would've had billboards everywhere, cross-promotions at fast-food restaurants, and all kinds of merchandise filling up big-box stores across the country. It is a massive, big-budget superhero picture that features Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in starring roles, after all. Alas, the film's August 14, 2020, release date came and went without all that much fanfare, which is a shame.

    Project Power isn't worthy of the Academy Award for Best Picture or anything, but it isn't trying to be. It's a movie where people get superpowers by taking an illicit street drug called "Power." It's a movie where Machine Gun Kelly overdoses in a blaze of glory. It's a movie with a slo-mo bullet ricochet to the face. Shut your brain off and have some fun with Project Power, dang it. It's worthy of a watch, for sure. 

    201 votes
  • 4
    167 VOTES
    Spectral
    Photo: Netflix

    Spectral is jam-packed with actors that people would describe as having one of those faces. Seriously, chances are one of your favorite character actors is included in the cast of not-quite-A-listers. James Badge Dale. Max Martini. Emily Mortimer. Bruce Greenwood. Louis Ozawa Changchien. Stephen Root. Jimmy Akingbola. Clayne Crawford. Cory Hardrict. Check out IMDb for all of them, and we'd be willing to bet you've seen each and every one of them in something at this point.

    As for the plot of the 2016 action flick, well, it's pretty much your boilerplate story about an elite military team that is forced to take on a group of supernatural entities. The "big twist" won't be all that surprising to fans of the genre and some will even see it coming a mile away, but it gets the job done. Spectral just offers up a well-made, little science-fiction film full of familiar faces. Maybe that is all you really need to have a good time.

    167 votes
  • 5
    170 VOTES

    I Am Mother

    I Am Mother
    Photo: Netflix

    2019's I Am Mother is almost universally beloved by everyone who has seen it. Unfortunately, it's a low-budget sci-fi movie released on Netflix, so the number of people who have actually seen it is much lower than it should be. It is equal parts sci-fi/thriller, environmental message film, and acting showcase for its talented cast. Seriously, if you were wondering if Rose Byrne could pull off voicing a subtly threatening robot named "Mother," then ponder no more.

    I Am Mother sees Byrne's robot raising a teenage "daughter" in captivity in order to repopulate the Earth. Eventually, Hilary Swank arrives at Mother's bunker, which throws a wrench into everything. I Am Mother takes some very familiar sci-fi trappings and themes and manages to repackage them into a film that feels fresh and exciting. Also, the practical effects used in the film are second to none, which is pretty incredible for a movie of its modest scale.

    170 votes
  • 6
    105 VOTES

    Mute

    Mute
    Photo: Netflix

    Remember Moon? Remember Source Code? Remember Warcraft? Well, revel in the first two and do your best to forget the last one because we're talking about Duncan Jones. Not content with being just the "son of David Bowie," Jones has carved out a nice little filmography for himself over the years. And following in his sci-fi footsteps with modern delights like Moon and Source Code came 2018's Mute. This flick is set in 2035 Berlin where Alexander Skarsgård's Leo must delve into the city's seedy underground where Paul Rudd's Cactus Bill and Justin Theroux's Duck run a black-market surgical center. Look, if you're going to two dudes named "Cactus Bill" and "Duck" for surgery, something has gone terribly wrong for you.

    Anyway, Leo is mute from a childhood accident that could've been cured had his Amish mother let it happen. Really, Leo's lack of voice is just carte blanche for Skarsgård to constantly brood longingly into the distance. Mute may just be an amalgamation of other, better sci-fi films, but it is a treat to look at and the cast certainly seems to have been having fun with the B-movie material.

    105 votes