14 Sci-Fi Movies You Didn't Watch In 2022 (But Should Have)

List Rules
Vote up the sci-fi movies that deserve another look.

The year 2022 has been a particularly good one for the science fiction film. In a strange twist, however, some of the best the genre had to offer were films which, for one reason or another, managed to fly under most people’s radar for one reason or another. Some of these challenged viewers to think differently about the world around them, while others offered new takes on established genres conventions and familiar stories.

What ties these disparate films together, however, is an awareness of how beautiful, and frightening, the world can be, particularly when filtered through the prism of possibilities offered up by the genre.


  • 1
    63 VOTES

    Vesper

    Vesper
    Photo: IFC Films

    As a genre, science fiction is often drawn to the dystopian, and this is certainly the case with Vesper. The film depicts a rather bleak – yet also strangely beautiful – world, one in which civilization just barely clings on in a few isolated enclaves, which restrict access to life-giving seeds. Into this fraught world steps Vesper, a young woman living with her disabled father. The film follows her encounter with one of those who lives in the enclaves, their friendship, and its surprising aftermath.

    Like all good dystopian science fiction, Vesper immerses its viewer in a strange and unsettling world, one which seems like a logical outgrowth of the present. Though it didn’t make much of an impression on the box office, it is still noteworthy for the extent to which it shows the power of hope even in the midst of a dark and sinister human future. In the imagination of a film like this one, there is always reason to hope things will get better.

    63 votes
  • 2
    17 VOTES

    Brian and Charles

    For better and worse, science fiction tends to be a bit of a pessimistic genre, and while it often shows the many frontiers of human knowledge, it also shows how bleak the future can be. This is what makes Brian and Charles such a gem of a science fiction film. Focusing on the title characters – an inventor and the robot who he accidentally brings to life – it is a skilled blend of comedy and drama. 

    Throughout, it exudes a certain kind of quirkiness which doesn’t always make itself felt in science fiction. There is, indeed, something extraordinarily moving about the friendship which slowly develops between man and robot, and it’s clear each brings something meaningful to the dynamic, even if Charles begins to chafe at his creator’s insistence on staying away from the public. Though the film isn’t without conflict, it gives viewers a remarkably upbeat and sweetly happy ending, also something of a rarity in recent sci-fi.

    17 votes
  • 3
    31 VOTES
    Dual
    Photo: RLJE Films

    The concept of the clone is one that has repeatedly and consistently excited the science fiction imagination. In Dual, viewers encounter Sarah, a young woman suffering from a terminal illness who agrees to have a clone made of herself. Unfortunately, things get complicated when she recovers, and she then has to duel said clone for the right to live.

    Dual is a bitingly funny satire that pokes fun at the human desire to attain any form of immortality. There is, however, a certain bleakness underlying the comedy, particularly since the clone Sarah doesn’t seem to be much happier than the original. At the end of the day, she still has to contend with those elements of her predecessor’s life that caused her so much misery, particularly her unhappy relationship and the smothering presence of her mother. In the end,  the promise of immortality is nothing more than a chimera.

    31 votes
  • Crimes of the Future
    Photo: Neon

    David Cronenberg has long had a reputation for creating compelling, and deeply disturbing, science fiction masterpieces. Crimes of the Future, his most recent effort, takes place in a world which has recognizable similarities to the present but refracted through his own body horror lens, with many people having experienced rapid evolutionary advances. 

    As so often with Cronenberg, Crimes of the Future aims to unsettle, particularly with its emphasis on the permeable nature of the human body. While it may not answer every question it poses, this is part of its brilliance, and to the director’s credit he wants to leave his audience questioning everything they thought they knew about the world and their relationship to their bodies and the world around them. Despite its meager box office takings – it hasn’t even made $5 million – it is still worth seeing, if only to appreciate how skilled Cronenberg remains at blending together science fiction and body horror.

    58 votes
  • 5
    17 VOTES

    Belle

    Belle
    Photo: Toho

    Beauty and the Beast is one of those stories that makes for inspired filmmaking, and there are numerous examples of extraordinary adaptations of its basic narrative. Of course, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is one of the most notable of these, and it serves as inspiration for Belle, one of the most exciting and visually vibrant anime films to emerge in recent years.

    What is particularly remarkable about Belle is the extent to which it manages to both stay true to the original story while also bringing it into the modern, highly virtual world. It is one of those rare gems that manages to combine a richly told story with a profound emotional depth, brought to life by truly stunning imagination. It is thus a testament to not just what science fiction can achieve but also how animation has the power to move the viewer and capture the beauty of the world.

    17 votes
  • Something in the Dirt
    Photo: XYZ Films

    The sinisterly titled Something in the Dirt is a film all about paranoia, about the chance meeting between two men, John and Levi, whose lives are slowly upended by the strange events happening in their apartment building. Once they decide to make a documentary about what’s going on, things begin to get very meta, and though the pieces don’t always add up to a coherent whole, there is nevertheless something richly compelling about the film.

    Beneath all of the madness, however, there is something surprisingly touching: the bond between friends. One gets the sense they are truly watching two people become friends as they witness things which have no truly rational explanation. The film’s 47% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes belies a truly inquisitive piece of filmmaking.

    32 votes