The feelings of isolation and claustrophobia are what captures me when I’m watching a good Sci-fi movie. The desperation and loneliness of solitude with only yourself to blame or question is better than any traditional science fiction with aliens or government secrets. But I am quite fond of a good old alien attack on the planet earth with one single person ready to take on an entire race and save us from being elimated. Science fiction has so many incredible elements and paths to discover and can take us in a million and one directions. For me, the science fiction that stands out has an unknown, sometime fearful, element. It questions right and wrong, and has an antihero with a few questionable traits. In saying that, here are my top 5 Sci-fi movies on Netflix at the moment with that claustrophobic element.
And just to recap I’m not a film critic, I do my best to avoid spoilers bit I’m also human so I apologise if any creep in and finally, my recommendations come from my own personal taste which as I said is somewhat eclectic. But there is nothing wrong with trying out a new flavour every so often. I have relatively high standards. I will switch something off ten minutes in if it’s not keeping my attention. So, if I sat through the whole thing, it must be good! 😊
Check out my other top favourite lists on Netflix here
Director: Joseph Kosinski, 2013
Running Time: 125m
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko
Not everyone loves, or even likes, Tom Cruise. Despite being the marmite of Hollywood, it’s impossible to deny that he feeds you well with his movies. Action, tension, and intrigue tend to be the main meal with a side dish of plausible dialogue and humour. I’ll admit, I’m a Cruise fan, liking almost everything he’s featured in because, well, quite simply, he’s entertaining and the money is usually behind his movies meaning whatever may be lacking is usually made up in explosions and set design.
Oblivion is one of those movies that possibly could have been better than it was, but it inveritably stands up to every sci-fi lovers dream. And certainly kept me intrigued. Beautiful set design in a noticeably stark futuristic setting, a quiet and somber atmosphere with questions and tension, confusion and cheering for our hero who explores a dire world, are all well played out. However, while the script is certainly mediocre it’s not a disaster. I’m not sure we watch Science Fiction for indepth and twisting dialogue anyway. Oblivion is an entertaining watch with a striking visual. Cruise doesn’t necessarily disappoint either. When sci-fi is delivered well, it has that element of “what the hell is going on” and this movie has that, not in bucketloads, but it has it. There’s no doubt that, despite the critics, this movie will keep you entertained.
Director: James Cameron, 1989
Running Time: 140m
Starring: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn
When I saw The Abyss listed on Netflix, my little heart was brought back to being that ten year old girl who watched it on VHS with her Dad and big brother through gripped fingers. The Abyss may be retro at almost thirty years old but it still holds every second of suspense and tension as it did back then. A riveting sci-fi movie that has the most incredible feeling of claustrophobia, which now that I think about it, may be where my love for this style of movie came from.
With some of the most amazing visual effects, this movie tries to do an awful, awful lot by competing with its own strong plot and sub plots. At times it wavers but the visual display pulls it back up. It has a striking setting and is brilliantly played out with some of the most intense and dramatic scenes from a science fiction movie. It blends human emotion with sci-if brilliantly. And although, at times, the dialogue is tedious and questionable, it’s undeniable that this movie has held up better than many others from the dire 80’s. If you haven’t seen it yet, although I’d be surprised if you haven’t, then it’s a must for your list.
Director: Travis Milloy, 2017
Running Time: 103m
Starring: Christopher Soren Kelly, Cassandra Clark, Cajardo Lindsey
Having recently nestled in to watch Infinity Chamber, I can safely say this movie has that perfect element of isolation and claustrophobia. It reminded me of Moon, which I’m desperate for Netflix to add so that I can rant and rave about it here. Infinity Chamber was a surprise watch for us as we scrolled through and eventually settled on this subtle Sci-Fi story.
It is, so far, my recommendation of the year since it delivers so well in almost every sense. It has a clever varying dialogue as the main character befriends a computer as he stagnates in a futuristic prison cell. For me, a movie that asks more questions of its characters without being answered until due course is a strong storyline. It leaves us questioning and guessing as our hero fights the urges of despair, self doubt, and blame. Infinity Chamber is entertaining in a slow and questioning way. Action is limited but the script is well played out. As with any science fiction, there may be gaps, questions and “huh” moments but considering we are living through a surreal and questioning world, many sci-fi plots get away with it and this movie is no exception.
Director: Ridley Scott, 2015
Running Time: 141m
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pêna
There is nothing more sci-fi than being abandoned on Mars. The loneliness and isolation certainly play havoc with our hero who has to muster all of his wits to survive, tell Earth that he is alive and get home. The Martian, despite being a mega hollywood blockbuster, managed to be more than the millions of dollars that was thrown into it and stand above the mega bucks as a riveting and well thought out story.
Damon plays a blinder which is another surprise considering he’s often one dimensional and lack lustre. He manages to bring to life a script with more human emotion than is actually warranted and throws a bit of humour our way. Surprise, surprise. Survival is the key to this movie and what better way to prove the human mind can survive anything than by abandoning it on the Red planet. The Martian is a science fiction movie that will be heralded for a long time until something better comes along but it will be fairly hard to beat. A tantalising tale of intrigue, worry, appreciation and amazement, this movie is one of the most expensive but entertaining sci-fi movies on Netflix to date.
The Zero Theorem
Director: Terry Gilliam, 2013
Running Time: 106m
Starring: Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Melanie Thierry
And finally, as seems to now be tradition in these posts, a movie I have yet to see but have lumped into My List as the next one to watch. The Zero Theorem has me very intrigued as it takes on elements that I truly love in science fiction. A computer genius, living in isolation, awaits a phonecall to discover the reason for his existence. Yep, I’m reeled in, hook, line and sinker.
Intense questioning, new discoveries, isolation, fear, worry, self-doubt, are some of the most claustrophic elements of sci-fi as our hero, or anti-hero as the case may be, uncovers truth, reasoning and possible answers he didn’t want to hear. This movie has an interesting cast, an intriguing plot, and a director who is not afraid to take risks. It’s a recipe for disaster or acclaim. Let the credits roll and you and I will both make up our mind if The Zero Theorem is one of the best Sci-Fi movies on Netflix at the moment!
Check out my other top favourite lists on Netflix here
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