Science fiction can run the gamut from far-flung space adventures to journeys to the bottom of the ocean. The genre can introduce us to awe-inspiring robots, horrific extraterrestrials, or harrowing experiments. Whether the sci-fi ranges from the mostly true to the truly outrageous, there’s always fun to be had in this sandbox. But how to pick which to watch?
Hulu’s got a wide selection of movies, but how to know the best from the rest? We’ve got you covered.
Here’s the best sci-fi movies now streaming on Hulu.
1. The Creator
Credit: 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Writer/director Gareth Edwards broke onto the sci-fi scene in a big way with the 2010 invasion thriller Monsters. Since then, he’s taken big swings at some of sci-fi’s flashiest franchises, such as 2014’s Godzilla and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In this wildly ambitious 2023 offering, he and screenwriter Chris Weitz have carved out a world all their own, one in which humans and AI robots are at war. John David Washington stars as a soldier whose allegiances are challenged when he meets Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), a robot unlike any he’s seen before. She’s a child, and she could well be the path to a future of coexistence — as long as they can survive the attacks of the relentless Colonel Howell (Allison Janney). Full of jaw-dropping visuals, including a terrifying warship, The Creator is a gift to sci-fi fans. But beyond the film’s dazzling futuristic flourishes, the emotional story at its core is what will keep you hooked. — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to watch: The Creator is now streaming on Hulu.
In this haunting exploration of hopelessness, Kirsten Dunst plays a reluctant bride facing the end of the Earth. A compelling blend of apocalyptic stakes and deep, precise understanding of grief make Melancholia an all-time great perspective on what it means to confront nothingness. It’s certainly the most cynical title on this (or really any) list, but offers a nihilistic catharsis for audiences who seek that sort of thing. Come for the promise of some truly stunning visuals, stay for the unique atmosphere you can really only get here. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
Plenty of people have heard of Akira, or have at the very least seen enough of the sci-fi anime classic’s iconic motorcycle to have an association with that title. But have you ever sit down and watched it? It’s time to correct that if not. Akira isn’t just one of the best anime stories ever told, it’s also a shoo-in for virtually any “greatest sci-fi of all time” round-up that gets put together. The story, adapted from the manga created by Katsuhiro Otomo (who also directed), follows Shotaro Kaneda, leader of the Capsules biker gang, as he fights to save his telekinetic friend Tetsuo Shima from forces that want to exploit those abilities. The plot eventually spins outward into a much bigger cyberpunk-fueled story set against the backdrop of a dystopian “Neo-Tokyo” in 2019. — Adam Rosenberg, Former Weekend Editor
Credit: A Markfield / 20th Century Fox / Kobal / Shutterstock
Don’t let the blah title fool you. Imagine Alien but at the bottom of the ocean floor, and you’ve got Underwater. Kristen Stewart (rocking some a hot, bleached blonde buzz cut) stars as Norah Price, a mechanical engineer toiling away at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in a research and drilling facility. But this blue-collar crew’s cozy routine is fearsomely disrupted by an earthquake that does serious damage to their hub. Claustrophobia might kick in as they scramble for survival, running from furious leaks and dwindling oxygen, but the scariest discoveries lie in the waters just outside. What lurks beyond? Well, that’d be spoiling some ace scares. Let’s just say that someone may hear you scream, but that’s not necessarily good news. — K.P.
How to watch: Underwater is now streaming on Hulu.
5. Gone in the Night
Missing Stranger Things? Then you’ll appreciate this trippy thriller starring Winona Ryder as a middle-aged botanist whose romantic getaway with her younger beau (John Gallagher Jr.) goes sideways thanks to some unexpected guests. Out of the film’s 2022 SXSW debut — back when it was called The Cow — we raved about Gone in the Night, cheering its dizzying blend of sci-fi thrills and rom-com charm. “Through all these twists and genre turns, Ryder is our reliable guide. She deftly dances through the demand for a wry joke, a wistful smile, a worried glance,” I wrote in my review. “With savage wit and sophisticated twists, Gone in the Night is a must-see, whether you treasure great thrills or whether you rightly worship at the temple of Winona Ryder.” — K.P.
How to watch: Gone in the Night is now streaming on Hulu.
6. Sea Fever
Craving a mix of science fiction and folk horror? Then you’ll relish this excellent indie from writer/director Neasa Hardiman. Set aboard an Irish trawler, Sea Fever follows Siobhán (Hermione Corfield), a marine biology student assigned to survey any marine life this fishing crew comes across. But when something strange surfaces, the superstitious crew and the academic outsider are at odds over how to react. Whichever side you’re on, you’ll relish the tension as characters scramble to make sense of the ocean’s unknowable possibilities. Though this low-budget affair doesn’t boast the flashy monsters of studio flicks, Hardiman delivers enough glimpses and teases that you’ll definitely be hooked. And the crackling cast, which includes Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Olwen Fouéré, Jack Hickey, and Ardalan Esmaili, shares a chemistry that makes you feel a part of the crew, for better or worse. — K.P.
How to watch: Sea Fever is now streaming on Hulu.
7. The One I Love
The One I Love starts out looking like an ordinary dramedy film about an unhappy couple trying to fix their marriage, but just wait for it. Midway through, a Twilight Zone-ish twist upends the dynamic between Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) and Ethan (Mark Duplass), throwing into doubt everything they thought knew about their relationship. Bit by bit, the movie lays bare some complicated questions about the fantasies and realities woven into long-term romances like Sophie and Ethan’s — or even your own. — A.H.
How to watch: The One I Love is now streaming on Hulu.
Credit: Frank Masi / Touchstone / Kobal / Shutterstock
Return to the breezy days of 1998, when the threat of an Earth-shattering asteroid was tackled by Michael Bay and his flashy cast, which included Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, and Owen Wilson. Because when NASA needs the perfect crew to break that apocalyptic projectile into pieces, who better to send than a motley crew of deep-core drillers? Full of intense action, questionable science, big stars, and a soundtrack that rocks, Armageddon is the kind of sci-fi movie that urges you to shut off your brain, pass the popcorn, and strap in for a wild ride. — K.P.
How to watch: Armageddon is now streaming on Hulu.
9. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise typically plays heroes who are unflappable and endlessly cool, like Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible movies. But in Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise mixed it up by playing a cocky major who is all talk no walk. In a war against powerful and mysterious alien invaders, Major William Cage (Cruise) is chiefly in charge of PR — that is, until he’s thrown onto the front lines where he’s doomed to die. A strange twist of fate doesn’t let him stay dead. Instead, he’s pulled back 24 hours, again and again, doomed to die until he can figure out how to win — or truly runs out of lives. Director Doug Liman’s critically heralded action movie impressed critics by feeding video game dynamics into his adaptation of the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Not only did this result in tons of gonzo action and one of Cruise’s funniest performances to date, but it also gave us Emily Blunt as the instantly iconic Sergeant Rita Vrataski (AKA the Full Metal Bitch). You want sci-fi fun that’s a knockout? Look no further. — K.P.
How to watch: Edge of Tomorrow is now streaming on Hulu.
Parasite director Bong Joon-ho made his English-language debut in 2013 with this scorching adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jean-Marc Rochette, Jacques Lob, and Benjamin Legrand. If you like your sci-fi with a slathering of sociopolitical commentary and nerve-shredding action, Snowpiercer is for you. In a distant apocalyptic future, the Earth is caked in thick, unforgiving ice, and all of mankind is confined to a train that races through it on an endless loop. But not all cars are created equal. Those in the back are living in squalor, starving, and fed up. So a motley crew of rebels (led by Captain America‘s Chris Evans) will battle their way to the front to topple this cruel class system. Along the way, they’ll encounter quirky character, unreal wonders, and much, much violence. Can you handle it? — K.P.
How to watch: Snowpiercer is now streaming on Hulu.
Alien isn’t just one of the best space movies of all time — it’s also one of the best movies of all time, full stop. Thanks to Ridley Scott’s direction and visual design led by Swiss artist H.R. Giger, this science-fiction horror film is genuinely creepy and claustrophobic, taking our intrinsic fear of dark and narrow corridors and using it to masterful effect.
In a lot of ways, Scott’s sci-fi behemoth set a template for future space movies. The sense of isolation, the rapidly diminishing crew, the fear of AI, the body horror — all of these are tropes we’ve seen cropping up again and again over the years, including in some of the other films on this list. And while many of these descendants deploy those ideas well, few have managed to make the same gory splash that Alien did. (As a side note, Aliens — the second movie in the franchise — is also very much worth a watch).* — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor
How to watch: Alien is now streaming on Hulu.
12. District 9
Credit: Tri-Star / Wingnut / Sony / Kobal / Shutterstock
In 2009, writer/director Neill Blomkamp broke through with his feature debut by bringing an extraterrestrial premise to Earth in his hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. Rather than invasion-focused horror, Blomkamp empathized with the resident aliens, who are ghettoized and terrorized by humans/government agents.
In following the journey of one such agent, Blomkamp pitches audiences not only into a sci-fi adventure of bombastic action and body transformation, but also a moving parable about the evils of prejudice. District 9 gathered critical praise worldwide and launched the international career of leading man Sharlto Copley. This gritty sci-fi drama scored four Oscar nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Motion Picture of the Year.* — K.P.
How to watch: District 9 is now streaming on Hulu.
13. Deep Blue Sea
If you are seeking something scary, action-packed, and unapologetically absurd, you’ll love Deep Blue Sea. This 1999 creature feature is set on a floating research facility where scientists are tirelessly working on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease using mako sharks. Unfortunately, their research has only resulted in making these sharks way smarter and more ferocious than normal. So, between a relentless storm and a shiver of sharks hellbent on taking down their human captors, this crew is having a really terrible day at the office. So-bad-but-so-good in the way ’90s action movies excel, Deep Blue Sea is as peppered with outlandish kill scenes as it is flawed logic and stars. So dive in with the likes of Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, LL Cool J, and Samuel L. Jackson. Whether you came for the shark attacks or LL as the plucky comic relief, you’ll be swimming in good times. — K.P.
How to watch: Deep Blue Sea is now streaming on Hulu.
14. Europa Report
On the surface, Europa Report has all the elements of a standard space horror hybrid: There’s the voyage to find other life, a case of mysterious lights, and the rapidly escalating tension that comes from realising things are about to go horribly, horribly wrong.
But despite all that, Sebastián Cordero’s thriller doesn’t feel generic. The film’s found-footage style gives it the same sense of realism that made The Blair Witch Project so creepy, and the central mystery of the lights — coupled with a crew that keeps getting picked off — builds a sense of suspense that ratchets up nicely as the film progresses.
Remember, just because something looks beautiful, doesn’t mean it isn’t deadly.* — S.H.
How to watch: Europa Report is now streaming on Hulu.
15. Something in the Dirt
Co-directors/co-stars Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead play Los Angeles neighbors who are drawn together by a glimpse of the supernatural in this Sundance favorite. Something in the Dirt uses a cerebral sci-fi premise to explore the complicated bond between its heroes. Here, a frustrated loner and a happy-go-lucky drifter find unexpected community and purpose by happenstance. Naturally, they decide to make a documentary about their findings. Thus, this movie is revealed to be a mockumentary, where the crew keeps quitting, the re-enactments become increasingly (and purposefully) sketchy, and the answers to its big questions aren’t guaranteed. The result is a film that is trippy, unsettling, and sometimes sharply funny.* — K.P.
How to watch: Something in the Dirt is now streaming on Hulu.
UPDATE: Jan. 3, 2024, 2:24 p.m. EST This article was updated with the current streaming options.