14 Hidden Gem Sci-Fi Movies

These lesser-known science fiction films offer unique and captivating storytelling, taking you on mind-bending journeys through unexplored realms of the genre.

Cube (1997)
Despite its dated special effects and unlikeable characters, Cube has now gained quite the cult following. It follows the story of six complete strangers with widely varying personalities who are involuntarily placed in an endless maze containing deadly traps.

Source Code (2011)
Source code received excellent reviews when it was released, but is still forgotten about when listing great sci-fi films. It follows a soldier who wakes up in someone else’s body and discovers he’s part of an experimental government program to find the bomber of a commuter train within 8 minutes.

Timecrimes (2007)
This Spanish sci-fi thriller skillfully adds a hilarity that most time travel movies don’t have. A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time only to find himself one hour ago and starts a series of dangerous, hilariously complex time loops.

The Vast of Night (2019)
Set in New Mexico during the 1950s, The Vast of Night is centered around a switchboard operator and a radio DJ who come across a strange audio frequency. They soon understand that it’s not just any anomaly, but one that could be coming from extraterrestrial life forms. This unassuming low-budget sci-fi movie deserves much more attention than it received.

Prospect (2018)
A teenage girl and her father are traveling to an alien moon with a contract to mine gems in the moon’s poisonous forest in this criminally overlooked sci-fi movie by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell

Dark City (1998)
Dark City is often compared to The Matrix which came out only a year later and even used some of the same sets. However, only one is often remembered. Like The Matrix, it is a neo-noir sci-fi film. It features a man who struggles with memories of his past, which include a wife he cannot remember and a nightmarish world no one else ever seems to wake up from.

Event Horizon (1997)
The film was originally slammed by critics and audiences who detested its gore, but is now receiving more recognition for its innovative contribution to the genre. It follows a rescue crew investigating a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned ;with someone or something new on-board.

High Life (2018)
The story of a group of criminals sent into outer space and towards a black hole. Along the way, they serve as expendable lab rats to glean information about the celestial body. High Life is undoubtedly one of the most underrated space movies out there.

Strange Days (1995)
Strange Days flopped at the box office, partly because of its brutality. It features a former LAPD officer who sells illegal recordings of memories on the black market. When he uncovers a conspiracy in one of the recordings involving the murder of prominent rapper Jeriko One, he sets out to reveal the truth.

The Fountain (2006)
A man travels through time on a quest for immortality and to save the woman he loves. As a 16th-century conquistador, he searches for the legendary Fountain of Youth. As a present-day scientist, he desperately struggles to cure the cancer that is killing his wife. And finally, as a 26th-century astronaut in deep space, he begins to grasp the mysteries of life, love and death. At the time, The Fountain was considered “pretencious” and “confusing,” but now after popular movies like Interstellar and Arrival, audiences are used to interwoven stories and profound questions.

The Abyss (1989)
One of James Cameron’s lesser known films,The Abyss follows a civilian diving team who is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and faces danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.

Annihilation (2018)
Annihilation was never going to be a mainstream success, with test audiences calling it “a fever dream” and “too intellectual.” However, it’s an astonishing movie
about a biologist that signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone called “The Shimmer” where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Treasure Planet (2002)
Based on the 1883 novel Treasure Island about a rebellious teen who receives a map from a dying pirate and embarks on an odyssey across the universe to find the legendary Treasure Planet. The mixture of classic 2D animation and CGI came off as outdated to audiences in 2002, but 20 years later, the inventiveness of the movie is clear.

Existenz (1999)
David Cronenberg has firected many divise movies and Existenz is no different. This futuristic sci-fi horror movie is set in a world where the titular virtual reality game has taken over. The game’s talented but flawed creator has to cope with ruthless assassins while navigating an increasingly thin divide between real life and the virtual world she created.

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