Sometimes great science-fiction movies pass you by, especially when they’re not backed by major studios or see wide releases. So it’s great that streaming services can give them a second chance. If you feel like taking in some good sci-fi from the comfort of your own home, then have a look at these five hidden gems available on Netflix.
It’s easy to compare Coherence to Primer. Both are noticeably low-budget films and have plots that are best understood when mapped out on a large whiteboard. But where Primer focuses on brilliant engineers who intentionally set their story in motion, Coherence features an eclectic cast of laypeople who become victim to strange events after a comet passes over their dinner party. Throughout an increasingly bizarre night, the group of friends deal with a growing number of alternate realities. They are eventually threatened from within by their own secrets and clashing personalities.
Coherence is the directorial debut of James Ward Byrkit, who previously wrote the Oscar-winning Rango. Byrkit won several awards for his screenplay.
Coherence is available on Netflix in Canada and on Hulu in the US. Audiences in the UK and Australia can find it on Google Play or the Apple Store.
Robbie Amell stars in this time-loop thriller as a technician who keeps reliving a home invasion by armed thieves. Any more detail than that would spoil the intricately-layered and twist-laden plot. ARQ uses its premise to craft both a tense thriller and an emotional character piece, but it never breaks the rules it sets for itself and builds to a hauntingly effective ending. If you were annoyed by the ending of Edge of Tomorrow, ARQ will probably satisfy you.
A Netflix original, ARQ also stars Jessica Jones‘ Rachael Taylor. It was directed by Tony Elliott, whose TV credits include episodes of Orphan Black.
Fans of Orphan Black would probably enjoy What Happened to Monday? (released in some countries as Seven Sisters). The film stars Noomi Rapace as a set of septuplets in a dystopian world with a strict one-child policy. To live their lives, each sister takes the name of a day of the week, with their name doubling as the day on which they can leave their apartment. But when Monday disappears, her sisters try to find her without exposing their secret.
What Happened to Monday? was directed by Tommy Wirkola, who helmed Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. In addition to Rapace, the film also features Willem Dafoe as the sisters’ grandfather and Glenn Close as a politician looking to expose them.
If Blade Runner was about time travel instead of hunting robots, it would probably look a lot like Synchronicity. Like Ridley Scott’s masterpiece, Synchronicity‘s primary focus is on using visuals, mood, music, and pacing to create an atmospheric character piece. The plot concerns a scientist’s experiment with wormholes and the femme fatale who disrupts his plans. The story, however, is far less important than the viewing experience and the feelings it evokes. It doesn’t quite reach the heights it’s striving for, but it’s a well-executed bit of sci-fi noir.
Synchronicity was written and directed by Jacob Gentry, who previously co-directed the experimental horror film The Signal. It also features Michael Ironside as the ruthless venture capitalist funding the time-travel experiment.
The trailer for Anon actually does the film a bit of a disservice, presenting it as a more action-heavy romp than it truly is. Instead, Anon is a slow-burning thriller. Clive Owen plays Sal, a detective in a world without privacy. After a string of impossible murders, Sal begins tracking a woman (Amanda Seyfried) with the ability to evade the technology that intrudes into everyone’s life. It’s a nifty and tense game of futuristic cat and mouse that leads the characters to question everything around them.
So if you’re desperate for some stimulating, off-the-beaten-track sci-fi, give one of these films a try. None of these movies have gotten the audience they deserve, but they’re definitely worth your time.
Connor Ahluwalia is a FANDOM Contributor at FANDOM. He is a lifelong Trekkie and a devoted fan of the Arrowverse. Connor is always looking for good sci-fi, fantasy, or political drama (or all three).