The 10 Best Sci-Fi Thrillers, According To Ranker

Science fiction often dominates the box office with films like Dunes and Principle receiving rave reviews and high numbers, even during the pandemic. And on TV, there’s been a similar effect with popular shows like the new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds also his acclaimed debut.

But it seems like nothing has managed to beat the more “classic” sci-fi of the 80s and 90s, at least not according to users at private soldier who still rate many of these films higher than today’s New Wave, despite their smaller budgets and lesser abilities in the CGI and special effects department; suggesting that although these are important elements of science fiction, a good story still dominates above all else.


ten Extraterrestrial


Intercepting an ominous signal from another planet, a spaceship crew finds thousands of mysterious eggs on the planet, releasing a deadly life form later on their ship. Extraterrestrial is a claustrophobic survivor’s journey, as the crew members desperately try to escape the bloodthirsty creature that seizes them one by one.

Related: 10 Characters With The Most Screen Time In Alien Movies

Introducing one of the most incredible protagonists in movie history, Extraterrestrial is a classic that reshaped the entire sci-fi thriller subgenre, blending gruesome imagery with a dramatic psychological setup.

9 Interstellar

Interstellar Cooper falls into the Tesseract

Interstellar is a typical Nolan movie, taking the sci-fi thriller genre to another level. Exploring intriguing fictional and non-fictional phenomena such as wormholes, black holes, and temporal relativity, the film blends these terms with suspense and interesting family drama that goes beyond time and space.

In the near future, the Earth is slowly dying and Joseph Cooper must leave his daughter behind and embark on an interstellar journey in search of a new habitable planet. While there are plenty of tense moments and groundbreaking sci-fi elements, Interstellar really gets to the heart of it, being a big heartbreaking film about the end of the world and humanity’s will to survive.

8 aliens

aliens takes the well-established mythology of its predecessor and expands it to a much more ambitious narrative that not only has the dark suspense mixed with the sci-fi tropes of the first film, but also plenty of action and jaw-dropping sequences that remain as iconic scenes of all time. The one featuring Ripley saving the Colonial Marines says it all.

The story takes place more than 50 years after the events of Extraterrestrial. Officer Ripley awakens from her hyper-sleep and finds herself on the very planet where she previously found the alien species, forced to once again battle the evil creatures and its greedy human commanders.

seven The matrix

Keanu Reeves as Neo in The Matrix

With incredible special effects that still hold up today and one of the best uses of the “chosen one” trope, The matrix remains one of the most innovative cinematic experiences of all time. While the trilogy (and the fourth film) did not sit well with most fans, the first film was unanimously hailed as a masterpiece.

After discovering that his world is just a simulation known as the Matrix, Neo joins an insurgent group and must face a prophecy that can dictate the fate of all of humanity. Released before the new millennium, The matrix is an interesting psychological study presented through a thrilling sci-fi thriller narrative.

6 blade runner

Harrison Ford as Deckard firing his blaster in Blade Runner

Considered by many to be the ultimate cyberpunk movie, blade runner is a timeless cult classic. Set in a dystopian LA of 2019, android hunter (aka blade runner) Rick Deckard is tasked with tracking down and eliminating four rebel replicants who are after their creator, as he is drawn into an investigation that will lead him to challenge its own existence. .

Aside from the incredible source material and complex sci-fi narrative, blade runner also features important philosophical discussions about what exactly it means to be human and how technology is gradually blurring the reality in which humanity lives.

5 Flatliners

Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland look out their car window in Flatliners

Flatliners is an underrated gem that definitely deserves more recognition. Five medical students investigate “near-death” experiences by stopping their hearts and then bringing the person back to life. While trying to stay as much as possible on the “other side”, the experience soon leads to dark consequences.

Related: The Best New Sci-Fi Movies Of The Last Years, According To Ranker

Inspiring a lifeless remake in 2017, the original Flatliners stands out for its haunting storylines filled with a slew of spooky elements, setting a gothic tone to the narrative that bounces between reality and an unsettling “beyond.” It’s as dark as it is awkward; a certified fun ride.

4 Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Sarah Connor with her gun in Terminator 2.

If there’s one thing James Cameron never fails to deliver, it’s an amazing streak. Considered by many fans to be his masterpiece, Terminator 2 expands on the lore of the first movie and introduces Arnold Schwarzenegger now as an anti-hero, sent by the resistance to protect Sarah Connor and her son from a far more deadly cyborg model.

Besides the stunning visual effects, it’s also clear that the relationship between the Terminator and little John Connor has inspired many recent popular films, such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Loganwhere two characters who seem to oppose each other weave a strong and powerful bond.

3 The Terminator

The Terminator 1984

It’s clear that sci-fi fans are crazy about James Cameron, but what’s really surprising is how fans prefer the first film over the second in this case. The reason for this is likely the oppressive and destructive force that Arnold Schwarzenegger represents in this 80s classic, as he unleashes like an army to catch Sarah Connor.

Revisiting the Terminator’s presence here makes his return to the sequence that much more rewarding, as viewers kind of want to cheer him on because of his cool appearance. On the other hand, Sarah Connor is an incredibly well developed character and fans want her to survive. In sum, the thrilling atmosphere of imminent danger created by the first Terminator has never quite been matched in the franchise. And good news, Terminator is currently available on Amazon Prime Video.

2 edge of tomorrow

Tom Cruise edge of tomorrow

edge of tomorrow Initially looks like another variant of Groundhog Day, but instead delivers one of the most original sci-fi stories of recent years. The premise is pretty simple: Major Bill Cage is demoted and sent into battle against alien creatures, reliving the same day over and over after physical contact with one. When he comes into contact with Sgt. Rita Vrataski, they quickly bond and join forces to stop the loop and save their world.

Related: The 10 Best Alien Invasion Movies Of All Time, According To Reddit

With memorable performances from Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt throughout, edge of tomorrow is a remarkable attempt to subvert a well-known trope into something original, while delivering incredible action sequences.

1 12 monkeys

Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys isn’t just one of the greatest examples of sci-fi psychological drama of all time; it also delivers one of the greatest plot twists of all time. Based on the fantastic short film The Pier, the film follows convict James Cole in 2035, sent back in time to discover the origin of a deadly virus that is wiping out humanity in the future. En route to 1990 instead of 1996, Cole is locked up in a mental hospital and must convince someone that the secret that got him there is true.

Supported by Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis leads the film in this thrilling mystery that touches on the inevitability of fate and the fact that you can never outrun time.

Next: 10 Sci-Fi Movies Where Aliens Win

A split screen of Wings of Desire and The Grudge.

10 Forgotten Movies That Are Better Than Their Most Popular Remakes

Comments are closed.