When executed well, few genres can produce movies quite as riveting as science fiction. These sci-fi films often envision a spectacular (or terrifying) future that simultaneously comments on the world’s present and very real state. They reflect the wider society’s fears, struggles, and hopes; while some films feel very much of their era, others have proven to be timeless sources of entertainment and discussion.


Streaming platforms such as Hulu make it simpler for fans of the genre to rewatch old favorites or discover new masterpieces. As the service’s library has quite a selection, it can help to know which are the best sci-fi moves on Hulu, especially for non-subscribers who are contemplating whether to take the plunge.

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Predator (1987)

Predator-1987

Director John McTiernan
Rotten Tomatoes Score 80%
Hulu Link Predator

An all-time great sci-fi movie, Predator has a charismatic cast of ’80s action stars, an iconic villain that has stood the test of time, and quotes for days. The premise is simple: a squad of humankind’s finest are dropped into a rainforest that happens to be home to an alien hunter. Suddenly, the burly heroes find themselves as prey to a stronger, faster, and better-equipped predator. The humans need more than muscles and guns to survive this trip to hell.

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An action film with a sprinkle of horror, Predator is intense, endlessly rewatchable, and somehow timeless despite epitomizing the ’80s in many ways. Hulu also has Predator 2, Predators, and the Alien vs Predator movies, none of which come close to capturing the magic of the 1987 original; that said, the former two are fun enough.

Prey (2022)

The Predator stands in a misty jungle in Prey

Director Dan Trachtenberg
Rotten Tomatoes Score 93%
Hulu Link Prey

After decades of lackluster sequels, Predator finally produced an entry that lives up to the ’80s classic. A prequel set during the 18th century, Prey follows a Comanche woman, Naru, who yearns to become a hunter, a role typically left for the tribe’s men. When an alien menace arrives on Earth and wipes out most of her village, Naru heads to the jungle to take on a threat that is far beyond anything she could ever imagine.

Prey succeeds in feeling like a fresh take on an established property, something that is easier said than done when it comes to licenses that have been around for decades. The setting and time period are well-realized, and Naru is a likable and capable protagonist. As far as the iconic alien hunter is concerned, this movie’s Predator is as intimidating as anything else the franchise has produced.

Children Of Men (2006)

Theo Faron Sitting

Director Alfonso Cuarón
Rotten Tomatoes Score 92%
Hulu Link Children of Men

Dystopian futures are a common trope in sci-fi, but what allows Children of Men to stand out is the familiarity of its world. Rather than being set in an almost alien society with culturally relevant subtext, this story presents an alternate Earth that is barely removed from the real one, albeit with one major change: humanity has become infertile. This condition has placed a timer on humanity’s existence, and people are starting to get desperate.

Children of Men works as an intense thriller, a fun action movie, and a study on hope. Alfonso Cuarón has directed some fantastic films over the years, and as great as Rome and Gravity are, Children of Men is arguably still his crowning achievement.

Crimes Of The Future (2022)

Crimes Of The Future David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg is a master of horror, and the director has been known to dapple in sci-fi as well. Cronenberg’s The Fly and Videodrome are the perfect marriage of both genres, and while Crimes of the Future does not quite reach those lofty heights, the 2022 film is nevertheless an impressive project. Set in a future not too far removed from the present day, the movie envisions a world defined by decay and desperation, the latter represented through humanity’s grotesque attempts to distract themselves from reality.

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Crimes of the Future highlights Cronenberg’s appreciation for body horror, to the point that this alternate future treats such acts as entertainment. Compared to some other sci-fi movies on Hulu, this film is relatively lethargic as the script gives the capable cast plenty of room to breathe. Obviously, viewers should have a strong stomach if they plan to watch this movie.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

alita battle angel

Based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga and its two-part OVA series, Alita: Battle Angel ranks among the best live-action anime adaptations. Admittedly, that is not saying much, but Alita makes a positive account for itself even when it is compared to standard cyberpunk movies. Taking place more than 400 years in the future, Earth’s populace is divided into haves and have-nots. The former live in an airborne metropolis called Zalem, looking down over the masses as they fight for scraps in the Iron City.

One day, a scientist discovers a discarded cyborg and decides to piece her back together. Stripped of all her memories, Alita sets out into the human world in search of an identity; in the meantime, she will fight off bounty hunters, fall in love, and take part in a vicious competition. Alita: Battle Angel is an action-packed thrill ride with a lovable protagonist and great visuals.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1994 robert de niro

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein casts a wide shadow over the sci-fi genre. The novel has inspired dozens of adaptations over the years, including some all-time classics such as 1931’s Frankenstein and its sequel, 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein. Naturally, not every adaptation is regarded as a masterpiece, and 1994’s attempt tends to be among the most polarizing interpretations of Shelley’s influential book.

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Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein is ambitious but unfocused. A star-studded cast echo the project’s aspirations of greatness, and they largely provide solid performances. The film is filled to the brim with brilliant scenes, even if they do not quite gel together in a way that results in a fully satisfying whole. All the movie’s flaws aside, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has enough positives to be worthy of a recommendation.

Akira (1988)

akira kaneda bike slide

Director Katsuhiro Ohtomo
Rotten Tomatoes Score 90%
Hulu Link Akira

An iconic anime movie, Akira is a landmark release in sci-fi’s cyberpunk subgenre, particularly when it comes to film. Set in a dystopian future following a third world war, Neo-Tokyo is rife with crime, gang warfare, and public unrest. The leader of a biker gang, Shōtarō Kaneda, and his close friend, Tetsuo Shima, become involved with a secret government operation to develop powers such as telekinesis.

RELATED: Best Heroes Turned Villains In Anime, Ranked

Akira is a violent and angry film about abuse, human experimentation, and desperation. Precious few of this world’s characters are traditionally good, but most of them are products of their climates. Along with delivering a gripping storyline, Akira‘s animation is brilliant.

About Time (2013)

About Time movie

Director Richard Curtis
Rotten Tomatoes Score 70%
Hulu Link About Time

About Time is a time-travel movie that is refreshingly low-key, at least compared to some other stories that use this mechanic. The Lake men have the ability to travel back in time, something Tim uses to tweak his love life for the better. Whether going back to arrange a meet-up with the woman he likes or help his sister, Tim realizes that most changes have consequences, even if the benefits might outweigh the butterfly effect.

About Time is sweet, charming, and well-acted. Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams have great chemistry and the rest of the cast more than hold their own whenever they are called upon. Sci-fi is a great vehicle for epic tales, but the genre has produced plenty of fantastic personal stories as well.

Looper (2012)

bruBruce Willis Joseph Gordon-Levitt Looper diner

Director Rian Johnson
Rotten Tomatoes Score 93%
Hulu Link Looper

Time travel is one of the cornerstones of sci-fi, and Looper offers a fascinating twist on this concept. In this universe, crime syndicates carry out executions by sending targets back in time to an era when the police could not easily track dead bodies. Loopers are then hired to kill them. Once they reach a certain point in time, loopers are sent back in time to be eliminated by their younger versions, something Joe learns first-hand when he comes face to face with his aged alternative.

Looper‘s sci-fi is borderline fantasy, but it has enough internal consistency to make sense. More importantly, the film is simply a lot of fun, delivering great action alongside strong performances by the likes of Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2005)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie martin freeman

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a beloved name in the sci-fi sphere. Douglas Adams’ radio comedy and subsequent novels are brilliant, and the story has inspired quite a few other adaptations The 2005 movie is not the definitive version of Hitchhiker’s Guide, but it is a worthy addition to this franchise.

RELATED: Underappreciated Sci-Fi Comedies

Expertly cast and relentlessly charming, Hitchhiker’s Guide is whimsical, silly, and creative. The movie is packed with humor that caters to existing fans of the series, all the while still delivering enough material to entertain those who might not be familiar with Adams’ source material.

Possessor (2020)

Possessor movie poster

Director Brandon Cronenberg
Rotten Tomatoes Score 94%
Hulu Link Possessor

When it comes to David and Brandon Cronenberg, the apple does not fall far from the tree. The latter’s Possessor is a haunting sci-fi horror film set in a world where technology permits people to transfer their consciousness into someone else’s body. As a hired killer, Tasya spends her days literally slipping into the skins of other people so that she can carry out assassinations. As capable as she is at her profession, Tasya starts to struggle to return to her own life.

Possessor is an uncomfortable sci-fi film that is brilliantly directed and acted. The movie does not try to soften its morally ambiguous characters, nor does it hold back during its many bursts of violence.

Chronicle (2012)

chronicle 2012 main characters

Director Josh Trank
Rotten Tomatoes Score 85%
Hulu Link Chronicle

Hulu has quite a few superhero blockbusters, including Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and 2000’s X-Men. Those films could easily rank among the best sci-fi movies on Hulu, but in order to avoid including too many similar projects, Chronicle is going to be used as a representative of all of these flicks on the service.

That said, “superhero” is not the right word to describe Josh Trank’s film since there are no heroes. Three high school students pick up powers, and while their actions start out fairly innocent, things take a turn when one of the characters begins to abuse his abilities (for understandable reasons, at first). Chronicle is a character-driven piece that tries to present a realistic take on what would happen if three ordinary people suddenly gain access to godly powers. It tells a very human story.

MORE: Best Sci-Fi Movies Of 2021 (According To Rotten Tomatoes)

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