10 Great Recent Sci-fi Films You’ve Probably Never Seen

6. Jonathan


Jonathan earns points for its premise alone. People argue that big studios are out of ideas, but you can’t say the same thing about the little guys. For those unaware, it’s a movie about two siblings who share the same body. One sibling takes the first twelves hours of the day while the second sibling takes the last twelve hours of the day. The two have very different personalities, which makes the whole “sharing the same body” situation a bit of a struggle.

The basic setup is interesting by itself, but there are a lot of layers found within this movie. Apparently, the siblings have a set of rules between each other. If one person breaks a rule, it jeopardizes their well-being. Well, since this is a movie, one of the siblings has to break a rule. This of course sets up the big conflict.

It’s all really creative stuff, and it’s made better thanks to a game performance from Ansel Elgort. It really feels like he’s playing two different people, even if they share the same body. This performance enhances an already great movie.

It’s still a great movie in spite of its flaws. There are bound to be plot holes in a movie like this, but they seem so unimportant in the long run. This is such an engaging movie that it’s hard to really knock it. The issues could be staring you in the face, but they’re hardly worth caring about when everything else is this impressive.


7. Prodigy


People love movies about badass children. If you need proof, look at the reactions to Kick Ass, Hanna, The Professional, and Hard Candy. There’s something magical about watching children who are capable of destroying full-grown men. Of course, not every movie with this set-up goes on to be a major hit. Some movies, like Prodigy, fall under the radar almost immediately.

Its lack of popularity doesn’t necessarily correlate to its quality. Prodigy’s sharp script and dedicated cast help it overcome a simplistic and generic central premise. The titular prodigy isn’t as fascinating as El from Stranger Things, but El had plenty of time to develop over the course of several episodes.The similarly named Ellie only has 80 minutes to show her stuff, and she does a good job.

Basically, the entire story is about a psychologist who chooses to work with a gifted young girl who has telekinetic abilities. The movie is largely dialogue based due to the fact that it mostly takes place inside one room. This means that it’s important to include interesting dialogue that can take the place of the action. The good news is that the script is generally pretty clever, and both Savannah Liles and Richard Neil clearly know how to act.

Prodigy isn’t as ambitious as a lot of the movies on this list, but it’s definitely well-made. It’s clear that the directors clearly knew what they were doing. They had a handle on material that could have fallen apart in the wrong hands. That alone is worthy of praise.


8. Realive

So many sci-fi movies get compared to Black Mirror episodes that it almost seems like we should just come up with a subgenre. Realive is a movie that would fit snugly into that subgenre. Like Black Mirror, it concerns itself with the repercussions associated with science and technology. How can things that sound so good end up hurting people so badly? That’s the central question.

Viewers are made to think about this question as the tech-heavy storyline unfolds. The story revolves around a man who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, decides to freeze his body. In theory, this means that he will wake up in the future disease-free. Of course, we know it’s not that simple.

Following his “revival,” the protagonist begins to question both his mortality and his happiness in this new state of being. That’s the crux of the film’s conflict. How is our protagonist supposed to function in a completely new environment, and how is he supposed to find happiness following this reawakening? The themes and motifs are so fascinating that certain flaws are easily forgivable.

If there’s one major flaw, it’s the ever-present narration which fails to let the story tell itself. Most viewers are smart enough to figure out what’s going on, but that doesn’t stop Tom Hughes from rambling on in the background. This is hardly a deal-breaker, but it is a bit odd to watch a movie that relies so much on a voiceover.

On the bright side, there’s enough here to make that issue excusable. Realive is an intelligent movie that does its premise justice. It challenges the audience in ways that a lot of major blockbusters can’t. It asks big questions and allows the audience to come up with big answers. It may be a low-budget production, but it has a leg up on the big-budget competition.


9. Crumbs


Ethiopia’s one and only post-apocalyptic movie is most concerned with looking at the randomness of humanity, which is fitting considering just how random the whole thing is. Crumbs is arthouse to the max. Although the story is deceptively simple, the movie itself is anything but. It’s an amalgamation of bizarre ideas combined into a charming but divisive final product.

The central story revolves around a man who wishes to board a spacecraft in order to leave this dilapidated version of Earth. Even though there’s no proof, he is under the impression that he’s an alien who doesn’t belong on his planet. Along the way, he comes across interesting characters including a witch, a warrior, and Santa Claus. His adventure through this offbeat post-apocalyptic society helps us understand how people may function when they’re far removed from what we may consider a traditional way of living.

The people in this version of Earth know nothing about how society worked prior to the pre-apocalyptic state. As a result, the way they run their society is jarring. Pop culture memorabilia is used as currency, witchcraft is common, and Santa Claus is said to serve a different purpose. This all seems strange to the viewer, but it serves to show us that life isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

This little lesson, along with a quirky sense of humor, makes Crumbs worth watching. Its unabashed weirdness will drive certain people away, but there’s definitely a crowd for a movie like this. Whether or not you are a part of that crowd largely has to do with your tolerance for arthouse cinema.


10. Sleight

Anyone looking for hard sci-fi should skip over Sleight; it’s not that type of movie. It’s more of a drama with science fiction undertones. In a lot of ways, it’s comparable to 2012’s Chronicle in that it’s about a teenager with something akin to superpowers. Also like Chronicle, it shows no interest in being an average superhero movie. Rather, it takes a much darker approach by giving us a flawed “hero” with plenty of skeletons in his closet.

The flawed hero in question is named Bo. Bo is a street magician who turns to crime so he can take care of his little sister. It’s obvious he has good intentions, but we’ve seen enough movies to know that his criminal lifestyle isn’t going to work out for him like he believes. Once he gets in over his head, his sister is kidnapped, which forces him to use magic to get her back.

It’s an exciting movie with high stakes and sympathetic characters. More importantly, it makes magic look cool. There are layers of predictability that come with this kind of story. However, Sleight does plenty to keep things interesting, so it’s worth the price of admission.