5 Science-Fiction Films You Probably Haven't Seen (But Should) / by Keith LaFountaine

Science-fiction is one of my favorite genres. Amidst the aliens, the space travel, and temporal fluidity, and the eerie sense of displacement there is a lot of really good storytelling that happens within the confines of this genre. Aside from horror, science-fiction is the only genre where you can literally do anything, tell any story, and use any type of film language you need.

Unfortunately, a lot of really good science-fiction films get left by the wayside, unable to compete financially with the likes of the Marvel franchise and other more established, well-known filmmakers. Because of this, I wanted to create a list of five science-fiction films you (probably) haven’t seen, but should.


5. Timecrimes (2007, dir. Nacho Vigalondo)

written by NACHO VIGALONDO

R | 92 MIN | SPAIN

Available to rent on Amazon Prime

Timecrimes.jpg

If you are looking for an inventive, refined, and engrossing time travel movie, you can’t do much better than Timecrimes. It follows a man who accidentally gets sent back an hour in time. He begins to run into former versions of himself; as you can imagine, insanity ensues.

What makes this film so impressive is its gorgeous cinematography, its taut writing, and its impressive main performances. While there are moments of levity interspersed throughout its 90-minute runtime, this is a dark film that never shies away from pushing its premise to the absolute limits.

Timecrimes is a Spanish film, and as such all dialogue is in Spanish (with English subtitles). Still, even if you are not used to reading subtitles while watching a movie, the plot is easy to understand and fun to watch.


4. Triangle (2009, dir. Christopher Smith)

written by CHRISTOPHER SMITH

R | 99 MIN | UNITED KINGDOM

Available for free on Amazon Prime

Triangle 2.jpg

Triangle took me by surprise when I first saw it. As is the case with the other films on this list, I was scrolling through one of the many streaming services I subscribe to (in Triangle’s case, Amazon Prime) and read the logline: “A group of friends suffer a yachting accident and take refuge on a cruise drifting on the open sea, but quickly realize they were better off on the upturned yacht.” Not only was I immediately intrigued, I had enjoyed another film Christopher Smith had directed (Black Death).

If you are someone who likes time loops, horror, and really breathtaking editing, you will adore Triangle. The story takes some serious twists and turns along the way, but you never feel lost; rather, the script is so refined that it’s easy to follow the action and the plot as you uncover its mysteries.

Its low-budget shows in spots (especially the opening, when our protagonists are on the sailboat in the middle of the ocean), but it makes up for its financial issues with very impressive execution and engrossing action.


3. Snowpiercer (2013, dir. Joon-ho Bong)

written by JOON-HO BONG & KELLY MASTERSON

R | 126 MIN | UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Available to rent on Amazon Prime

Snowpiercer.jpg

Snowpiercer is probably the most well-known film on this list. With its all star cast (including Chris Evans, John hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris) and its stylish action, this film is already intriguing without having to know much about it. What makes Snowpiercer so impressive, though, is it manages to take some really old, worn-out themes and make them seem fresh.

Snowpiercer is about a train in a post-apocalyptic world. A failed climate change experiment has caused world temperatures to plummet. Only the crew of the train, Snowpiercer, are left alive. Inside, a class system has emerged, where the rich passengers live in luxury and the poor ones live in the back of the train. Chris Evans plays Curtis, a leader in the back of the train who builds a resistance that fights to take the train from the rich passengers.

The action is grisly and stylish; the cinematography is beautiful; the sound design is top-notch; the performances are incredible. This is just a very fun film that also discusses weighty themes (classism being the main one). If you want something you can enjoy, while also making you think, Snowpiercer is an excellent option to consider.


2. Time Lapse (2014, dir. Bradley King)

written by BRADLEY KING & BP COOPER

NR | 104 MIN | UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Available for free on Amazon Prime

Time Lapse has a really, really cool premise. It’s about three friends who find a camera that takes pictures of what will happen 24 hours in the future. What follows is an exploration of greed, distrust, and betrayal. This is a very low-budget film and the majority of it takes place in the living room of a house. However, the elevated premise of this film, and the surprising performances all help make this entertaining, gripping, and surprising.

If you are looking for a film that is different, unique, yet very accessible then you will love Time Lapse and everything it has to offer.


1. Coherence (2013, dir. James Ward Byrkit)

written by JAMES WARD BYRKIT

NR | 89 MIN | UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Available for free on Amazon Prime

Coherence.jpg

Coherence is one of the most rewarding and surprising micro-budget science-fiction films you will ever seen. Following a group of friends, who have gotten together for a dinner party, a meteor passing overhead wreaks havoc on this small friend group as the barriers between dimensions seem to dissipate. What follows is a story of doubles, parallels, and betrayal.

Shot documentary-style, with handheld camerawork and improvised dialogue, Coherence also has a profound sense of realism that few others can match. The majority of it takes place in a dining room, as these friends attempt to uncover clues and discover what is going on. The ending is a gut-punch and a compelling twist that will leave you on the edge of your seat.