This best alien movies on Netflix post is part of my best movies to watch on Netflix series, broken up by genre to keep things spicy.
Since way back in the day, humans have lived in fear and awe of little green men. We’re so darned fascinated by them, in fact, that we’ve woven them into our most popular forms of fiction. I know. They’re utterly terrifying, what with their fondness for abduction and strange medical practices, and yet we can’t get enough of them! Countless books, music, and TV shows are dedicated to those intriguing beings from other worlds, and yet, it’s the films about aliens that truly harness what they mean to us.
From the likes of E.T., that present them as friendly pets who like dressing up in Grandma’s clothes, to the Alien trilogy, that present them as terrifying beasts to be feared lest you become lunch. But where can you get a good selection, encompassing both comedy, horror, and action? Easy. There are plenty of alien movies on Netflix, and here are the best ones currently streaming.
10. Beyond Skyline (2017)
Netflix UK and US
Let’s be honest: 2010’s Skyline wasn’t great. A straight-to-video mess that chronicles a group of survivors during an alien invasion. The potential was there, but alas, it mostly consists of people peering through blinds and talking. The sequel, however, is another kettle of fish. Wearing its B-movie brilliance on its sleeve, Beyond Skyline pushes The Purge tough guy Frank Grillo to the forefront as a father who’ll do anything it takes to rescue his son, who’s – yep, you guessed it – been abducted by aliens.
Where the first Skyline tries to channel Independence Day, Beyond makes no bones about what it is: a bloody, fraught dive into what it might be really like if we had to tussle with extraterrestrials. Strap yourself in for a gory time.
9. Cowboys and Aliens (2011)
A summer blockbuster that attempts to smash together two genres that typically don’t have any business sharing a screen? Sounds like a recipe for cinematic disaster, and I’ll admit, it’s not *always* successful, but Cowboys and Aliens works if you’re after something that tries.
This ambitious mashup casts Daniel Craig in the role of an old-school gunslinger. He’s grumpy, he’s moody, and better still, he’s a grumpy, moody amnesiac. He awakes in the strange town of Absolution to find an even stranger metal bracelet shackled to his wrist and no idea how the hell it got there. As the townsfolk aren’t particularly welcoming of newcomers – particularly Colonel Dolarhyde – it looks like it’s game over for Craig until a bunch of flying saucers descends upon the town.
2. Alien Autopsy – Fact or Fiction? (1995)
Netflix UK and US
Coming in at 17 minutes, this brief “documentary” arrived in the mid-nineties, in a cloud of utter confusion as to its authenticity. Is this really an autopsy of a little green man? Well, no, it’s not. But that doesn’t make the resultant film any less satisfying. The hoopla surrounding the two filmmakers eventually ousted the truth from them.
This supposed real-life footage of an alien being carefully autopsied is a “reconstruction.” One of the filmmakers laid claim to owning a genuine alien autopsy reel from 1992, which degraded so much that only a few frames were usable. He and his partner then dressed up a London warehouse and reshot pretty much THE WHOLE THING with a few scant frames from that original reel thrown in.
A load of bunkum? Probably. But it’s still interesting as hell to watch.
7. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017)
The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge risk for Marvel. It’s frankly mad to even consider that now. After several successes with more straight-laced characters plucked from the panels of comic history, would this gang of cosmic misfits sit right with moviegoers?
Turns out, yes, audiences love Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Drax. Their sequel is perhaps the most satisfying sequel in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, picking up shortly after the events of the previous flick to find the Guardians traveling across… well, the galaxy. They immediately become embroiled in another debacle thanks to Rocket’s slipshod business ethics, but help arrives in the shape of Kurt Russell’s Ego. Playing out like a gentle remake of the first, it’s not actually a bad thing that Vol. 2 strikes so many similar chords. I will say this though: bring a box of Kleenex.
6. Batteries Not Included (1987)
What an amusing name for a sex comedy! I hate to break it to you folks, but unless you like your raunchy romps featuring ‘80s movie staple, octogenarian Jessica Tandy and tiny, flying saucers (I mean, I know there’s an audience for everything but that is awfully niche) then you might have to let go of that concept.
Instead, imagine Cocoon. Now, keep Tandy but replace Steve Guttenberg with Hume Cronyn and throw in a bunch of helpful robot aliens and you’re somewhere in the vicinity of Batteries Not Included. This is a sweet film with a simple message that I recall watching repeatedly as a kid. I loved it because it’s about old people being saved from a hideous capitalist predicament by cute, chirping aliens. What’s not to love?
5. Men In Black (1997)
Take a brusque, seasoned veteran and pair him with a fresh, upbeat newbie and what do you get? Two essential ingredients for a buddy cop movie! Go one step farther and throw them into a sci-fi world replete with aliens, madcap gadgetry, and law enforcement and you get Mel Gibson’s arrest record. No, no. You get Men in Black, Will Smith’s other ‘90s movie about extraterrestrials bothering humanity.
For saying it’s now some twenty years old, Men in Black isn’t the dated embarrassment you might expect. The chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones’ gruff pissed-off curmudgeon and Smith’s spritely newcomer is what makes this worth a watch.
4. Robot Overlords (2014)
My first thought when I heard that Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley were starring in a movie about alien robots invading Earth, was “You’re ‘avvin a laugh, Variety!” And then I realised that both actors, whose work I respect and admire, needed yachts.
Despite my original hesitation about a relatively ambitious (robots + aliens, lest you forget) film that looks to have been made on a shoestring budget, Robot Overlords is much better than you’d expect. Relishing in its premise are the two aforementioned thesps, who share the screen with a bunch of kids who save the day when they realise they can outsmart the robots who are keeping humanity trapped inside their homes.
3. Monsters (2010)
Before he was given the keys to the kingdom with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Gareth Edwards gave us Monsters. An indie drama that just so happens to be about aliens.
What’s astonishing about the film is how much Edwards manages to do with so little. The premise begs for a Roland Emmerich-style blockbuster, a CGI-laden, story-lite, explosion-fest with one-liners galore. That’s not the film on offer here, which instead, opts for the moments between the madness to find its meaning. Scoot McNairy leads as journalist tasked with helping his boss’s daughter travel through a dangerous alien-infected zone in Mexico.
2. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Of all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both team-ups and solo outings, the Thor films have struggled to capture the delicate balance of humour and action… until now. This third flick for Chris Hemsworth’s blonde Avenger breaks the Thor mould, with a story that cracks along as Thor and Loki find themselves in a predicament wherein they must stop their sister Hela from destroying Asgard.
Thor: Ragnarok hails from What We Do In The Shadows director Taika Waititi, whose ability to craft a Marvel movie that’s both crammed with comedy gold and a plot that’s woven deep into the MCU is part of what makes his filmmaking so genius. Instead of turning into a dark, moody adventure, Waititi’s film mixes up action set pieces, one-liners aplenty, and of course, a lot of visual gags.
1. Annihilation (2018)
Trying to tackle a novel as discombobulated and deranged as Jeff Vandemeer’s Annihilation was not a problem for writer-director Alex Garland; he simply chose to adapt the book based on a vague recollection of his first time reading it. That in itself is a ballsy move, especially considering how the novel’s strange details are what makes the plot slot into place. Who needs a plot though, when you’ve got a world as flat-out barmy as this?
What kicks things off is a mystical, alien entity called The Shimmer. It’s a hazy mirage that covers an area in Florida – known as Area X in the novel – much like a dome. What The Shimmer does, that no normal dome can do, is make all living things within it betray their very biology. And that’s just for starters. The movie follows a team of scientists, led by Natalie Portman’s Lena, who are the umpteenth crew to head into The Shimmer, but what sets them apart is that they’re hoping to be the first team to return.
Sign up for the FILMJACKER newsletter
And, while you're at it, you'll receive my cheatsheet with 6 ways to see movies for FREE
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.