Hulu’s movie library is always home to some real gems, and that’s as true for fans of science fiction as it is for anyone else.
Whether you’re looking for alien invaders from outer space, journeys through time, or any of the many other foundations for great sci-fi stories, chances are good that Hulu’s got you covered with something that’s historically great. But sorting through the library can be a pain, especially with the service’s penchant for bloating search results with content that you’d need an add-on subscription to watch.
Well not to worry. We’re here to help. We’ve thumbed through what’s there and filtered out all the upsell results, and then we went back in again to pick out the best of the best from what was left. These are the best sci-fi movies on Hulu that are currently available.
1. 28 Days Later (2002)
Ah, the fast zombies movie. There’s a lot that stands out about 28 Days Later, from it being the sweetest fruit of a collaboration between director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland to the credit it’s gotten for reviving the zombie genre of horror movies (Robert Kirkman’s comic The Walking Dead arrived a year later). But the thing that most people remember about 28 Days Later is a new, fast-moving breed of zombie that’s inherently more terrifying and also rooted in the deeply unsettling fiction — especially in 2021! — of a global pandemic setting off a different kind of zombie apocalypse. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter and Weekend Editor
How to watch: 28 Days Later is now streaming on Hulu.
2. The Host (2006)
Parasite‘s Song Kang-ho plays Park Gang-du, viewed as a lost cause by his family, even young daughter Hyun-seo. When toxic waste from a lab up the Han River creates a twisted monster that starts attacking humans, it takes Hyun-seo. The family is broken — director Bong’s eclectic humors rears its head in scenes like when the Parks weep for Hyun-seo — and entirely dubious of trusting Gang-du to rescue his daughter.
Bong Joon-Ho’s 2006 creature feature was only his third full-length production as director, and went on to be the highest-grossing South Korean movie at that point in time. As the creature affects everyone from gangsters to government and the Park family in particular, it’s highly reminiscent of Bong’s Okja, made 11 years later with five times the budget. For fans of Bong’s storytelling and sensibility, it’s unmissable. –Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: The Host is now streaming on Hulu.
3. The Core (2003)
The word “best” can be defined in many ways. It’s not like The Core won a ton of awards when it came out. But the bonkers premise that sends a team of scientists off to tunnel into the center of the Earth so they can set off some nuclear bombs to save us all (for real, that’s the movie) is at the very least worthy of all the awards, and easily qualifies this movie as a “best of” for off-the-wall concepts. This schlocky sci-fi flick from the early 2000s era of disaster movies is always a fun ride, and it features a great cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, and Stanley Tucci. — A.R.
How to watch: The Core is now streaming on Hulu.
Something isn’t quite right in the Oakland, Calif. landscape that Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) calls home. The oddity of his surroundings isn’t immediately apparent, but it moves more and more to the forefront as Cassius lands a job as a shady telemarketer and discovers his “white voice,” a powerful sales tool that propels him to the highest reaches of money and power in the corporate world. Fundamentally a dystopian comedy about power structures and race in modern society, this debut movie feature from writer/director Boots Riley is difficult to describe without delving into major spoilers but a must-watch all the same. — A.R.
How to watch: Sorry to Bother You is now streaming on Hulu.
5. Melancholia (2011)
In this haunting exploration of hopelessness, Kirsten Dunst plays a reluctant bride facing the end of the Earth. A compelling blend of apocalyptic stakes and deep, precise understanding of grief make Melancholia an all-time great perspective on what it means to confront nothingness. It’s certainly the most cynical title on this (or really any) list, but offers a nihilistic catharsis for audiences who seek that sort of thing. Come for the promise of some truly stunning visuals, stay for the unique atmosphere you can really only get here. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: Melancholia is now streaming on Hulu.
Take a dive into the beautiful world of The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s lovingly crafted tale that blends genres and encourages empathy towards those society has othered. Sally Hawkins stars as Eliza, a mute woman who works as a cleaner at a secret government facility. She develops a connection with the Amphibian Man (Doug Jones) being kept in the facility and works to free him from his unhinged captor, played by a truly terrifying Michael Shannon. Part Creature from the Black Lagoon, part Beauty and the Beast, The Shape of Water will tug at your heartstrings as you root for its unlikely protagonists. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Fellow
How to watch: The Shape of Water is now streaming on Hulu.
7. Virtuosity (1995)
Virtuosity was a box office bomb in 1995, but it’s been 25 years and it’s hard not to look back on Hollywood’s near-future sci-fi weirdness of the ’90s fondly (anyone remember The Net?). Denzel Washington stars as an ex-cop who’s doing time for killing the murderer who killed his family when he’s brought in to test out a VR simulation featuring a virtual killer (Russell Crowe) whose identity was modeled after history’s most violent killers. It seems like a terrible idea, and that fact is confirmed when the VR serial killer escapes into the real world (yup). Only Denzel can stop him, naturally. Forget the box office and the negative reviews, Virtuosity rips. — A.R.
How to watch: Virtuosity is now streaming on Hulu.
8. Akira (1988)
Plenty of people have heard of Akira, or have at the very least seen enough of the sci-fi anime classic’s iconic motorcycle to have an association with that title. But have you ever sit down and watched it? It’s time to correct that if not. Akira isn’t just one of the best anime stories ever told, it’s also a shoe-in for virtually any “greatest sci-fi of all time” round-up that gets put together. The story, adapted from the manga created by Katsuhiro Otomo (who also directed), follows Shotaro Kaneda, leader of the Capsules biker gang, as he fights to save his telekinetic friend Tetsuo Shima from forces that want to exploit those abilities. The plot eventually spins outward into a much bigger cyberpunk-fueled story set against the backdrop of a dystopian “Neo-Tokyo” in 2019. — A.R.
9. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
It should be noted up front that Hulu’s Star Trek library is incomplete, so classics like The Voyage Home (a personal favorite) and First Contact aren’t there. But the sixth Star Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country, is the last to feature the full original series cast and it’s pretty dang entertaining. The movie opens with James Kirk (William Shatner) and Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) framed for the murder of a Klingon diplomat and sent to a brutal prison planet while Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is left to figure out a next move. Also featuring stars Christopher Plummer and Kim Cattrall(!!!) in pivotal roles, The Undiscovered Country automatically ranks high on any list of quality Star Trek adventures. — A.R.
10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
It’s a basic tenet of the science fiction genre that cutting-edge science contains the potential for fantastic innovation…and also for spectacular destruction. In Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, a plucky inventor named Flint (voiced by Bill Hader) learns that lesson the hard way.
Flint creates a device that makes food literally rain from the skies, to the initial delight of his small town. Unfortunately, he discovers before long that these meals come with a hefty side of unintended consequences, and must figure out a way to stop his own creation from destroying the world.
Combining silly jokes, slick animation, and a sweet message, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a tasty dish for all ages. — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor
How to watch: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is now streaming on Hulu.
11. Fast Color (2019)
Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in Fast Color as Ruth, a young woman whose unexplained superpowers leave her on the run and hiding out with her mom (Lorraine Toussaint) and estranged daughter (Saniyya Sidney) — both of whom also possess powers of their own. Unlike many of the other movies about superhumans to come along in recent years, Fast Color is primarily a character piece focusing on Ruth as she comes to terms both with what she can do and her relationship with her family.
How to watch: Fast Color is now streaming on Hulu.
12. Bumblebee (2018)
Just when I thought I was out, Transformers pulled me back in. Directed by Travis Knight, Bumblebee was originally marketed as a prequel-turned-potential spin off centered on the Autobot of the same name, with Dylan O’Brien voicing the character for the first time. But the film’s runaway success — well, critics loved it; the box office was only OK — made creators eventually classify it as a full-blown . It’s the best thing to come out of the Transformers universe in a long time, and makes the promise of its sequel huge. — A.F.
How to watch: Bumblebee is now streaming on Hulu.
13. Dredd (2012)
Set in a dystopian wasteland, Dredd follows a dour law enforcement “judge” as he goes up against the most fearsome crime boss on the East Coast in a monstrous concrete block tower. What spins out of that premise is a hard-R action thriller that revels in bloody violence with serious style and a sly sense of humor, anchored by tough-as-nails performances from Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, and Lena Headey. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (the more troubling implications of this future, for instance, go largely unexplored). But those looking for straightforward bone-crunching thrills to ooh and ahh over will find plenty to satisfy them.
How to watch: Dredd is now streaming on Hulu.