2020 was probably not the best year for filmmakers, nor for the audience for that matter. There were empty theaters for the better part of the year, many unfinished and delayed movies, but some of them did make it through and allowed us to create this list that features the best sci-fi movies of 2020. These films mainly include core elements of science fiction but can cross into other genres like fantasy, horror, thriller, etc. Some of them were finished in 2019, but the actual release in the theaters was made this year, so that’s not cheating!
20. Monster Hunter
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I.
When Lt. Artemis and her loyal soldiers are transported to a new world, they engage in a desperate battle for survival against enormous enemies with incredible powers. Feature film based on the video game by Capcom.
Director: Dave Wilson (as David S.F. Wilson)
Stars: Vin Diesel, Eiza González, Sam Heughan
Ray Garrison, an elite soldier who was killed in battle, is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives him the ability of super human strength and fast healing. With his new abilities, he goes after the man who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife. He soon comes to learn that not everything he learns can be trusted. The true question is: Can he even trust himself?
18. Sea Fever
Director: Neasa Hardiman
Stars: Hermione Corfield, Dag Malmberg, Jack Hickey
The crew of a West of Ireland trawler, marooned at sea, struggle for their lives against a growing parasite in their water supply.
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Stars: Imogen Poots, Danielle Ryan, Molly McCann
A young couple is thinking about buying their starter home. And to this end, they visit a real estate agency where they are received by a strange sales agent, who accompanies them to a new, mysterious, peculiar housing development to show them a single-family home. There they get trapped in a surreal, maze-like nightmare.
16. Project Power
Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Stars: Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominique Fishback
On the streets of New Orleans, word begins to spread about a mysterious new pill that unlocks superpowers unique to each user. The catch: You don’t know what will happen until you take it. While some develop bulletproof skin, invisibility, and super strength, others exhibit a deadlier reaction. But when the pill escalates crime within the city to dangerous levels, a local cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) teams with a teenage dealer (Dominique Fishback) and a former soldier fueled by a secret vendetta (Jamie Foxx) to fight power with power and risk taking the pill in order to track down and stop the group responsible for creating it.
15. Color Out of Space
Director: Richard Stanley
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur
A story of cosmic terror about The Gardners, a family who moves to a remote farmstead in rural New England to escape the hustle of the 21st century. They are busy adapting to their new life when a meteorite crashes into their front yard. The mysterious aerolite seems to melt into the earth, infecting both the land and the properties of space-time with a strange, otherworldly color. To their horror, the Gardner family discovers that this alien force is gradually mutating every life form that it touches…including them.
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Stars: Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd
A family fights for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin), and young son Nathan make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary. Amid terrifying news accounts of cities around the world being leveled by the comet’s fragments, the Garritys experience the best and worst in humanity while they battle the increasing panic and lawlessness surrounding them. As the countdown to global apocalypse approaches zero, their incredible trek culminates in a desperate and last-minute flight to a possible safe haven.
13. Time to Hunt
Director: Sung-hyun Yoon
Stars: Lee Jehoon, Jae-hong Ahn, Woo-sik Choi
In the near future, a financial crisis will hit Korea and slums arise. From those areas, a group of young people commit crime to survive.
Director: Gavin Rothery
Stars: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra
2038: George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI. His latest prototype is almost ready. This sensitive phase is also the riskiest. Especially as he has a goal that must be hidden at all costs: being reunited with his dead wife.
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Stars: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Tasya Vos is a corporate agent who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies, driving them to commit assassinations for the benefit of the company. While she has a special gift for the work, her experiences on these jobs have caused a dramatic change in her, and in her own life, she struggles to suppress violent memories and urges. As her mental strain intensifies, she begins to lose control, and soon she finds herself trapped in the mind of a man whose identity threatens to obliterate her own.
Director: Egor Abramenko
Stars: Oksana Akinshina, Fedor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov
At the height of the Cold War, a Soviet spacecraft crash lands after a mission gone awry, leaving the commander as its only survivor. After a renowned Russian psychologist is brought in to evaluate the commander’s mental state, it becomes clear that something dangerous may have come back to Earth with him.
9. The Old Guard
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Stars: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
Led by a warrior named Andy (Charlize Theron), a covert group of tight-knit mercenaries with a mysterious inability to die have fought to protect the mortal world for centuries. But when the team is recruited to take on an emergency mission and their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile (Kiki Layne), the newest soldier to join their ranks, to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary.
Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead
Stars: Jamie Dornan, Anthony Mackie, Katie Aselton
Two New Orleans paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.
7. The Vast of Night
Director: Andrew Patterson
Stars: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer
One night in New Mexico, in the late 1950s, a switchboard operator and radio DJ discover a strange audio frequency that could change the future forever.
Director: Liam O’Donnell
Stars: Lindsey Morgan, Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo
When a virus threatens to turn the now earth-dwelling friendly alien hybrids against humans, Captain Rose Corley must lead a team of elite mercenaries on a mission to the alien world in order to save what’s left of humanity.
5. The Platform
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia
Stars: Ivan Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan
A mysterious place, an indescribable prison, a deep hole. An unknown number of levels. Two inmates living on each level. A descending platform containing food for all of them. An inhuman fight for survival, but also an opportunity for solidarity
4. The Invisible Man
Director: Leigh Whannell
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer
When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
3. Palm Springs
Director: Max Barbakow
Stars: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, J.K. Simmons
While stuck at a wedding in Palm Springs, Nyles (Andy Samberg) meets Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the maid of honor and family black sheep. After he rescues her from a disastrous toast, Sarah becomes drawn to Nyles and his offbeat nihilism. But when their impromptu tryst is thwarted by a surreal interruption, Sarah must join Nyles in embracing the idea that nothing really matters, and they begin wreaking spirited havoc on the wedding celebration.
Directors: Juliano Dornelles, Kleber Mendonça Filho
Stars: Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira
Bacurau, a small settlement in Brazil’s remote backcountry, is shaken by the death of its elderly matriarch. But something strange is happening in the village, and there’s little time for mourning. The water supply has been cut off, animals are stampeding through the streets, and empty coffins are turning up on the roadside. One morning, the villagers wake up to find their home has disappeared from satellite maps completely. Under threat from an unknown enemy, Bacurau braces itself for a bloody, brutal fight for survival.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Stars: John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki
In a twilight world of international espionage, an unnamed CIA operative, known as The Protagonist, is recruited by a mysterious organization called Tenet to participate in a global assignment that unfolds beyond real-time. The mission: prevent Andrei Sator, a renegade Russian oligarch with precognition abilities, from starting World War III. The Protagonist will soon master the art of “time inversion” as a way of countering the threat that is to come.