Dystopian movies have always been in modern film, with a resurgence in the early 2010s leading to newer and better takes on our world, blurred by a dystopian lens. If you enjoy these movies that explore humanity at its best – and worst – then check out our top twenty Netflix dystopian movies that you should stream.
20. IO (2019)
Travel to a post-apocalyptic world in IO, where the earth has been deemed toxic and most of humanity has abandoned their home to colonize one of Jupiter’s moons, named IO. Young scientist Sam Walden has stayed behind, to try and find a way for humans to survive on the changed earth. After sending out a transmission to see if there was anyone else around, a man named Micah arrives. He believes there is no saving the planet, and the two plan to take the final shuttle to IO in 48 hours, but they must travel far through dangerous terrain to get to their destination.
- IMDb score: 4.8
19. Mute (2018)
Taking a city and flash-forwarding it decades into the future is one of my favorite types of dystopian movies, and Netflix brings a new twist with Mute. Forty years in the future, we are transported to Berlin where a roiling city of immigrants lurks. Enter mute bartender Leo, whose only reason for being there – his girl – has disappeared. When Leo’s search for her takes him into the city’s darker regions, an odd pair of American surgeons seem to be the only recurring clue. The only problem is whether Leo can trust them or not.
- IMDb score: 5.4
18. Tides (aka The Colony) (2021)
If you enjoy movies like Interstellar, you should really check out Tides, also known as The Colony. In the film, an astronaut is shipwrecked on a long-decimated Earth during a research mission. With the rest of her crewmates either killed or too wounded, she alone must decide the fate of the wasteland’s remaining populace. This brings together the thrill of science fiction, and the idea that we really could destroy the world as we know it in the future.
- IMDb score: 5.4
17. The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Both a prequel and a sequel to the original Cloverfield science-fiction horror fans get ready to watch The Cloverfield Paradox. While orbiting the Earth, which is on the brink of catastrophic energy wars, scientists are testing a dangerous device that could provide unlimited energy, but could also create a terrifying paradox leaving them face-to-face with a dark alternate reality.
- IMDb score: 5.5
16. Spiderhead (2022)
This movie has been on my to-be-watched list for a while, and that’s not just because Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller are in the movie. In Spiderhead, it is the near future, and convicts are offered an intriguing trade – volunteer as medical subjects for a visionary, and shorten their sentence in prison. One such subject will receive a drug capable of generating feelings of love and will start to question the reality of his emotions.
- IMDb score: 5.5
15. Warriors of Future (2022)
If we’re writing a list of Netflix dystopian movies, you bet there will be one centered around a biological threat. In Warriors of Future, a meteorite brings extraterrestrial life to Earth, and when powerful aliens threaten humanity, an elite force led by Commander Sing Lee is sent to protect the people. When their forces get wiped out though, the only surviving soldier Tai Loi discovers an even bigger conspiracy hiding just under the surface.
- IMDb score: 5.6
14. The Midnight Sky (2020)
Take a sprinkle of isolation and a dash of global catastrophe, and you will get the fourteenth Netflix dystopian movie on our list — The Midnight Sky. In the film, a lone scientist who lives at a remote Arctic research station hears about a mysterious global disaster. Not long after, he meets a strange girl in the Arctic, and they must team up in order to stop the return of the crew currently in the spaceship “Aether.”
- IMDb score: 5.7
13. Extinction (2018)
Part War of the Worlds and Spectral, Extinction will have you thinking twice about alien invasions and the power we have to stop them. In the movie, a father continues to have a dream about losing his family, which unfortunately turns into a reality when the planet is invaded by forces bent on destruction. Fighting for his life, the man comes to realize an unknown strength to keep himself and others safe from harm.
- IMDb score: 5.8
12. Orbiter 9 (2017)
In this mind-bending space adventure titled Orbiter 9, you’ll realize that all is not what it seems in this Netflix dystopian movie. Helena is a young girl who has spent her 20-year lifetime in a space pod traveling from Earth to a distant planet, in order to reunite with other space colonists. When she arrives at a space station for maintenance work, she meets repairman Alex and falls in love. This starts a chain of events that will lead Alex and Helena along a dangerous path of discovery and the truth.
- IMDb score: 5.9
11. Anon (2018)
Our private memories are extremely important to us, so it only makes sense that there is a movie dedicated to exploring the “what if our private memories weren’t ours anymore?” In Anon, it’s the near future and private memories are now recorded, with crime almost ceasing to exist. While trying to solve a series of murders, detective Sal Frieland stumbles upon a young woman only known as “The Girl,” who has no identity, or history, and is invisible to the cops. Maybe this isn’t the end of the crime, but the true beginning.
- IMDb score: 6.1
10. ARQ (2016)
Our tenth choice on the Netflix dystopian movie list is a Netflix original film titled ARQ. The oil supply has run dry on Earth, and corporations are fighting for the remaining energy supplies. As the battle rages on, an engineer is trapped in his house and surrounded by a gang of masked intruders, protecting a technology that could deliver unlimited energy and could end the wars consuming the world. The catch? The technology has created a time loop that condemns him and his friends to relive the same day over and over.
- IMDb score: 6.3
9. Paradise (2023)
The fountain of youth has been discovered in our ninth choice in our dystopian movie lineup, but it’s not exactly what everyone hoped it to be. In Paradise, a method of transferring years of one’s life to another has changed the world, and placed AEON as a billion-dollar company. To pay off debts, Elena must “pay” with 40 years of her life, robbing her and her husband of their future, and unleashing a chain of events you’ll not want to miss.
- IMDb score: 6.3
8. Nowhere (2023)
Ironically, this movie reminds me of Madagascar and you’ll understand more when you read the synopsis of this thrilling drama. In Nowhere, pregnant Mia is fleeing a totalitarian country by hiding in a shipping container on a cargo ship. When a violent storm knocks the container off of the ship though, she must fight for her life, while giving birth and trying to save her baby.
- IMDb score: 6.3
7. Oxygen (2021)
If you have a fear of small spaces, then you might want to skip Oxygen, our seventh choice for the Netflix dystopian movie list. In the film, a woman wakes up in a cryogenic chamber with no memory as to how she got there. With oxygen levels rapidly falling, she must find a way to escape before running out of air.
- IMDb score: 6.5
6. Elysium (2013)
Pitting the rich versus the poor, Elysium is an action-packed movie featuring one of my favorite actors — Matt Damon. The year is 2154, and the ultrarich live aboard the space station Elysium, while the rest of humanity live a hardscrabble existence on Earth’s ruins. A man named Max agrees to undertake a dangerous mission that could finally bring equality, but Secretary Delacourt vows to protect the pampered life of Elysium, no matter the cost.
- IMDb score: 6.6
5. Bird Box (2018)
Though I am not a huge fan of horror films, I know that Bird Box was huge when it first premiered, and now you can watch it in the comfort of your own home. When a mysterious force descends upon the world, there is only one thing that is certain — if you see it, you die. As survivors struggle to live in the new world, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find a place that may offer sanctuary. The only catch is they have to complete the trip blindfolded.
- IMDb score: 6.6
4. I am Mother (2019)
In the Age of Technology, there must be a film to show the potential dangers of said technology, and I Am Mother takes this idea for a spin. In the film, humanity is on the brink of extinction, but on a remote base, a robot raises a girl — the second chance for humanity. But, when another human arrives, it leaves doubt in the girl’s mind for everything she believes in and could spell danger for the two women.
- IMDb score: 6.7
3. What Happened to Monday (2017)
We have finally broken into the top three of our Netflix dystopian movie list, with our third choice being What Happened to Monday. Similar to the novel Among the Hidden, families are only allowed to have one child due to overpopulation. But rules are always broken, and a resourceful group of identical septuplets must avoid governmental execution as they go about the world. That is until one of their own goes missing.
- IMDb score: 6.8
2. The Platform (2019)
Our number two spot goes to science fiction horror film The Platform, which will make you think twice about how much you put on your plate. In a prison where inmates are fed on a descending platform, the upper levels take more than their share and leave the bottom inmates to starve on scraps. The cycle continues until one man decides to change the system.
- IMDb score: 7.0
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1. Snowpiercer (2013)
Last but not least on our Netflix dystopian movie list is Snowpiercer, the true test between the rich and poor, all locked within a train that never stops. Survivors of Earth’s second ice age must live out their days on a luxury train that plows through snow and ice. Those not wealthy must live in the squalid caboose, with little to no resources, until one man decides to improve their lives by trying to take over the engine room.
- IMDb score: 7.1
It doesn’t matter what environment you place humans in, they are still going to act in a certain way. Whether that is rich vs. poor, inner tensions, or coming together in a time of crises, there is something very “human” about all of these movies that begs to be watched.
I love the type of movies that transport humans into different worlds because it shows that our species can handle so much, while still holding that idea of what humans are. If you enjoy the types of movies that reveal a new world, make sure to check out at least one of these twenty Netflix dystopian movies the next time you sit down in front of the TV.