It is always great to watch a film or two where all you want is to be blown away by crazy, trippy, and hallucinatory visuals that expand your mind into other dimensions. These films possess something unique that will take you on an incredibly profound and ecstatic journey. They can be strange, weird, set in surrealistic worlds, or distort our own reality. But, at the same time, they can also be clean, pure, and powerful in their depths. Either way, these flicks will trip your brains out and never be forgotten. So if you’re ready for this experience, then let’s proceed.
20. Time Trap (2017)
‘Time Trap’ is a science fiction movie that stars Andrew Wilson as Professor Hopper, a man obsessed with finding out what happened to his parents after they disappeared while looking for the Fountain of Youth. When he doesn’t come back after exploring a remote cave, his students commence a search for him, only to find out that not everything is as it seems. The movie deals with the rather fascinating concept of spacetime distortion. While there were plenty of ways to ameliorate the storytelling, ‘Time Trap’ is worth a watch for its ending, which is beguilingly intriguing.
19. In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)
Written by Gregory Weidman and Geoff Tock, ‘In the Shadow of the Moon’ is a science fiction thriller film that stars Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, and Michael C. Hall. The movie revolves around a Philadelphia detective named Thomas Lockhart, whose life takes an unexpected turn when he begins the investigation into the seemingly unrelated deaths of several people due to hemorrhage. Even though he meets the culprit very soon, the drama that follows makes the murder mystery even more complicated as the Philadelphia detective gets obsessed with the time-traveling series killer in the process.
18. ARQ (2016)
Directed by Tony Elliott, the science-fiction thriller film introduces viewers to a world conflicted by an energy crisis. With corporations fighting against corporations for the remaining energy supplies, an engineer named Renton, who has developed a technology that could potentially solve the current crisis, is targeted. His life gets further complicated as he gets stuck in a time loop soon afterward and relives the same day over and over again with his friends.
17. Awake (2021)
The world is taken over by an existential crisis when a mysterious catastrophe not only takes away humanity’s sleep but also causes a malfunction of electronics all over the planet. With little to no time on their hands, the scientists race against time to find a cure, but they are met with unexpected challenges. However, when a soldier finds out that her daughter may hold the key to solving humanity’s existential crisis, she realizes that she has a tough call to make. Will the former U.S. Army Medic choose his daughter over mass extinction? Or will she put her child on the line for the greater good?
16. iBOY (2017)
Tom Harvey is a young adult who struggles to get by until he is encouraged by one of his friends to pursue his crush, Lucy. When the two decide to study together, Tom is excited about the surprises that the future has in store for him. Unfortunately, things take a dark turn when he finds Lucy sexually assaulted and her brother unconscious when he visits her home. As he tries to inform the law enforcement agencies, Tom is shot in the head by the assailants. He later wakes up in a hospital where and after discharge, learns that he has now gained the strange power to visualize digital signals and hear phone transmissions. Now, with his newfound abilities at his disposal, Tom decides to hunt each of the assailants down one after another.
15. Self/less (2015)
Ryan Reynolds features in this movie about a billionaire afflicted with brain cancer. Consequently, he decides to “shed” his consciousness into an artificially grown body. What starts as a simple crusade to extend his life soon transforms into something completely astonishing when new information comes to light. With an enticing premise and solid action sequences thrown into the mix, ‘Self/less’ is somewhat different than its counterparts in the sci-fi genre.
We believe that this movie is a great one to watch when you want an astonishing storyline but you don’t want to deal with the more conventional aspects of the field, like aliens or monsters. It is a movie rooted simply in a quest to live on and will leave you with pondering over the meaning of death and the value of life.
12. Bird Box (2018)
The post-apocalyptic horror-thriller film revolves around a mysterious entity that has decimated human civilization by taking the form of their worst fears. Now, those who have survived must live a life blindfolded at all times and search for a safe sanctuary. But with the ever-present danger of the entity that chases them, is survival even possible? The Susanne Bier directorial is based on Josh Malerman’s novel of the same name and is a captivating film that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
13. I Am Mother (2019)
The mother-daughter relationship is definitely an important one. But ‘I Am Mother’ takes it to a completely different level. Clara Rugaard stars as a girl named Daughter, who lives with a robot that aids in the repopulation of Earth after an extinction event. It is referred to as Mother. When Daughter gets curious one day and leaves the bunker, she comes across Woman (played by Hilary Swank), who is not fond of androids, to say the least. What unfolds is a certain tension between Mother and Daughter, and the film will hold your attention for its taut psychological thrills.
12. Circle (2015)
What would you do if, along with 50 people, you woke up in a dark room and saw people dying every few minutes? In fact, what would you do when you realize that the whole group actually calls the shots and has to decide who lives and who doesn’t? Scary, right? Well, this is exactly what happens in ‘Circle.’ The reason this premise makes for one mind-boggling movie is that it brings the human psyche to the forefront in a very raw and impactful manner. Plus, you will be more invested because you could see yourself as a part of this ill-fated group.
11. The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
The third installment in the ‘Cloverfield’ franchise takes on an energy crisis on Earth in 2028. A group of scientists is abroad the Cloverfield space station, preparing to test a particle accelerator that could power the planet with infinite energy. However, when Earth seemingly vanishes, they must work together to escape this situation. This film looks at the concepts of a parallel universe and multiverse and also correlates the story to its predecessors in the franchise. Although it is seen as the weakest film in the trilogy (as the third productions usually are), we believe that it packs a punch and is worth your time.
10. Io (2019)
Jonathan Helpert has directed ‘Io,’ another science fiction film that looks at life after an apocalyptic event, which (let’s be honest) has started feeling like a possibility in recent times. Essentially, the air on Earth has become toxic, and most humans have fled to Io, Jupiter’s moon. But Sam Walden, played by Margaret Qualley, has not given up hope yet. When she sends out a radio transmission to find other people around her, a man named Micah arrives.
We then see the characters as they make their decisions to either stay on Earth or not. At its core, ‘Io’ is a movie that looks at how people choose to define what home means to them. But it is also a thought-invoking piece. It may not make you reevaluate your priorities or change your life completely, but it is a worthy contender on this list.
9. The Midnight Sky (2020)
Directed by George Clooney, ‘The Midnight Sky’ is a science fiction film based on Lily Brooks-Dalton’s debut novel. The movie revolves around Augustine Lofthouse, a reclusive academic who has survived a global catastrophe and is now facing its aftermath. When he learns that a clueless crew of astronauts is returning to the planet, the Artic-dwelling scientist has to take the responsibility to stop them from returning to their homes that are no longer safe.
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8. Cloud Atlas (2012)
This epic science fiction movie is awesome and crazy and totally different from what you might have seen so far. It was directed by The Wachowskis (who made ‘The Matrix’) and Tom Tykwer. It depicts how actions influence each other in the passing of time and also the changing of the world. The story is divided into 6 different subplots set in 6 different time eras, where various characters are introduced and divergent happenings unfold.
However, these are all connected to each other and you’ll soon find out why. The trippiest aspect of the storyline is that the directors have chosen to use an ensemble cast who play completely different characters throughout the various epochs. Some of them are completely unrecognizable and will have you guessing throughout the scenes. Additionally, each actor plays a role that has a character arc that makes total sense once understood. Get ready for a depth-exploring experience where you’ll find meanings and connections in every detail presented before you.
7. Oxygen (2021)
Starring Mélanie Laurent Mathieu Amalric, and Malik Zidi, ‘Oxygen’ is a science-fiction drama movie. The Alexandre Aja directorial revolves around Liz Hansen, a clueless woman who wakes up an air-sealed cryogenic unit whose oxygen content is depleting rapidly. With no memories of her arrival there, Hanse struggles to make sense of her present situation. Realizing that the oxygen in the unit will soon be used up, she, with the pod’s state-of-the-art A.I., tries to figure out a way out of her claustrophobic nightmare. But will she be able to do it in time?
6. Cargo (2018)
Featuring stand-out performances by Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, and Anthony Hayes, ‘Cargo’ is a post-apocalyptic horror drama film that recounts a heartwarming story of survival and fatherhood. After a pandemic pushes humanity into survival mode, an unfortunate father who is infected desperately looks for a refuge for his young child. Sadly, as time passes, he is increasingly becoming aware of his changing nature that can put the life of his kid at risk. Will the conflicted father find a way out of his current dilemma?
5. Mute (2018)
The movie focuses on the escapades of Leo, a mute bartender who is looking for his girlfriend that has mysteriously disappeared. His search takes him deeper and deeper into the seedy underbelly of a dystopian Berlin in the future. The cinematography and the noir undertones of the film really make it stand out. Moreover, the plot delves deep into the themes of parenthood, loneliness, isolation, and love. ‘Mute’ also features an ensemble cast of Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Robert Sheehan, Noel Clarke, Florence Kasumba, and lastly, Dominic Monaghan. If you have like Duncan Jones’ ‘Moon,’ then you’d be happy to learn that ‘Mute’ is its sequel.
4. The Discovery (2017)
If you’re looking for romance in the science fiction genre, then ‘The Discovery’ will not disappoint. When Dr. Thomas Harbor (Robert Redford) declares that the afterlife does exist, the suicide rates shoot up, as people want a reset. His son, Will (played by Jason Segel), holds him accountable for this. Rooney Mara plays Isla, a woman that Will has recently met on a ferry. The two go to Dr. Harbor’s compound, where they find out more about his experiments while falling for each other. This movie is one that deals with the themes of death, second chances, and love, and will be on your mind even after it ends.
3. Mirage (2018)
It seems to be the case that alternate universes are pretty dangerous to travel to. If you manage to create a new reality or make your way to one where you don’t belong, you can be stuck in limbo, from where there is no getting out. This is the theme of Oriol Paulo’s ‘Mirage’. The story begins with a young boy called Nico. He witnesses a murder in a neighbor’s house and goes there to see what has really gone down. When the perpetrator notices his presence, Nico runs outside. However, he gets hit by a car and dies. This was also the time when an electrical storm was raging for 72 hours straight.
Exactly 25 years after this incident, a woman called Vera moves into Nico’s house and learns about the horrible fate suffered by the boy. She discovers that there is an old television where a space-time glitch can be created. So, she uses it to go 25 years behind to warn Nico about his tragic fate. But what repercussions will time travel have on Vera? This is the question that the film tries to answer. While it is wonderfully made, the plot is not anything quite new. Yet somehow, ‘Mirage’ is interesting enough to keep one hooked till the very end.
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2. The Platform (2019)
If there is a movie that will trip you out solely based on its relevance in society today, it is ‘The Platform.’ Goreng is a man stuck in a vertical prison structure which is called “the pit.” The residents are fed through a system where ample food is placed on a platform that gradually descends to everyone. As expected, the people on the higher floors feast, and by the time it reaches the lower levels, the residents are surviving on scraps.
Such an arrangement is bound to give birth to injustices, and with it, dissatisfaction. This film is a compelling case against unabashed capitalism and consumerism, and what makes it so mind-boggling is that it can potentially be extrapolated to our society for many more decades if things don’t change.
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1. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror‘, which is actually a Channel 4 original series, is one of the best and most innovative television shows of all time. Charlie Brooker and his team have always surprised us with new and thought-provoking content which, while keeping the philosophy of the show in mind, has covered an array of topics. The showrunners truly outdid themselves when they went on to create the first feature film based on the series called ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’.
The story is based on the life of a video game developer who wants to build an interactive video game where the player can decide how to proceed. Now, the best part is that this movie has an interactive feature as well. So it becomes a two-way experience for both the audience and the main character himself. ‘Bandersnatch‘ is not only a milestone in terms of new-age filmmaking, but it also has the potential to counter piracy and bring in a new aesthetic into the industry. As the tragedies of the main character collide with yours, and the line between fiction and reality blur, you shall realize this is a zone you have never reached before.
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