The Best Sci-Fi Movies Streaming In October 2022 And Where To Find Them

With fall well underway and spooky season rearing its haunted head, now is the perfect time to curl up on the couch with a good movie. While horror typically reigns supreme this time of year, there are still plenty of incredible films well worth your precious viewing minutes, especially from the science fiction genre. 

Regardless of how much we love heavy hitters like the "Star Wars," "Star Trek," and "Alien" franchises, sci-fi films encapsulate far more than just stories set in space. Time travel, neo-futurism, artificial intelligence, and other forms of speculative fiction all birth some of the most fascinating stories ever put to film. Fortunately for those looking to broaden their sci-fi horizons, the streaming offerings this October have a world of options. Here are five of the best sci-fi films available to stream this October, and where to watch them.

Circle (2015)

Science fiction probably isn't the genre evoked when thinking of the 1957 drama "12 Angry Men," but the harrowing thriller "Circle" takes a sci-fi approach to the classic story, by forcing 50 strangers to determine the fate of everyone else in the room. 

The individuals all wake up in a dark room, standing atop glowing circular platforms resembling something like an alien spacecraft. As time ticks on, the group realizes that one of them is killed off every two minutes, or if someone dares to leave their assigned position in the circle. An unseen force seems to be responsible for their demise until they realize they can control who lives and dies by "choosing" from one another. What follows is an endless debate regarding the value of human life and an immediate bonding of allies based on political viewpoints and shared morals.

The sci-fi elements and threat of death skyrocket the film's stakes beyond the limitations of a similar story bound by reality, forcing brutal honesty from all of the people thrown into this situation. Implicit biases, blatant bigotry, and a fear of the "other" are well on display, as a sick social experiment enacted by an unseen threat that pushes humanity into their most diabolical urges. "Circle" is one of the best examples of how science fiction can be used to elevate a classic storytelling style into something existential.

"Circle" is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Cosmos (2019)

Written, directed, and produced by brothers Elliot and Zander Weaver, 2019's "Cosmos" was an under-the-radar release that went criminally underseen. The film was crafted on an alleged $7,000 budget, shot primarily in a garage over the course of the month, and underwent five years of post-production special effects. The film is set in 1998, with three friends — Roy (Arjun Singh Panam), Harry (Joshua Ford), and Mike (Tom England) — sitting atop a hill to watch a giant asteroid pass by. The trio work as scientists, so they're used to experiencing oddities of the universe that typical people would ignore, but while studying the airwaves after sending a random message into space, they hear a disembodied voice in the static that they're convinced is an alien response.

Roy, Harry, and Mike are unafraid of the message, excited to listen to whatever exists on the other end, but without confirmation of who or what they're in contact with, "Cosmos" quickly turns into a sci-fi mystery as they attempt to discover the truth. Low-budget sci-fi films are often hard to come by, which makes "Cosmos" all the more endearing. If you're only accustomed to the out-of-this-world spectacle of something out of a Roland Emmerich film, "Cosmos" may miss the mark, but for passionate sci-fi lovers who value a good story above all else, this is certainly one to watch.

"Cosmos" is streaming on Prime Video.

Looper (2012)

Following the successes of his indie neo-noir "Brick" and the comedy caper "The Brothers Bloom," fan favorite filmmaker Rian Johnson took a step into the world of science fiction with "Looper." A time-traveling epic centered on themes of identity and ambition, the film showcases dual timelines of 2047 and 2074, with the latter having developed time travel. In the future, when organized crime syndicates need to get rid of someone, they send people called Loopers back in time to get rid of them before they can live long enough to be a problem. 

The film centers on a Looper named Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who eventually finds himself face to face with his older self (Bruce Willis), as he's been tasked with "closing his own loop." However, things are even more complicated when future Joe reveals that he intends to go rogue, killing a young boy named Cid (Pierce Gagnon), instead, who he believes is the key to preventing his wife's murder in the future. The success of "Looper" is what helped Johnson nab the job writing and directing "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," and managed to be a wildly successful sci-fi film that didn't require a franchise or legacy IP name to do it.

You can stream "Looper" on Hulu.

Meet the Robinsons (2007)

Easily one of the most underrated entries in the Disney canon, the animated love letter to all things science fiction, "Meet the Robinsons," is the perfect watch for sci-fi fans of all ages. The film centers on an orphaned boy genius named Lewis who created a machine that allows users to project deeply hidden memories from the subconscious onto a screen. On the day he's due to showcase the project for the science fair, the wicked Bowler Hat Guy, Doris — complete with robo-bowler hat — steals the invention and wreaks havoc in the school gym. Feeling defeated, Lewis gives up his dreams of science but encounters a young time traveler named Wilbur Robinson who whisks Lewis away to the future. There, he meets the eccentric Robinson family and slowly learns the truth of his own destiny.

"Meet the Robinsons" is a fun and whimsical look at a future world that only a child could concoct in their imagination while handling deep themes like what makes a family, believing in your own destiny, and how even the smallest moments can have a dramatic impact on a person's future. As we hope to nurture new generations of sci-fi fans, a film like "Meet the Robinsons" is a perfect way to introduce even the littlest of viewers to an expansive new genre to love.

"Meet the Robinsons" is exclusively streaming on Disney+.

The Wave (2019)

Another pandemic VOD release that wasn't given the attention it deserves, Gille Klabin and Carl W. Lucas' hypnotic mind-bender "The Wave" sees Justin Long as a dweeby insurance lawyer named Frank, who spends each day enduring a painfully pedestrian existence. After discovering a loophole that would save his company millions and likely lead to a life-changing promotion, Frank makes the decision to enjoy a final night of debauchery, going out drinking with his buddy Jeff (Donald Faison). Things start out relatively normal enough, but everything changes after Frank tries a new hallucinogenic drug, warned by a suspicious dealer that it'll "hit him like a wave." This turns out to be the understatement of the century, as his venture riding out the wave changes Frank's life for good.

Frank descends into a spiral of drug trips, time traveling, and existential posturing combined with an all-out sensory assault for the viewer. "The Wave" is constantly challenging the expectations of the audience, taking us on a journey as disorienting and twisted as Frank's escapade to figure out just what happened to him after trying the drug. Long is a perfect everyman and delivers a career-best performance in this oddly heartfelt psychedelic sci-fi fantasy.

Catch "The Wave" streaming on Peacock.