The Best Sci-Fi Movies Coming To Netflix In September

Netflix releases a staggering number of titles each month. As they drop new, original films and television shows, they consistently tweak their back catalog — adding and removing older properties owned by other distributors. Whenever you visit the streaming service, Netflix's highly-personalized home page suggests algorithmically-selected content to show you. In other words, it's possible to watch Netflix all the time and never come across all they have to offer. But that's where we come in!

Unfortunately, if you're looking for a new science fiction film to watch this September, you'll be disappointed to learn that Netflix's selections here are particularly light. While the streamer is debuting numerous original television shows and films, not a single one of them falls under the sci-fi genre. Thankfully, they picked up a few older titles worth checking out. There's an undisputed classic, an under-appreciated film that deserves a second chance to find an audience, and a handful of movies from a high-tech zombie franchise that still offers some fun jolts. These are the best sci-fi movies coming to Netflix this September.


When director Neill Blomkamp debuted "District 9," audiences went wild. It's easy to see why: the movie is a stone-cold masterpiece, creatively blending documentary filmmaking techniques and imaginative sci-fi into an important story representative of South Africa's apartheid. His follow-up film, then, had a lot riding on its shoulders. Everyone wanted to know: Is Blomkamp a brand-new visionary filmmaker? Or is he a flash-in-the-pan? When Blomkamp's "Elysium" hit theaters, grumbling from critics ensued. Blomkamp has been on a downward trajectory since.

The thing is: "Elysium" is good. Sure, it's not "District 9," but it doesn't have to be. Set in 2154, "Elysium" tells the story of Max (Matt Damon), a poor man exposed to radiation. He's desperate for a cure, but Max lives on Earth. A station called Elysium orbits above his planet, and rich people live there. Rich people can afford healthcare. (Sure, it's a rather literalized "Upstairs/Downstairs" metaphor, but go with the movie here). To get what he needs, Max needs to fight his way onto Elysium, and he does it — thanks to an exoskeletal arm giving him super-strength.

Even if you were initially disappointed with the film, "Elysium" is worth a second look. Blomkamp's skill at shooting chaotic yet legible action sequences is on full display, and Damon's performance packs a brawny punch. Plus, there's a delicious performance from Jodie Foster at her iciest, which is always a blast!

A Clockwork Orange

Oh, my brothers, "A Clockwork Orange" is coming to Netflix! Stanley Kubrick's dystopian film imagines a world sinking into lawlessness, where roving gangs of troublesome youth spend their nights committing "a bit of the old ultra-violence." Rapes, beatings, brawls, and robberies are all on the table, and "A Clockwork Orange" definitely goes there. Alex DeLarge (Malcolm McDowell) leads a group of droogs, and, at first, they're having a grand old time. However, when Alex gets snatched up by the police, he becomes a pawn in a frightening totalitarian power grab by the state. Ultimately, this leads Alex (and the film) into a horrific confrontation between free will and subservience.

"A Clockwork Orange" is, at times, hard to watch. It's graphic with aestheticized violence — seeming to be another element of its "too-cool" mod-style production design. Still, Kubrick is in meticulous control of the film, nimbly guiding the audience through difficult material. By the film's end, the viewer emerges with heady questions about what role the state plays in society. The film's provocations about the dangers of over-policing feel eerily prescient, making its complicated reckoning with restorative justice even more relevant. "A Clockwork Orange" should top your list of September sci-fi watching: it's a classic for a reason, and it's a credit to Netflix's library to have this film available for modern audiences.

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Resident Evil

There are several "Resident Evil" films coming to Netflix this September. But the first film in the franchise is the most worthwhile entry in the bunch. Paul W.S. Anderson's "Resident Evil" introduces audiences to the T-virus, a mutated scientific experiment that goes wrong (so wrong) and accidentally sparks a zombie apocalypse. Milla Jovovich's Alice leads the cast in full action-heroine mode — kicking, shooting, and punching her way across Raccoon City. Add in Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, and James Purefoy, and you've got a solid cast.

While the movie features the weightless CGI that defines the franchise, there are still numerous scenes that offer a lot of scary and inventive fun. The zombie dogs are downright grotesque, as is the undead makeup applied liberally to the zombie humans — the power of practical effects! Even the CGI-heavy sequence involving a room filled with lasers is a delightfully gruesome exercise in tension-building: you know where this thing's headed, and it doesn't disappoint. Give this one a watch. Pretend they stopped here. (Netflix seemingly would like you to forget they made a live-action TV show, as they recently declined to renew "Resident Evil" for a season 2.)

Despicable Me

Before the Minions became inescapable — infiltrating your aunt's Facebook page with memes, and staring at them while stuck in traffic on the 101 — their first outing was enjoyable! "Despicable Me" introduced the pint-sized creatures to the world, but in that first movie, they were genuinely sidekicks. Considering the craze they would later become, their appearances and roles were impressively restrained.

"Despicable Me" is about a supervillain named Gru (Steve Carell). He's an evil man who wants to steal the moon, so the Minions help the mastermind build high-tech gadgets to accomplish his dastardly plan. All seems to be going well until Gru meets three adorable orphans who threaten to soften his heart. Gru is more like a James Bond villain than an MCU supervillain. That means lots of delightfully silly weapons arrive like: the Piranha Gun, the Fart Gun, and the Death Ball Ray. (You can imagine what each one does.) Thanks to the film's whimsical animation, whip-smart comedic timing, and solid voice performances from a cast that includes Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, and Miranda Cosgrove, "Despicable Me" has aged well. If you can forgive the Minions for their crimes, it's worth a watch.