Horror pairs well with any genre. Horror comedies, horror westerns, horror romance; well, you get the gist. However, in terms of maximum chills or creativity, the marriage of horror and sci-fi often reigns supreme. The extreme isolation of deep space, creatures from other worlds or dimensions, man’s hubris causing dire consequences, dystopian nightmares, science experiments that lead to body horror, and so much more bring memorable entries of sci-fi horror.
This week’s streaming picks belong to sci-fi horror movies that run the gamut in style and tone. Some offer fun riffs on the creature feature, and some send you on a mind-bending journey.
All, of course, are available to stream now.
Attack the Block – Crackle, Roku, Tubi
A teen gang in South London must team up with the other residents on their block, including the woman they mugged, to protect their neighborhood from a terrifying alien invasion. A compelling and charming genre mashup that blends sci-fi and comedy with creature feature horror, Joe Cornish’s debut offers up tension, laughs, and engaging social commentary. Most of all, it delivers a cast of endearing characters led by John Boyega as Moses and fantastic creature work by Mike Elizalde and Spectral Motion. It’s the precise type of blockbuster spectacle that has something for everyone while done on a smaller budget.
Coherence – Crackle, Hulu, Kanopy, Pluto TV, Prime Video, Shudder, Vudu
A comet passes overhead during a dinner party among eight friends, unleashing a strange chain of events. A less-is-more cerebral sci-fi thriller, Coherence manipulates time to weave a mind-bending story that focuses on how the decisions we make define us. The choices these characters tend to make are as frustrating as they are fascinating. Starring Emily Baldoni as the lead protagonist, relationships buckle under the weight of reality’s fluidity, creating tension and an unsettling atmosphere. If you’re a fan of solving puzzles, this pick is for you.
The Faculty – Pluto TV
From director Robert Rodriguez and screenwriter Kevin Williamson, this late ’90s teen horror movie dissects high school’s social hierarchy with an insanely fun sci-fi horror premise that wears its influences on its sleeves. For Harrington High, school just got a whole lot weirder when a parasitic alien begins taking over the faculty and student body one by one. Nerdy-type Casey (Elijah Wood), loner Stokely (Clea Duvall), Cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), football player Stan (Shawn Hatosy), drug dealer Zeke (Josh Hartnett), and new girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) team up to fight back against the invaders. Paranoia and mayhem ensue.
Possessor – Hulu
Brandon Cronenberg’s follow-up to Antiviral is detached, slick sci-fi meets a Grand Guignol aesthetic. It’s a body-hopping slice of sci-fi horror that goes heavy on the gore. Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is an agent working for a secretive corporation that uses brain implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies and puppeteer them to commit assassinations at the company’s direction. The more time she spends in different bodies, though, the more she seems to lose control over her mind. When she inhabits the body of her latest host, Colin (Christopher Abbot), his soul isn’t quite as willing to let her take over thanks to her weakened mental state, and the war over control threatens to obliterate them both. One of last year’s best is now available to stream, so don’t miss it.
Save the Green Planet! – Criterion Channel, Kanopy
Byeong-gu believes Earth is on the verge of an alien invasion and that he’s the only one who can save it. With his loyal girlfriend’s help, he kidnaps and brutally tortures corporate execs and politicians he believes to be aliens in disguise. A complete genre mashup, from sci-fi to comedy to horror with extreme violence, Save the Green Planet has many shocking moments and unexpected twists. Truthfully, this one almost defies classification.