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The best alien movies on Netflix right now

Are we really alone in the universe? Human beings have been asking this question for thousands of years, and we still don't have a definitive answer. Maybe those mysterious photos of unidentified flying objects really are proof that aliens have visited Earth, or maybe we don't actually have any company in the cosmos. Either way, we're still curious about whether or not we might have galactic neighbors — and if they would be friends or foes. Maybe the answers are in the stars. Or perhaps they're buried in secret government files. Actually, they just might be on Netflix.

Countless directors have imagined what would happen if we ever did make contact with beings that were not of this world. On-screen, we've seen friendly and curious extraterrestrials in films like E.T. and aliens as hostile invaders in movies like Signs and War of the Worlds, and filmmakers are still exploring this genre. Wondering if there could actually be life somewhere beyond Earth? We may not have any solid evidence (yet), but you can check out all of these entertaining and thought-provoking alien films Netflix has to offer.

Extinction

Have you ever had a nightmare come true? If so, you might be intrigued by the premise of the film Extinction. That's exactly what happens to Peter, who begins having nightmares about an invading force that comes to Earth, threatening the safety of his family and everything he holds dear. Little did he know that these disturbing nightmares would actually turn out to be premonitions. When he visits a psychiatrist to get to the root of these fears, he encounters another patient who has been suffering from the same night terrors, and he begins to wonder if there is something bigger going on.

Peter's suspicions prove to be correct: at night, spaceships descend upon the city and attack. Peter and his wife manage to snag a weapon from one of the invading soldiers, and Peter utilizes the knowledge from his visions to protect them — but his understanding of what's actually happening can only get them so far. Peter is about to discover that he was receiving these visions for a reason, and when he finds out why, the knowledge turns his life upside down.

The Signal

A road trip with friends goes very, very wrong in The Signal. Three MIT students, Jonah, Nic, and Haley, are driving across America. Haley is moving to California, and the guys are accompanying her to help her out. Nic worries that the move will complicate his relationship with Haley. However, all of these troubles will soon fade into the background when the trio is faced with a much more dire threat.

As Nic and Jonah settle into their hotel room for the night, they discover that a hacker named NOMAD has been tracking them and found their location. This isn't their first run-in with NOMAD — this particular hacker almost got them expelled back at MIT when they were accessing the school's private servers. Nic and Jonah decide to get back at NOMAD by tracking the hacker's location and heading to the abandoned house where they are supposedly hiding out. When they arrive, they find nothing — but when Haley is suddenly pulled into the sky, it becomes obvious that the group has stumbled into something inexplicable.

Cloverfield

When Hud decides to bring a camera to his friend Rob's farewell party, he never imagines the events that he'll capture on video. In Cloverfield, a found-footage film about an alien invasion, Hud arrives at Rob's going-away party with a camera in hand so that he can film their friends' testimonials as they wish him good luck on his upcoming move from New York City to Japan. Suddenly, the building is rocked by what feels like an earthquake, and the city goes dark.

The party-goers head outside to investigate, and Hud captures the subsequent catastrophe on film — the Statue of Liberty's severed head rolling into the street, an enormous creature destroying buildings and knocking down the Brooklyn Bridge with its tail, smaller, parasitic creatures leaping off of its body to attack people in the streets, and the group's desperate attempts to figure out what's really going on. In Cloverfield, the found-footage format puts you right in the middle of the action as the protagonists try to escape New York City in the midst of the chaos.

Revolt

In Revolt, an American Special Forces soldier wakes up in a jail cell with no clear idea of who he really is. After being knocked out in a battle against invading robotic machines that have taken over the world, he has developed amnesia. But another helpful prisoner, Nadia, gives him the nickname "Bo" and tries to help him fill in the blanks. She is a former French aid doctor, and she explains that the two of them were captured by a criminal gang and have been kept as prisoners ever since.

Although Bo doesn't remember much about his encounter with these otherworldly machines, he discovers that the incident left him with a special ability: he can absorb and discharge electricity. Nadia and Bo decide to escape together and take their chances in the outside world. Their plan is to break free of their cells and make their way to Bo's former military base in Nairobi, where he was serving prior to his capture. But the machines have already wiped out every major city on the planet, and their journey back might be more dangerous than staying in their cells.

Beyond Skyline

A sequel to the 2010 film Skyline, which followed a group of people trying to survive an alien invasion of Los Angeles, Beyond Skyline explores another story taking place at the same time as the original film.

In Beyond Skyline, Los Angeles police detective Mark Corley helps his son Trent get out of jail just as the invasion begins. Mark and Trent are estranged, but Mark couldn't stand to leave his son behind. As most of the residents of LA are sucked up into various spaceships by a blue light descending from the sky, Mark leads a group of stray survivors through the underground subway tunnels to the marina, hoping to escape to somewhere safer. But their plan doesn't work out the way they had hoped. When they finally make it to the marina, they are captured by the alien flagship — and that's when the real adventure begins. What's really happening inside of these ships, and what do these creatures want from human beings? Mark is about to stumble on the disturbing answers.

Evolution

Yes, it seems like most alien movies predict tragic consequences if Earth ever gets a visit from extraterrestrials, but that doesn't mean an alien movie can't be funny. In the sci-fi comedy film Evolution, a group of scientists researches microscopic alien life that came to Earth when a meteor crashed in Arizona. To the untrained eye, the findings from their samples might have seemed unremarkable — after all, they're only looking at single-celled organisms. But as college professors Ira and Harry soon discover, these organisms are multiplying so rapidly that they begin evolving into more advanced life forms overnight.

When the government catches wind of what's going on, the Army bans Ira and Harry from accessing their research site. Other scientists steal their research and bar them from entering, forcing Ira and Harry to take matters into their own hands. When they finally manage to break in, they find the lab bursting with new alien life forms — and with aliens escaping to the outside world, it's their job to find the creatures' weaknesses and somehow save America.

The Darkest Dawn

With cameras in everyone's pockets these days, what would happen if aliens were to attack Earth? Chances are, the invasion would be caught on film, and that's the concept explored in the found-footage film The Darkest Dawn, the sequel to Hungerford. In Hungerford, alien parasites turn human beings into their hosts, and The Darkest Dawn follows two survivors of the initial attack.

When Chloe is given a video camera on her 16th birthday, her first home videos are funny and lighthearted. That is, until the world as she knows it comes crashing down when aliens begin taking over the bodies of human beings. As chaos and violence erupts around her, her only goal is to protect her sister and somehow make it out of all of this alive, if there is anywhere left that could be a sanctuary. If you enjoyed found-footage films like Cloverfield, The Darkest Dawn is a solid choice for your next movie night.

At First Light

If you're watching a film about aliens and you see a bright light appear in the sky on screen, it usually indicates that someone is about to be abducted. At First Light takes a different approach to this trope. When Alex leaves a bonfire party with a guy she's interested in, they walk through the woods to a nearby lake to spend some time alone. But the next thing she knows, bright lights appear over her as she floats in the water, and when she regains consciousness, she's stumbling down a dirt road with no idea what just happened to her.

Alex wasn't abducted, but something about her has changed — suddenly, she has gained the ability to move objects with her mind. After hitching a ride back into town, she calls up her good friend Sean (who also happens to have a crush on her). Alex experiments with her newfound abilities, and Sean is just along for the ride... until the authorities inevitably start tracking them down. With plenty of similarities to Stranger Things, fans of the popular Netflix series will definitely enjoy At First Light.

Occupation

In this Australian sci-fi film, a small town in the outback comes under attack from an unknown alien force. A group of civilians makes it their mission to band together and avoid being captured by their attackers.

Matt and his girlfriend Amelia work menial jobs and make enough to get by in their rural area. The highlight of Matt's week is always the weekend football game, where he gets to face off against his local rival Jackson. But out of the blue, their usual game is interrupted by an alien invasion, and the group flees into the woods, grabbing a few more of their neighbors along the way, including Jackson's pregnant girlfriend Vanessa, ex-con Peter, and Arnold, a farmer who knows the land like the back of his hand. Can this ragtag group actually manage to fight off their unfriendly visitors? If you watch Occupation, you'll definitely find yourself rooting for these underdogs.

Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson stars as a beautiful (and terrifying) alien life form in Under the Skin — and she wears her human disguise so well that men can't help but be seduced by her. She travels around Scotland, managing to pick up one man after another. But she's not looking for love. As she leads one man into an abandoned home, it becomes clear that she's some sort of predator. To her, this man is nothing but prey — and to make things even scarier, she's not working alone.

Under the Skin is definitely not your usual alien flick. It's the kind of experimental film that you might see at an art house theater, and there are moments that will make your skin crawl. The cinematography is somehow gorgeous and unsettling at the same time, and Johansson's performance is both eerie and enthralling. The film explores the question of what it really means to be human, and that's what makes it stand out among the genre.

Apollo 18

Why did NASA cancel the Apollo 18 mission to the moon back in 1973? The found-footage film Apollo 18 suggests an alternate history — maybe it wasn't canceled after all. Maybe the astronauts really did go to the moon on a top-secret mission that was hidden from the public, and this is the lost footage from that ill-fated journey.

It's December of 1973, and the crew of Apollo 18 has just found out that they will actually be working on a secret project for the Department of Defense. Their voyage to the moon will be disguised as a satellite launch, and the public will never know that they left the Earth's atmosphere. But when the crew finally lands on the moon, they begin hearing strange noises outside of their module. And when they stumble across the body of a long lost Soviet cosmonaut, they're more than ready to leave — but the moon might not be so lifeless after all, and these unlucky astronauts might end up staying longer than they bargained for.