The 9 Most Underrated Sci-Fi Movies Of The 90s That You Should Drop Everything To Watch
The '90s produced some fantastic sci-fi movies. The decade saw The Matrix, The Fifth Element, 12 Monkeys, Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, and many more. Not every movie that came out of the decade was a banger though. For every eXistenZ or Star Trek: First Contact, there was a Lawnmower Man 2 or Judge Dredd.
But since the decade infused new technologies into filmmaking, we saw a large influx of sci-fi content. So there were plenty of watch-worthy movies that may have gone under the radar or just didn't get the love they deserved.
Looking back at some sci-fi movies from the '90s, we found a few classic sci-fi movies you might have missed or ones that are way too underrated in our book. Check some of them out below. And if you're in the market for more sci-fi movies, check out some brainy sci-fi movies, the best sci-fi movies of 2021, and 37 things you might not know about The Matrix.
Writer/director Andrew Niccol's first feature film is a dark look into genetics and how humans treat others they deem inferior. The film follows Vincent (Ethan Hawke), who was conceived naturally and was born with a heart defect. Because of this, he can't make it in a world filled with people designed to be perfect at health, even though he's intelligent and skilled. He takes over the life of the genetically altered Jerome (Jude Law) in order to get the job he wants. From there, the film takes some twists and turns, but we won't mention any of those here.
Event Horizon (1997)
One of the greatest sci-fi horror movies of all time, Event Horizon follows a rescue crew in space that stumbles upon a ship that went through a black hole, and there's something evil inside. The film has many aesthetically startling moments that will stick with you and a stellar cast featuring Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne, Joely Richardson, Kathleen Quinlan, and more. It's one of the few "haunted house in space" films, and does it to near perfection.
Dark City (1998)
Undoubtedly Alex Proyas's best film--yes, he directed The Crow as well--Dark City traverses on the abstract. The film follows a man named John Murdoch who wakes up in a bathtub with no memory of who he is but there's a dead body in the hotel room he's in. A group of people called The Strangers are after him. These are the people that rearrange the city and change people's memories while they sleep--even though it's always night in the city. The man wants to make his way to Shell Beach, a place no one knows how to get to. It's an unsettling movie, primarily because of how weird it was for its time, but it is well-worth your time.
Cube is one of those movies that sticks with you even years later. The film follows a group of people trapped in a cubed room with no knowledge of how they got there. Each side of the room has a doorway, which leads to another room just like the one they're in--except some of them are trapped, and these traps kill. There are two other movies in this franchise, but neither of them live up to how good the first one is.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Never give up. Never surrender. Writer/Director David Mamet called this one of four perfect films, right alongside The Godfather, A Place in the Sun, and Dodsworth. It's a movie starring Tim Allen about actors in a Star Trek-like show who get transported into space to fight an alien warlord. These people are just actors, so they have no clue what they're doing. It really is the most perfect sci-fi/comedy movie. After you're done watching Galaxy Quest, you should check out the documentary about it, Never Surrender.
Demolition Man (1993)
What can be said about Demolition Man that I haven't said numerous times over the years here at GameSpot? No matter how much people talk about the Wesley Snipes/Sylvester Stallone classic, it's still underrated as a movie. The futuristic seemingly utopian film follows a criminal and imprisoned former officer in the future after being released from cryogenic prison. From there, they find out Taco Bell is the last surviving restaurant, the local museum loves the font from Diablo, and that people do video calls from their shower. They also have to battle each other--because that's how '90s action movies work. If for some reason you haven't seen Demolition Man, I implore you to do so immediately.
Predator 2 (1990)
The followup to the Arnold Schwartzeneger iconic sci fi movie gets a lot of guff for not being the same movie as the first. However, don't let the fact this movie takes place in the city turn you off from it. Predator 2 takes place in Los Angeles where there is a war between Colombian and Jamaican gangs. Danny Glover plays an LAPD lieutenant who finds out the war between the two and all the deaths are actually because of a third party--a Predator. It's a highly-underrated movie that does well on expanding on the lore of the Predator species. Plus, it's got Danny Glover in it. This is a win-win situation for you.
The Faculty (1998)
Following up his work helming From Dusk Till Dawn, director Robert Rodriguez took on this teen horror flick from 1998. However, it turns out that The Faculty aged a lot better than films of the same genre from that time. The film follows a group of teens who find out that students and teachers in their school are being replaced by aliens. It's The Thing meets Invasion Of The Body Snatchers with a pro-drug message. The Faculty is a delightfully fun movie that is constantly overlooked by sci-fi fans for being strictly "horror," which it is not.
Mars Attacks (1996)
The 1950s and '60s blasted out a ton of alien invasion movies. It was a golden age for campy sci-fi. The 1996 film was directed by Tim Burton and follows an assortment of people as they deal with an alien invasion from Mars. It's very tongue in cheek and silly and still funny. Plus, the movie is literally based on an old Topps trading card set--that's not a joke. Mars Attacks has a ridiculously large cast of familiar names like Michael J Fox, Danny Devito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Pam Grier, Glenn Close, and more. It pays homage to classic sci-fi movies in the best and most enjoyable way possible.