Movies Like 'Alien' to Watch Next

The 'Alien' franchise is celebrating a few anniversaries in 2022. To celebrate them, Metacritic has compiled a list of similar films that fans of that franchise might enjoy.
by Taylor Freitas — 

Sigourney Weaver in 'Alien'

Courtesy of YouTube

Since its release in 1979, Alienhas not only evolved into a full-on media empire (that includes movies, books, merchandise, and a forthcoming TV series), but it's arguably defined an entire film genre. The Ridley Scott-directed space saga was a pioneer in science-fiction horror and still consistently ranks as one of the top films in the genre — nearly 45 years after it premiered.

However, the Academy Award-winning film's impact extends far beyond the first movie in the series. Since the original film came out, thefranchise has continued to grow, with sequels Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien: Resurrection (1997); crossovers (Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem); and prequels (Prometheus and Alien: Covenant).

Alien also launched the career of Sigourney Weaver, who has been the only character to appear in all four of the original series movies. Reflecting on her performance in the first film, reviewer Gregory Weinkauf of the Dallas Observer wrote: "This is the breakout role for Sigourney (née Susan) Weaver, whose iconic presence still propels this ride beyond the scores of substandard imitations that followed."

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Alien 3 (which debuted in May 1992), Metacritic has compiled a list of similar films that fans of the franchise might enjoy. Each movie we've chosen fits into the science-fiction horror genre, with several of the flicks sharing themes with Alien, like threats from otherworldly creatures and human interactions with extraterrestrial beings.

Here, Metacritic offers 10 movies like Alien to watch next, ranked by Metascore.


Harrison Ford in 'Blade Runner'

Warner Bros. / Getty Images

Blade Runner

Metascore: 84
Best for: Fans of dystopian thrillers
Where to watch: 

, Google Play, iTunes,
Runtime: 117 minutes

Released in 1982, Blade Runner is another Scott-directed film, but this one is based on Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a former police officer in futuristic Los Angeles who's called back to work for a critical mission: to hunt down a group of four human-engineered robots ("replicants") who are unlawfully roaming the planet. The replicants are led by Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), who relies on his intelligence and physical abilities to keep Rick at bay. Blade Runner and its 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049, are both on Metacritic's "must-see" film list.

"A truly extraordinary, densely imagined version of both the future and the present, with a look and taste all its own." — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader


Natalie Portman in 'Annihilation'

Courtesy of Skydance Media


Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of psychological horror films
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Paramount+, Vudu
Runtime: 115 minutes

Like Alien, 2018's Annihilation revolves on a mysterious otherworldly force that's wreaking havoc on Earth. In the case of Annihilation, that force is known as "the Shimmer," part of Area X, a government facility that was the site of a meteorite crash. Following her husband's near-fatal expedition into the Shimmer, Lena (Natalie Portman) decides to visit it herself to understand what happened to him. While there, she has a life-altering experience, witnessing both the surreal beauty and horrifying realities that lurk within the mystifying space. 

"Annihilation is more than mere visuals and it will shock, fascinate and haunt whatever screen it's watched on." — Benjamin Lee, The Guardian


Jeff Goldblum in 'The Fly'

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

The Fly

Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of gore-heavy horror movies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 96 minutes

Jeff Goldblum stars as quirky scientist Seth Brundle in The Fly, a 1986 sci-fi horror film directed by David Cronenberg and based on a short story by George Langelaan. After inventing a teleportation device, he decides to try it on himself, not realizing that there's a fly trapped in the system. As a result, Seth slowly begins evolving into a half-man, half-fly hybrid — losing his human instincts and exhibiting more impulsive, animalistic behaviors. Cronenberg's The Fly, which is a remake of the 1958 original, was recognized for its outstanding makeup and special effects, winning the Oscar for Best Makeup in 1987.

"The Fly is a mass-market, horror- film masterpiece that is also a work of art." — Jay Scott, The Globe and Mail


Donald Sutherland in 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers'

Courtesy of United Artists

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of alien invasion flicks
Where to watch:

, iTunes,
Runtime: 115 minutes

Directed by Philip Kaufman, the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatcherswas released about six months before Alien. While one movie is set on Earth (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and another is set in space (Alien), both films depict the chaotic events that occur after extraterrestrials infiltrate human bodies. Specifically, Invasion of the Body Snatchers follows a pair of San Francisco scientists, Elizabeth Driscoll (Brooke Adams) and Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland), who realize that humans are slowly being replaced by unemotional alien clones — and fight to prevent it from happening to them.

"Undiluted pleasure and excitement." — Pauline Kael, The New Yorker


Cillian Murphy in 'Sunshine'

Courtesy of Moving Picture Company


Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of space odyssey-type films
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 107 minutes

Set 50 years in the future, 2007's Sunshine follows a group of international astronauts and scientists played by Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rose Byrne, and Michelle Yeoh, who have to stop the sun from dying and save humankind. To do that, they must travel through space on a dangerous mission to reignite the sun — which quickly hits several snags and puts the crew (and humanity at large) in jeopardy. Around the time of Sunshine's release, director Danny Boyle spoke about Alien's influence on his film, calling it a "great masterpiece" of the sci-fi genre.

"For though it can't maintain its momentum all the way to the end, Sunshine until it stumbles is gratifyingly far from the usual space-opera stuff." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times



Courtesy of New World Mutual


Metascore: 60
Best for: Fans of graphic horror flicks
Where to watch:

, HBO Max, iTunes
Runtime: 103 minutes

Cronenberg makes a second appearance on this list with Scanners, his 1981 body horror flick about a group of people known as "scanners," who have telepathic powers. Eventually, a private weapons company called ConSec learns about these special individuals and tries to use their abilities for business purposes. As part of the company's plan, it recruits a scanner named Cameron Vale (Stephen Lack) to hunt down fellow scanner Derryl Revok (Michael Ironside), who has been killing ConSec-affiliated scanners. Like Cronenberg's other films, Scanners is frequently remembered for its sophisticated special effects, including a memorable (and incredibly gory) head explosion scene.

"One of the most technically proficient of David Cronenberg's early gnawing, Canadian-made horror movies." — Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader


'The Mist'

Courtesy of MGM

The Mist

Metascore: 58
Best for: Fans of Stephen King or mystery-filled horror movies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 126 minutes

Adapted from King's novella of the same name, The Mist is a 2007 horror film written and directed by Frank Darabont. The story focuses on a small town in Maine, where David Drayton (Thomas Jane), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), and other locals are stuck in a grocery store due to a thick mist that holds deadly surprises hiding within it. Although it earned mixed reviews from critics (with several suggesting that Darabont was aiming to make a political statement rather than a horror movie), it retains the support of some diehard King fans

"More political allegory than horror movie." — Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post


Kurt Russell in 'The Thing'

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The Thing

Metascore: 57
Best for: Fans of suspense-filled horror films
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes,
Runtime: 109 minutes

John Carpenter's 1982 version of The Thing is another film that experiments with the theme of aliens invading human bodies. It takes place in Antarctica, where a group of researchers encounters a mysterious force that they've named "Thing." Whenever the creature touches any living organism, it can assimilate into that life form — humans included. Upon learning this, the researchers and research facility crew must determine who among them has been infiltrated and avoid becoming a victim themselves. Although The Thing received largely negative reviews after its theatrical release, it later developed a cult following and is a favorite among some sci-fi horror lovers.

"Carpenter creates an atmosphere in Thing; it's a weird one, an odd landscape and clearly alien territory, but it's entertaining nonetheless." — Bill Cosford, The Miami Herald


Ryan Reynolds in 'Life'

Courtesy of Sony Pictures


Metascore: 54
Best for: Fans of space-based thrillers
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 104 minutes

In 2017's Life, an International Space Station crew is examining soil from Mars that appears to contain evidence of extraterrestrial life. As they study a small sample of the soil, it begins to evolve, changing from a single cell to a multi-celled organism (named Calvin). One day, Calvin becomes aggressive, attacking several members of the crew and cutting off their ability to communicate with their Earthside colleagues. As noted in several critical and audience reviews, the film shares a few similarities with Alien (which could be positive or negative, depending on your perspective), thanks to its familiar outer space setting and alien-enters-human-body plot line.

"No huge surprises but finely tuned and fun, like the love-child of Gravity and Alien, with added popcorn." — Jane Crowther, Total Film


Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Predator'

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox


Metascore: 45
Best for: Fans of action-packed sci-fi flicks
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 107 minutes

The Alien and Predator franchises have been rivals for decades, eventually crossing over in 2004's Alien vs. Predator. Though the films have a loosely similar premise (an extraterrestrial force causing mayhem for human beings), the execution is quite different. Predator revolves on a military team led by Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that is responsible for rescuing hostages from a guerrilla group in a Central American jungle. But once Schaefer and his team arrive for the rescue mission, they find out that they're dealing with an out-of-this-world enemy that's far more powerful than they realized. The film has a low Metascore, but it has spawned a franchise, including an upcoming prequel, that is standing the test of time.

"It's got thrills and chills and one of the most elegantly conceived monsters in the history of movies." – Jay Scott, The Globe and Mail