Science-fiction has long been a home to stories that seem all too possible in the near-to-distant future. Many films within the genre are meant to be cautionary tales to our own society, painting a picture of what could be should humanity go down the wrong path. Sometimes, that picture is painted with a wide brush, showing us technology we know could never exist. Every once in awhile though, we see a film that shows us a future that seems frighteningly prescient.
The greatest sci-fi films are the ones that exist in a world that feels just real enough to relate to its audience. None of us have actually traveled to the outer reaches of space, created a self-aware robot, or built a post-apocalyptic terror-mobile. But in the right situation, we can imagine a society in which any of these situations could actually occur. That’s the mark of truly great science-fiction, and it’s why the following films made this list.
1. District 9
District 9 was as much social commentary as it was a movie about aliens living on Earth. It’s not hard to imagine a world in which a stranded alien race is marginalized into living in poverty as refugees, and even more logical is that we’d immediately fear them rather than seek to learn from them peacefully. History has taught us that humanity will sooner fear what it doesn’t understand than accept it, and District 9 shows us that tendency into a brilliantly realized sci-fi context.