23 Best Dystopian Movies to Stream Right Now
March 3, 2023
How will the world end?
Popular dystopian movies and shows have a lot of predictions. Some are relatively (hopefully) unlikely, like a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion. However, some future predictions hit a little too close to home, especially when it comes to worldwide pandemics, government coups, global warming, and artificial intelligence (AI) entities gone rogue.
From HBO’s, The Last of Us, to movies that take us places no one has gone (or wants to go), like Maze Runner (2014), check out these seriously surreal dystopian movies and shows you’re going to want to watch for pointers on surviving an apocalypse of any kind. before the world ends (however it happens).
Best Dystopian Movies
Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)
Set in the not-so-distant future, humans have advanced AI far enough to create bioengineered humans — Replicants — to do forced labor.
In this chapter of the Blade Runner franchise, new Los Angeles Blade Runner, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), discovers a dangerous secret that leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) — a former Blade Runner who’s been missing for three decades.
Be sure to check out Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982) also streaming now on Hulu.
Watch: Blade Runner: 2049
The Maze Runner (2014)
Much like Blade Runner, Maze Runner is a classic for fans of the dystopian future/sci-fi action genre.
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) finds himself in a strange elevator with no memory of his life before — not even his name. Quickly realizing he’s not alone, Thomas exits the elevator to a dystopian society of other male teenagers determined to find a way out.
Watch: The Maze Runner**
*Live TV plan required to watch Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials on Hulu. Regional restrictions, blackouts, and additional terms apply.
**The Maze Runner is available on Hulu with HBO Max® add-on subscription.
Humanity is struggling to survive in Interstellar’s dystopian future to the point where Earthlings need a new planet to inhabit. Scientists think they’ve found three options on the other side of the universe, but the only way to get to them is by traveling via a black hole.
Former NASA pilot, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), and a team of scientists make the first trip of its kind. However, getting there is only half the battle. Cooper and his crew must also learn to survive and thrive on each of the three possible inhabitable planets.
*Live TV plan required to watch Interstellar on Hulu. Regional restrictions, blackouts, and additional terms apply.
The Matrix: Resurrections (2021)
Heart-racing action, iconic special effects, and Keanu Reeves — what more could one possibly ask for in a dystopian future film?
The newest movie in The Matrix franchise, The Matrix: Resurrections follows Neo (Keanu Reeves) as he finds himself in a world of dual reality — following the white rabbit once again.
Watch: The Matrix: Resurrections*
*The Matrix: Resurrections is available on Hulu with HBO Max® add-on subscription.
The Giver (2014)
This dystopian drama film starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep takes place in a perfect world devoid of pain and suffering of any kind. Or so it seems. Young Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) must learn from The Giver (Jeff Bridges) about the things he doesn’t know, breaking down the illusion of perfection in the process.
Watch: The Giver*
*The Giver requires SHOWTIME® on Hulu add-on subscription.
I, Robot (2004)
The year is 2035 (12 years from now — feeling old yet?) and AI robots are created by megacorporation, U.S. Robotics, to fulfill public service jobs as a product of corporate greed, racial discrimination, and propaganda.
When the company’s founder Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) is found dead by alleged suicide, Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) investigates the suspicious case despite his negative feelings about the robots.
Watch: I, Robot
Minority Report (2002)
Dystopia meets utopia in this sci-fi film set in 2054 where crime is nonexistent thanks to the pre-crime law enforcement squad. Using clairvoyant humans, dubbed Precogs, crimes are predicted before they actually happen. But do the Precogs always get it right? Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell star in this fan-favorite action/crime thriller with a dystopian twist.
Watch: Minority Report*
*Live TV plan required to watch Minority Report on Hulu. Regional restrictions, blackouts, and additional terms apply.
Logan’s Run (1976)
From the outside, the enclosed city where Logan (Michael York) lives seems idyllic. Here, humans have the freedom to enjoy all the simple pleasures of life without the pressures of productivity. But there’s a catch — every life inside the dome must be terminated at age 30 in order for society to maintain equilibrium.
Citizens inside the bubble are led to believe they are reincarnated and start the blissful cycle of life all over again, but Logan discovers what’s really going on (and it’s much darker than anyone realizes).
Can he spread the truth before it’s his turn to be “reincarnated?”
Watch: Logan’s Run
Divergent is about a dystopian society made up of five factions — each with their own set of rules, values, and virtues. When the children of a faction become teenagers, they must make the permanent choice to stay within their faction or explore another.
Follow along as Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) makes her life-altering decision while holding on to a big secret.
*Divergent is available on Hulu with HBO Max® add-on subscription.
The Congress (2013)
Aging actress Robin Wright (played by herself) is given the opportunity to be a film star indefinitely by taking advantage of new technology and preserving her likeness in an animated avatar. The digital version of her is then used in a number of animated films and shows, including an especially popular animated franchise.
When she travels to speak at an entertainment conference in Abrahama City, she’s shocked to find an animated “utopia,” where participants are required to take hallucinogenic drugs that allow them to enter the animated world as whoever they want to be — celebrities included.
Watch: The Congress
The Lobster (2015)
In a future dystopian society controlled by The City, all single adults are arrested and sent to The Hotel, where they must find a mate within 45 days — or face being transformed into an animal and released into the wild. However, if residents want to extend their time, they can hunt down the rebel singles hiding out in the woods.
When his wife leaves him for another man, David (Colin Ferrell) is sent to The Hotel where he must make a connection with someone or risk becoming a lobster.
Watch: The Lobster*
*The Lobster requires SHOWTIME® on Hulu add-on subscription.
In the future metropolis of Neo-Tokyo, Shotaro Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata) is the leader of a biker gang called the Capsules. When his friend and gang member Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) is injured during a violent protest, he’s taken to a top-secret government facility where he develops psychic abilities — the same abilities as Akira, the force that destroyed Tokyo 31 years earlier.
In this popular anime film, Tetsuo chooses to use his newfound powers for evil, forcing Shotoro Kaneda to keep Tetsuo from repeating history and destroying Neo-Tokyo.
In a self-contained apartment building, Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleson) seeks complete and total anonymity. In this enclosed setting, he seemingly has everything — an office, a grocery store, a gym, a spa, restaurants, and even a school. No one needs to leave, and most people don’t, which makes privacy hard to come by.
The high-rise is divided by income — the lower earners live on the bottom floors, while the wealthy elite live closer to the top of the 40-story building. However, when a class struggle erupts, the “perfect” place to live quickly devolves into violence and murder between the building’s wealthy top floor-dwellers and those stuck closer to the ground.
*High-Rise requires HBO Max on Hulu add-on subscription.
Dystopian TV Shows
The Last of Us
Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with the horrors of a global pandemic. HBO’s The Last of Us brings us right back to the panic we collectively experienced in 2020, this time by way of a deadly cordyceps fungus. In this fictional world, mind-controlling mushrooms take over a person’s body, turning them into zombie-like monsters.
The outbreak causes society to collapse into a scary post-apocalyptic world. Survivors Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Ashley Johnson) become an unlikely duo as they keep each other alive on a cross-country trek.
Love a good zombie apocalypse? Check out Fear the Walking Dead streaming now on Hulu.
Watch: The Last of Us*
*The Last of Us is available on Hulu with HBO Max® add-on subscription.
The Handmaid’s Tale
In Gilead, a future society led by men, women are stripped of their rights and their freedom. Any woman deemed “amoral” is forced to become a Handmaid whose only purpose is to bear children for the elite families of Gilead.
The Hulu Original series follows June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), a handmaid renamed Offred, who refuses to fall under the government’s control. As Gilead’s leaders try to “reform” her, it becomes clear that if June goes down, all of Gilead goes down with her.
Watch: The Handmaid’s Tale
Laurie Garvey (Amy Brenneman) believes the end-of-days are near, and they are — well, at least according to the cult-like group she’s in. How else can she explain the mysterious disappearance of 2% of the world’s population?
Part drama, part dystopian mystery — The Leftovers is a must-watch for fans of any genre.
Watch: The Leftovers*
*The Leftovers is available on Hulu with HBO Max® add-on subscription.
The Last Man on Earth
Dystopian pieces can be quite dark, but not this FOX comedy series starring comedy duo Will Forte and January Jones.
Meet Phil Tandy Miller (Will Forte). He’s the last man on Earth after a virus wipes out the entire human race — or so he thought. When he unexpectedly encounters another survivor, the couple pairs up and, well … do whatever they want. They’re the last people on Earth after all.
Watch: The Last Man on Earth
The passengers of Oceanic Airlines flight 815 must band together after their plane from Los Angeles to Sydney crash-lands on a remote tropical island in the Pacific. Lost is about more than survival — it’s a high-stakes dystopian drama about an accidental plane crash that might not have been an “accident” after all.
Discover the bigger and stranger powers at play in this quintessential 2000s ABC drama.
When Earth’s resources are used up, a new solar system becomes home to all of Earth’s inhabitants. In this new solar system, dozens of planets were transformed into Earth-like civilizations. The central planets formed The Alliance, which forced all of the other planets to live under their rule.
This cult classic series follows Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) as he leads a renegade crew on a firefly-class spaceship called Serenity. The crew’s work consists mainly of smuggling and cargo runs—until they find something worth fighting for.
In the TV adaptation of the hit film series, The Purge explores an alternate America ruled by a totalitarian government in which all crime is legal, including murder, for one 12-hour window each year. The horror series follows seemingly unrelated characters as they try to make it out of Purge night alive.
Watch: The Purge
Following a war that destroyed all other life on earth, a colony called New Babyl has risen from the ashes. Within the dome-covered community, citizens are ruled by a government known as the Tribunal. When children turn 16, they are invited to participate in a yearly performing arts contest called the Exemplar.
When a group of teens set to perform stumble upon an ancient archive hidden in the woods, they find books, music, and other artifacts that lead them to question everything their society has taught them.
Watch: Utopia Falls
In the year 2043, James Cole (Aaron Stanford) has been chosen to go back in time and stop the release of a deadly virus that would wipe out nearly all of the people on earth. The Army of the 12 Monkeys is the organization responsible for the virus’s 2015 release and are Cole’s targets in his journey back to save the fate of humanity. The only question is: Can Cole stop the 12 Monkeys before they succeed again?
Watch: 12 Monkeys
In a secret underground facility known as The Dollhouse,” the members or test subjects called “Actives,” live a different life every day. This happens through a process where their personalities are wiped clean each night and given a new one each morning, allowing them to be whoever the Dollhouse’s elite clients are looking for.
Echo (Eliza Dushku) is becoming self-aware—and that’s a problem.
Need a break from dystopian societies? Find some comic relief with these funny movies and shows streaming now on Hulu.