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11 Movies like Sunshine to Watch if you like Mind Bending Films

movies like sunshine

If you liked this excellent science fiction film from Danny Boyle, then check out these movies like Sunshine that we think you’ll enjoy.

50 years in the future, eight astronauts are travelling to the Sun. They are a dying Earth’s last hope after the original Icarus missions failed. They have to drop a massive nuclear bomb into the sun, to kickstart the dying star. However, even the sharpest minds become irrational, as they grow closer to the unimagine pressure of the sun. 

Sunshine is a genius film. Danny Boyle creates a sense of intense tension as the film progresses and our astronauts come face to face with the sun. The film makes you feel a lot of emotions the astronauts are feeling. The feeling of extreme claustrophobia, being stuck in a metal box with nothing around you for millions of miles, only empty space. To be far away from for years and years stuck with the same people, all slowly losing their minds under the influence of the sun. 

At the time of its release, it didn’t do so well, but as the years have passed, Sunshine has become something of a cult classic. It’s an underrated film that needs to be appreciated a lot more. If you liked Sunshine, and want to watch similar movies, check the films below.

Also Check Out: 10 Seriously Awesome Sci-Fi Movies like Super 8

List of Movies Like Sunshine(2007)

  1. Moon
  2. Event Horizon
  3. Contact
  4. Children of Men
  5. Europa Report
  6. Ad Astra
  7. Pandorum
  8. Solaris
  9. Melancholia
  10. 2001: Space Odyssey
  11. The Martian

Honourable Mention – The Expanse

Moon

Same Bell is an astronaut who been on working on the dark side of the moon. He maintains a research and mining facility that harvests the moon’s Helium to send to the earth. At the end of his 3-year contract, he prepares to go back to earth, but things go very, very wrong. I won’t spoil the whole thing, you have to watch it to experience it. 

Moon is one of the best sci-fi films I’ve ever seen and it’s very, very similar to Sunshine in a low of ways. It makes you feel the loneliness and isolation stuck on another planet, all by yourself with no company and no contact with the human world. The film makes you question your own mind and sanity as well as your sense of reality as the story progresses. If you like slow-burn, sci-fi thrillers, you have got to watch this film.

Event Horizon

At first, Event Horizon seems your typical sci-fi film set in space, in the future. There is a group of astronauts on a mission to rescue and investigate the truth about a spaceship that disappeared inside a black hole years ago. As the story unfolds, you quickly come to realize, it so much more than sci-fi, it’s a horror film set in space and a very good one. 

It’s a very atmospheric film with a very creepy vibe. There are no cheap jump scares and ghosts, the real horror comes in the form of the unknown vastness of space. Fear is a strong emotion and you can feel it in all the characters, as they try and fulfill their mission, fighting against a vast scary unknown entity. 

As the story progresses, the crew of the spaceship experience increasingly disturbing things. There wouldn’t be much point in spoiling any more of the plot here, but I would definitely recommend this for the fans of sci-fi horror and thrillers. 

Contact

The movie Contact is about Dr Ellie Arroway and how she handles being alone in a world without family or close friends. It’s her love for science and her curiosity for all things unknown that keeps her going. Ellie is working in a scientific military base when she apparently receives a message from outer space. 


The film in turn makes you think about how isolated all of us are.  a race stuck on a large spinning ball, alone with no other visible life, outside of our planet. It’s adapted from a book by Carl Sagan and is an exploration of Religion vs Science.

With such a heavy subject matter, the reviews for the film are very polarizing. However, I personally love the film. It’s a movie that everyone should get to watch at least once in their lives. 

Children of Men

I am not sure I am qualified to talk about this masterpiece of a film, but I’ll give it a go. Children of Men is universally thought of as one of the best sci-fi films ever, if not the best. The film is set in the future, where all women have become infertile and humans have stopped reproducing. In this cruel dystopian world,  a miracle happens, and a woman gets pregnant and the protagonist helps her escape to a safe sanctuary. To reveal any more would be a crime. 


The film delves into a lot of socio-political issues but manages to maintain the title of being a science fiction film first. It portrays a disturbingly real image of what the future of the human race could look like through a very sophisticated lens. The acting and cinematography are impeccable. It’s a must-watch for all sci-fi enthusiasts. 

Europa Report

Six astronauts go on a journey of exploration to the moon Europa, one of Jupiter’s moon. There has been a discovery of microorganisms under the icy ocean surface of the moon and our crew is out to explore them.

What we see in the film is the recorded footage of the crews’ camera footage. It’s a found-footage horror film, set in space. This film was made on a relatively low budget compared to most of the films on this list but it manages to utilize its limited resources very effectively.

It’s primarily a film in the of a study of human psychology with the search for extraterrestrial life as the plot device. It deals with the reality of exploring life outside of earth and what it’s consequences could be. It’s an interesting film that fans of  Sunshine should definitely check out. 

Ad Astra

Ad Astra has received a lot of hate, and it’s understandable. It’s a misunderstood film. It’s an emotional drama set in space, rather than a film about space travel. Ad Astra is the story of a troubled man(Brad Pitt) with has unresolved father issues about abandonment.

His astronaut father leaves him on earth as a child, never to come back. To seek closure and explore what happened to his father, Brad Pitt’s character sets out on a journey in space to look for his father, helped by the government who is also looking for him.

Just like in the movie Sunshine, the film makes you think about all the things we take for granted like family, relationships, friends, and what the real important things in life are. It’s not the best film on the list, but if you’re feeling particularly bored, you should give Ad Astra a chance. 

Pandorum

Two Astronauts wake up in a spaceship with no memory of who they are how they got there. While one of them stays behind looking for what their mission might be and awaiting contact from anyone, the other ventures out into the big ship and quickly comes to the realization that they are not alone on the ship. There’s something sinister in there, intent on hunting them. 


The movie has a lot of psychological aspects like Sunshine. Pandorum takes a lot of ideas from other films like Alien and The Descent, but it’s not a bad thing. The story can feel somewhat similar to Event Horizon but this combination of good ideas from different sources, executed well results in a well made, polished film. Pandorum is an underrated horror sci-fi that you should definitely check out. It has a lot of thrills to offer, from psychological to real horror. 

Solaris

If you liked the philosophical, psychological aspect of the movie Sunshine, then you’ll the movie Solaris. It explores the human condition in a way that movies like Contact and 2001 do. Solaris is not about space adventures or a thriller story, it has more to do with ideas and concepts.


A lot of people hate Solaris and if you’re looking for action and hardcore sci-fi, this one might not be for you. That being said it’s a great film. The cast does a great job and the production is top-notch. George Clooney is brilliant as always. It’s a smartly written, well thought out film that keeps you thinking about it days after you’ve watched it. If you are in need of some intellectual entertainment, Solaris is the film for you. 

Melancholia

All films of Lars Von Trier are very hard to recommend, as the reviews for all of his work are heavily polarised. People either hate his films or love them to death. Although I’m not a big Lars Von Trier Fan, Melancholia holds a very special place in my heart. I feel like I can relate to Kirsten Dunst’s character a lot. The way she does on a self-destructive streak and then falls into a heavy depression was eerily reminiscent of my own experiences. 

As the crew is heading towards the Sun to their inevitable end, there’s a large planet hurtling through space coming closer and closer to the earth. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s very much like Sunshine in how the characters behave when faced with threats beyond their comprehension. Melancholia is grand in scope, yet will make you feel helpless. If depression had a visual representation, it’s Melancholia. Please give this film a watch, it’s one of my favorites. 

2001 A Space Odyssey

2001 A Space Odyssey is a legendary film by the master of the craft Stanley Kubric. I can’t really say anything about this film that hasn’t been said before. 2001 is widely considered to be the best sci-fi film ever made. When it was made in 1968 it was generations ahead of its time.


2001 has inspired and influenced hundreds of films that came after and it is regarded as the gold standard of filmmaking. This film is a technological marvel, a once in a lifetime type of film. Although it’s over 50 years old now, the genius of the film and the visual effects still hold up. It could be compared to what James Cameron did with Avatar Hollywood. Seriously, watch it if you still haven’t.  

The Martian

After a crew of Astronauts get stuck in the middle of a giant sandstorm on the planet of Mars, they have no choice but to abandon the mission and get out of the planet. Mark Watney, one of the crew, is missing and is presumed dead, so they leave the planet without him. However, Watney survives, the only man remaining on with very limited resources. 

The Martian is a story of a man who survives when all odds are stacked against him and he does it with a smile and a good attitude. We can all learn a little bit about perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds from Matt Damon’s character. The Martian is an excellent lighthearted sci-fi flick and you should watch it. 

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward