Movies like Ex Machina appeal equally to fans of science fiction and horror. The film’s blend of thought-provoking concepts and intense drama is certainly a cocktail that many genre movies have attempted to make before but few have succeeded quite as well. Garland went on to direct an even more ambitious and accomplished science-fiction film, Annihilation, and the more intensely horrific film Men, however the best movies like Ex Machina are the ones that capture that same concentrated burst of high-concept ideas within the framework of an intimate thriller.

Sci-fi horror, though highly entertaining when it’s done right, isn’t the easiest subgenre to navigate without a guide. There are a number of interesting and popular science fiction movies that revolve around rogue AI, for example. These range from classic science fiction movies like Westworldto films with a more directly comedic angle like M3GAN. However, to find movies that are truly similar to Ex Machina, other considerations like scale and theoretical concepts need to be taken into account, not to mention the distinct production design elements that went into making Ex Machina‘s distinct personality.

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11 Transcendence (2014)

The main characters of Transcendence

  • Available to stream on Cinemax

Making his directorial debut after a long career as a cinematographer during which he frequently collaborated with Christopher Nolan, Wally Pfister crafted a large-scale sci-fi epic from a screenplay from The Black List that revolves around the idea of transferring human consciousness into digital form. Transcendence has a notably star-studded cast for a sci-fi movie, featuring Cillian Murphy, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, and many others. Johnny Depp leads the film as a scientist who takes a risky step to place his mind into a computer, creating wider consequences for the rest of humanity. Released some months before Ex Machina, the film is a much more extravagantly budgeted take on AI.

10 Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010)

The main character in an observation room in Beyond the Black Rainbow

  • Available to stream on Crackle

Panos Cosmatos’ sci-fi horror movie Beyond the Black Rainbow is hugely stylistic and brimming with an eerie atmosphere. The psychedelic flair of the writer/director can be felt in the movie’s strong art direction and sound design, but it’s as equally inspired by the cold tone of classic science-fiction as a movie like Ex Machina is. The comparatively minimalist plot follows a young woman attempting to escape from the clutches of a kind of New Age cult that’s imprisoned her within their secluded demonic laboratory, and it affords lots of opportunities for some bizarrely horrific sequences.

9 Moon (2009)

The main character looks at his clone in Moon (2009)

  • Available to stream on HBO Max

Sam Rockwell takes the lead role in this isolated sci-fi hit about a lonely lunar worker who discovers a psychologically devastating twist about his employment that he was never meant to know. Science fiction movies like Ex Machina revolve primarily around the mental state of their main characters, with AI programs helping the audience get a better insight into them, and Moon has its own highly memorable AI that accomplishes that brilliantly while also defying some of the more stale conventions of the genre. Directed by Duncan Jones, the movie received a semi-sequel nine years later with Mute, which takes place in the same stylishly dark and futuristic universe.

8 Marjorie Prime (2017)

Tim Robbins and Jon Hamm in Marjorie Prime

  • Available to stream on Pluto TV, Tubi, and Vudu

A sci-fi movie that focuses more on domestic drama than most do, but still with its own chilling undertones, Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of Jordan Harrison’s play of the same name is an intensely small-scaled story, much like Ex Machina and Beyond the Black Rainbow, but deals predominantly with the relationship between technology and memory. The plot concerns a small family coping with their elderly matriarch’s onset of Alzheimer’s disease and their decision to employ the use of a holographic AI system, named Prime, to keep her company and help her remember certain things. Like Ex Machina, the movie is a fascinating but often haunting portrait of inherent human flaws.

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7 Morgan (2016)

Anya Taylor-Joy in Morgan

  • Available to stream on Amazon Prime Video

A very similar movie to Ex Machina in terms of plot, Morgan takes place at a remote facility that houses the titular synthetic humanoid life form. The adolescent Morgan, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, has the appearance of a normal teenage girl but possesses lethal abilities and a dangerous will to survive the risk assessment being carried out by the company that made her. Chilling and packed with plenty of sharp turns in the story as well as a very impressive cast, the movie is the directorial debut of Luke Scott, the son of the iconic film director Ridley Scott, and he keeps up the family tradition of creepy sci-fi horror.

6 The One I Love (2014)

Sophie and Ethan looking confused in The One I Love

  • Available to stream on Cinemax

Funny, scary, and deeply thought-provoking, The One I Love has a lot of staying power even if it isn’t quite the visceral gut-punch of a movie like Ex Machina. Elizabeth Moss and Mark Duplass star in this quirky sci-fi indie movie as a couple attempting to save their fraying marriage by taking a trip to a secluded estate. But once there, they discover a much more serious problem with trust and honesty as they each have inexplicable encounters their doppelgängers, with the new and better versions of themselves having wills to live and be happy of their very own.

5 Splice (2009)

Sarah Polley and Delphine Chaneac In Splice

  • Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

Movies like Ex Machina intrigue sci-fi fans because they deal with the ever-important topic of unethical scientific experimentation and science runs amok once again in this story of scientists who create their own humanoid life form by splicing together various types of DNA. The main characters’ Frankenstein-like hubris, of course, comes back to bite them in the end. Helmed by the director of cult sci-fi horror favorite Cube, Vincenzo Natali, and with monster movie maestro Guillermo del Toro as an executive producer, Splice explores eroticism and arrogance in an unrelenting fashion that fans Ex Machina will appreciate thanks to its emphasis on classic horror tropes.

4 Her (2013)

Theodore looks at a bright computer monitor in the dark in Her

  • Available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video

Showcasing a much more sweetly upbeat and sentimental examination of artificial intelligence than is usually seen in sci-fi movies, Spike Jonze’s romantic dramedy Her follows the whirlwind relationship between a relatable loner from the not-too-distant future, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and the program that lives on his devices, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Though the futuristic spaces depicted in Her a much wider and warmer than Ex Machina and most other sci-fi movies in general, the film is still overflowing with pertinent insights into the progression of modern life.

RELATED: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Joaquin Phoenix’s Her

3 Upgrade (2018)

A man descends a flight of stairs while holding a gun in Upgrade

  • Available to stream on Peacock

The second directorial effort of famed horror screenwriter–and sometimes actor–Leigh Whannell, Upgrade is a darkly fun throwback to the heyday of Verhoeven-esque cynicism and body horror in sci-fi action movies. Following a man who is paralyzed in an attack that leaves his wife dead, needing to rely on an advanced AI system to control his body for him, the revenge plot takes a lot from Whannell’s collaborations with his creative partner James Wan, particularly the gory detective elements of their Saw franchise. Like Ex Machina, the movie also has plenty to say about freedom of choice and how that may inevitably intersect with AI technology.

2 Arrival (2016)

Amy Adams on an alien ship in Arrival

  • Available to stream on Philo

Denis Villeneuve’s first contact alien movie Arrival is sometimes lost in people’s memories due to the director’s high rate of turnover as well as his relatively newfound penchant for the science-fiction genre, despite the film being nominated for a substantial number of Oscars back when it was released, including Best Picture, though Amy Adams was famously snubbed despite a standout lead performance. Though it may not involve artificial intelligence, this thriller’s plot is all about communication and reasoning, which will resonate a lot with an Ex Machina fan, to say nothing of the effectiveness of Arrival‘s simultaneously tense and subdued atmosphere.

1 Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)

Three characters standing around computers in Colossus The Forbin Project

Hugely memorable and insightful interpretations of artificial intelligence have existed in classic sci-fi movies for quite some time and there are many iconic examples to choose from. James Cameron brought the concept of a maniacal AI into popular culture in a lastingly popular way with The Terminator, and it would be a crime to not mention the unforgettable HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, there are few that tackle the subject quite as intensely as Joseph Sargent’s 1970 cult thriller Colossus.

Filled with all the incomparable dread that only the height of Cold War paranoia could bring, the engaging story of Colossus: The Forbin Project pits the best minds of humanity against the archetypal rogue defense system that has control over the world’s nuclear weapons, and therefore the world itself. Both hugely influential and still underrated, the movie, Like Ex Machina​​​​​​, leaves the audience with a lot to think about once the credits roll.

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