The Sci-Fi Thriller Sequel On Netflix That’s A Fan Favorite

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Frank Grillo in Beyond Skyline

There is nothing quite like a good old-fashioned alien movie. The Skyline franchise has been providing big-budget sci-fi concepts with low-budget productions since 2010. The series’ best movie, Beyond Skyline, hit theaters in 2017 and is now streaming on Netflix.

Beyond Skyline is the action-focused follow-up to Skyline, taking place at the same time, and then going beyond the events of the first film.

A follow-up to 2010’s Skyline, Beyond Skyline amps up the budget and action to take the franchise to new heights. Captain America: The Winter Soldier actor Frank Grillo joins the fun as Los Angeles police detective Mark Corley, a surly father, attempts to connect with his adult son, Trent, who has struggled since the death of his mother.

In the midst of their personal drama, they experience a minor inconvenience – aliens invade Earth. Ominous blue lights descend from above and suck humans into alien ships. Among those taken is Trent.

Corley drives Beyond Skyline as he fights to get aboard the ship and retrieve his son. During his mission, he encounters characters from the first film, along with some new ones. The Raid: Redemption’s Iko Uwais joins the cast and crew as both an actor and the film’s fight choreographer.

Beyond Skyline

Corley teams with Uwais’s character, and they discover an alien-human hybrid girl whose mysterious powers may contain the key to ending the war with the alien invaders. Beyond Skyline checks in as a bombastic, bonkers ride that takes its material surprisingly far.

The filmmakers behind Beyond Skyline pitched the project as “John McClane… In an alien invasion.” Grillo’s intense, action-hero presence, combined with Uwais’s choreography, actually gets the movie pretty close to that pitch.

Critics praised Beyond Skyline as an improvement over the original, largely thanks to the complexity and intensity of its action sequences. These movies are Transformers level in scale, so that bodes well for what they are trying to accomplish.

Skyline was designed to be similar to a found-footage film, but Beyond Skyline took the franchise in a wild new direction, building on the promise of the original’s end credit sequence.

Liam O’Donnell, who penned the first film with Joshua Cordes, wrote and directed Beyond Skyline. The film was shot in Indonesia and Canada on a budget of approximately $14 million, an increase from the $10 million allocated for the first film.

Critics embraced Beyond Skyline far more warmly than they did its predecessor; the sequel carries a 67 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 15 percent of the first film. Despite a bump in budget and overall quality, the follow-up failed to find success at the box office. 

Beyond Skyline

Even after a home video release, Beyond Skyline only grossed $2.2 million. The original Skyline grossed more than $78 million. This monetary misfortune did not stop the franchise, as the team returned to the Skyline universe yet again for 2020’s Skylines.

The third entry was released as a Netflix original film, the first in the series to go straight to streaming. Given its late 2020 release, that was probably the right move. Skylines received worse ratings than Beyond Skyline but still marked higher than the original.

Skylines follows characters from the first two films as an otherworldly disease threatens the peaceful alliance forming between humans and aliens. A group of heroes must travel to the alien homeworld in search of a cure, confronting deadly adversaries along the way. As the name implies, the film draws heavy inspiration from James Cameron’s 1986 film Aliens.

The fun does not stop there. The filmmaking team behind Beyond Skyline has plans to continue expanding their sci-fi universe, and cast members like Frank Grillo have been vocal about a desire to run it back.

The third film, Skylines, didn’t fare as well with fans or critics as Beyond Skyline and never received a theatrical release.

Before Liam O’Donnell can get back in the director’s chair for the Skyline franchise, he has another film to complete. The filmmaker is currently at work on Alphas, which sees the economy of a Jaws-esque town endangered by shark attacks, leading an orca whale trainer to release his animal, a natural predator of the Great White, to clean up the mess.

A drone from Skyline

Low-budget sci-fi fare is easy to come by on streaming platforms, but Beyond Skyline is one worth watching. Its ambitious effects and high-octane action sequences make for a sequel that builds upon what came before in exciting ways. It also lays the groundwork for the insanity to continue in Skylines.

Head to Netflix and get sucked into the mothership of Beyond Skyline. If you’re feeling really wild, make it a double feature with Skylines for extra extra-terrestrial goodness.