The Sci-Fi Thriller On Netflix That Everyone Forgot

By Jessica Goudreault | Updated


There are plenty of great sci-fi thrillers available out there, so it’s easy to miss new films or forget about past ones. However, the 2021 film Stowaway is a suspenseful outer space drama that, once you watch it, will be difficult to forget. The film is currently streaming on Netflix, so we recommend grabbing a bowl of popcorn and giving it a watch.

Within the first few minutes of Stowaway, viewers will be glued to the screen as three crew members launch into outer space on their mission to Mars. The ship commander, a medical researcher, and a biologist are headed to Mars to see if the red planet will be able to sustain human life. When an unexpected passenger is discovered on their ship, it jeopardizes the entire mission and potentially their lives.

Stowaway follows astronauts on a flight to Mars when everything is thrown into jeopardy because of a stowaway.

On their two-year mission, tensions run high and fear begins to grip the crew members as oxygen starts running out on the ship. Audiences will feel like they’re right on board with the crew as they debate moral dilemmas and struggle to cope with their impending doom.

It shares a slightly similar premise to films like The Martian, Passengers, and, of course, Mission to Mars. Meanwhile, in real life, researchers and billionaires are searching for life on other planets, so it makes this sci-fi thriller feels more like a realistic possibility than a fictitious tale.

With only four cast members (and two uncredited actors), Stowaway still manages to keep viewers entertained throughout the nearly two-hour film. It also helps that the four cast members are incredibly talented.

anna kendrick stowaway
Anna Kendrick in Stowaway

Anna Kendrick stars as Zoe Levenson, the medical researcher who winds up on the ship thanks to a joke. Toni Collette stars as Marina Barnett, the ship commander, and she uses her natural Australian accent, which is a rare treat. Daniel Dae Kim stars as the ship’s biologist, while Shamier Anderson joins the crew as the surprise stowaway.

Joe Penna directed Stowaway and co-wrote the script with Ryan Morrison. This was the sixth project that the two have worked together on, after films like Arctic, Release, and Turning Point. The pair certainly have a fascination with sci-fi thrillers that center around abandonment and survival, as that’s the main focus of most of their projects.

Stowaway has a 76 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.6 out of 10 rating on IMDb, and it has received mixed reviews from critics and audiences.

Stowaway was filmed in Germany, specifically in Cologne and Munich, and only took about 30 days to complete. Scott Manley, a professional YouTuber and science communicator, served as a consultant during filming to help ensure it was scientifically accurate. However, some critics still found flaws in the scientific explanations, especially how a stowaway could possibly find his way onboard the ship.

stowaway netflix

The type of spaceship used in the film is a Mars Cycler, which is based on a real project that was suggested by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The ship primarily uses gravity-assist flybys, so it can’t propel itself through space except for minor course corrections. Based on this, it explains why the crew cannot just turn around and head back to Earth once they discover the stowaway and start running out of oxygen.

The film was released in the United States and Canada via Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on April 22, 2021. It was released to theaters in Germany before heading to Netflix, though the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the number of theatergoers at the time. The feeling of claustrophobia and fear was already at an all-time high during the pandemic, so it’s understandable why some audiences may have skipped seeing this film back when it was first released.

The ship in Stowaway is based on a real theoretical project that uses gravity-assist flybys, explaining why turning around isn’t an option.

Stowaway has a 76 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.6 out of 10 rating on IMDb, and it has received mixed reviews from critics and audiences.

The four cast members were all given great praise for their performances, especially Anna Kendrick and Toni Collette, though they were not nominated for any awards. Some people have criticized Stowaway for having too slow of a pace and for leaving some questions unanswered. Others also had an issue with the film’s ending, citing that it was predictable and unoriginal, but we will leave that up to you to decide.

Buckle up for some seriously great acting coupled with an intense moral dilemma when you watch Stowaway on Netflix.