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16 Mind-Bending Movies Like Ex Machina That Will Compel You to Think Deeply

Updated on June 25, 2020
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

A.I. has been an integrated part of our lives for last few years now, helping us out in almost all aspects of life. Could it be a potential danger, though? How advanced do they have to be before they’re able to deceive human beings? Can an A.I and a human fall in love?

Ex Machina tackles these questions hands-on, touching on issues like sexuality, morality, and dignity. If you watched it, it’s only fitting that you’re looking for some more movies like Ex Machina. Being a huge fan, I compiled a list of some similar movies to plug the Ex Machina shaped hole in your heart. Let’s take a look


Astronaut Sam Bell is ready to go after 3 years of his service at a station built on Moon. All these years, he had a feeling that something is seriously wrong with the way things work around here. The communication is always one way, which means that he can never communicate back to Earth. All he wants is to go back to his life. As his stint nears its end, though, he stumbles upon a sinister truth, compelling him to question his own identity. Is he the person he thinks he is? What’s going on here?

The first half raises more questions than answering. Second half is when you begin getting some concrete answers. The first few minutes might bore you. Once it gets going, though. It never lets up.

It’s a simple, thought-provoking experience that compels you to think, keeping you hooked until credits roll. In the age where aliens, vampires and werewolves seem to be the latest fad, Moon is a breath of fresh air.

If you’re looking for an indie movie like Ex Machina, Moon should be right up your ally.


The whole movie is based on the idea that time paradoxes occur whenever a comet passes by the Earth. When a couple of friends gather for dinner on one such night, things go smoothly at first before they realize that something is seriously wrong.

For all they know, there might be thousands of different versions of them on that particular night. How would you tell who is real and who is an imposter when everyone looks the same?

Where they lack in big-budget action sequences, they more than make up for it with an original storyline and flawless execution. Sure, acting looks a tad dull at places, but this is to be expected from an independent movie with a fresh cast. Still, the whole act is pretty watchable. And don’t forget; it’s the idea we’re talking about here.

In this day and age where everyone is intent of ripping off a popular movie, movies like Ex Machina and Coherence is a blessing in disguise. Coherence is one of those movies that trust you as an adult audience, filling you in on the details while letting you find the key to the puzzle. There is no hand-holding.

Overall, a brilliant piece of science-fiction that deserves to get more spotlight. Don’t miss it.

Another Earth

Another Earth has appeared out of nowhere. Everyone is curious about what it is. When Rhoda, a young girl, takes a peek at it while driving, she ends up killing someone’s pregnant wife and his son. Fast forward 4 years, she decides to meet her victim with an intention of telling him that it’s her who did it 4 years ago. Instead, she eventually falls in love with him. Meanwhile, she wins a ticket to go to Earth 2 – a planet that turned out to be a reflection of Earth 1. It also means that there is a possibility that there’s another version of his wife and kids up there. Would she tell him the truth? What would she do with the tickets?

This movie is not a hardcore science fiction. Yes, there are some sci-fi elements, but the main focus is supposed to be just a few characters trying to deal with their own demons. If you can appreciate a character-centric story, you’d love what Another Earth has to offer.

I’d suggest you to watch it alone and give it time for everything to sink in. It’s tragic yet beautiful, and you’d only see it when you pay attention to every little detail.

Cube - One of the best thrillers like Ex Machina

The plot revolves around 6 people with different set of skills, who wake up in a giant cube to find out that they’re trapped within it. With a seemingly endless length, they must cooperate and use each other’s skills to escape unscathed.

Can they avoid deadly traps set on every step? Who set them up? Why are they here? All these questions are answered one by one, easing your frustration. While the idea behind this movie is pretty simple, it must have been really difficult to execute it perfectly. It’s fascinating to see the ease with which everything was handled.

Credit should be given to this 1999 thriller for most of the popular movies we have today. If it weren’t for Cube, we wouldn’t have movies like The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner. While the fanboys would blatantly deny any sort of connection with this movie, you can’t deny that a few lessons have been learnt from Cube.


I didn’t think I’d enjoy the movie when I read the plot summary. To my surprise, though, Frequencies turned out to be mysterious, intelligent and intriguing, keeping me on the edge of the seat from the beginning to the end. If you’re into sci-fi genre, Frequencies has a lot to offer you. You’d definitely enjoy some aspects of the movie. It’s one of those movies that need you to give it more than one shot to wrap your mind around it. Only then you’d appreciate all the details you’d missed the first time around.

I wouldn’t give up anything related to the plot. Believe me; you don’t wanna know anything about the plot. If you’re looking for some underrated movies like Ex Machina, give Frequencies a go.

Primer - A low-budget movie like Ex Machina

Four friends work on an error-checking device in a garage. When one of them realizes that it can be used to travel back and forth in time, the gaps in their friendship begin to show. Two of them start using the device for their own benefit. Pretty soon, though, they realize that they chewed more than they could bite. In their effort to make things right again, they only worsen it, spiraling things out of control.

You have to be a hardcore sci-fi fan or a nerd to appreciate this movie. If you’re a casual fan, who has never heard of time-travel paradoxes, I’m afraid you’re going to find Primer to be an infuriating experience. There is so much going on that it’d overwhelm you for sure.

Some people would give up on understanding it. Others, however, would take on the challenge and watch it again. Granted it’s not very easy to follow (partly due to poor production values), the fact remains true that Primer is one of the best science fiction movies I’ve ever come across. Once you manage to wrap your mind around the whole movie, you understand what it must have been like to write the script for this movie. Despite there being so many intricacies, you’d be hard-pressed to find any loopholes in it.

If you’re looking for some hardcore movies like Ex Machina, give Primer a shot.

Source Code

Source Code doesn’t feel like your usual movie where first 20-30 minutes are spent in setting up characters and plotline. While it does have a soul-satisfying ending, there is no beginning. It starts off with a bang, and never lets up after that, keeping you on your toes.

The plot revolves around a US soldier, who wakes up in a commuter train only to find that he is embodying someone else. There is a lady next to him, who claims to be his finance. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that he is part of a government’s experiment. 8 minutes is all he has to find the bomb and the bomber before it goes off. If he fails, he’d have to go through it again. With every attempt, he gets better, inching closer to the perpetrator. Would he find out who it is before the next attacks occur?

When I saw the trailer, I thought that this is going to be another one of those movies where guy saves the girl against all the odds and takes her home. To my surprise, though, the movie turned out to be full of twists and turns. The whole time you root for the pair, hoping that they come out unscathed. Overall a touching action movie like Ex Machina that’d have you rooting for its heroes.

Triangle - A mind-bending movie like Ex Machina

Do you like movies that fuck with your mind on some other level? If you could handle the mindfuck of Primer, I’m sure you’d enjoy the challenge Triangle presents.

The plot revolves around a few passengers of a yachting trip, who find themselves trapped in a mysterious weather. With nowhere else to go, the find some respite when they see another ship floating just nearby. Things, however, get worse as they find out that there is something seriously wrong with it.

This movie plays with your mind all the time – from the beginning right till the end. It compels you to think about the movie even after it ends. You might need to give it another shot just to understand what really happened. If you have the time, I’d suggest you to watch it more than once. It’s totally worth it. Otherwise, you could always resort to online explanations.

All in all, an amazing movie that keeps you entertained all the way through. Don’t miss it.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Some movies are hard to define in words. 2001: A Space Odyssey is one such film. More than 50 years have passed since its release, and it has managed to stay ahead of contemporary movies in every regard.

You have to experience it first hand to believe it. If you’re looking for some amazing movies like Ex Machina, you must give 2001: A Space Odyssey a shot.

Honorable mentions – Other movies like Ex Machina

If you loved above movies, you should also watch The Thirteenth Floor, Timecrimes, I Origins, I’ll Follow You Down, The Jacket, Looper and Predestination. Did I miss out on any essential entries? Let me know in the comments section.


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    • RachaelLefler profile image

      Rachael Lefler 

      13 months ago from Illinois

      I kind of didn't like 'Ex Machina' because the ending felt a little cliche. I mean instant murder spree, just add AI? Why not do something more innovative when exploring fictional possibilities of technology? Why limit a character who could be interesting to just being another sexy femme fatale? Aside from that yes, it is an interesting movie. I should probably review it more in depth on my own blog. But I think these are good recommendations because while I didn't like 'Ex Machina', the recs here seem to have what I did enjoy about the movie. But I found it predictable and sexist, but like I said I should probably get into that more on my own post about it.


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