10 Great Sci-Fi Movies With Terrible Concepts

"A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream" didn't sound like blockbuster perfection...

Paramount Pictures

Sometimes the greatest films can unexpectedly come from the most head-scratching ideas, and what sounds like a laughable premise can turn out to be an instant classic of its genre.

Just look at 1996's Scream, which managed to turn "smug teens comment on slasher film cliches whilst living through a slasher movie" into an instant classic.

More recently, horror fans were surprised to see that 2016's edgy indie home invasion thriller Better Watch Out managed to wring some blackly comic scares out of (serious spoilers for the uninitiated) a killer spoiled suburban twelve year old.

As evidenced in WhatCulture’s recent rundown of horror movies whose seemingly doomed concepts turned out to be unexpected classics, this phenomenon appears throughout cinema history.

Another genre whose high concepts can result in some successes no one saw coming is sci-fi, where ambitious conceits can either be total flops or unexpectedly effective pieces of cinema depending on the director’s vision.

Often, the best sci-fi movies can come from conceits that sound terrible on paper, as evidenced in these ten classics of the genre which sound more than a little flawed when all you’ve heard is their premise.


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