20 films about virtual reality

While people around the world are surfing the Internet, filmmakers are filming thrillers and dystopias, scaring viewers with their versions of the digital future. But the change has already happened – 4.66 billion people use the Internet, of which more than 3.1 billion play video games. And how cinema represents life after the disappearance of the boundaries between real and imaginary, you can find out in this selection of the best films about virtual reality.

Main character (2021)

Fans of the computer game “GTA” were looking forward to this new movie, which has become a landmark event in both cinema and the gaming industry. In the center of the plot is a simple bank employee. His life is boring monotonous everyday life. Until one day the hero finds out that everything around is part of a grandiose video game, and he is just a character, and a secondary one. Now the fate of mankind is in his hands. We’ll have to get ahead and finally become the main player.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Free Guy

Genre:
Fantasy, Action, Comedy

Actors:
Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery …

Country:
USA, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6

Age Limits :
16+


Bliss (2021)

A new movie about virtual reality in the genre of sci-fi drama will tell about a call center employee Greg Whittley. A man will definitely not receive the title of “Best Worker of the Year” because he beats his thumbs and spends his time in the clouds. But today Greg’s day will be filled with events. First he gets fired, and then he accidentally and ridiculously kills his former boss. After hiding the corpse, Greg goes to a bar where Isabelle, a stranger, tells him shocking news. It turns out that their whole world is a simulation, and there are crystals that can change anything, including the laws of physics.

Original title:
Bliss

Genre:
Drama, fantasy, romance

Actors:
Owen Wilson, Salma Hayek, Nesta Cooper …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.4

Age restrictions:
18+


Loading (TV series 2020)

The events of the serial film in the comedy genre take place in the future, where people have the opportunity to upload their consciousness into cyberspace. These technologies allow you to actually gain immortality. However, there are a number of inconveniences. For example, it’s hard to find entertainment when you live forever. In addition, the possibilities of the virtual universe are limited by your budget. The programmer Nathan finds himself in this peculiar afterlife after his death in an accident.

Original title:
Upload

Genre:
Fantasy, comedy, detective

Actors:
Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Kevin Bigley …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 8.0


In someone else’s shoes (2020)

Murders with the help of brain implants – the creators of this film in the fantasy genre about virtual reality prophesy exactly such a terrible future. Thanks to special electrodes, killers enter the body of another person, completely suppressing his will. And then they kill the controlled body, otherwise it will not work to disconnect from it. Once the killer has a problem with leaving the body – the owner begins to fight. The one who was used as a puppet suddenly resists and becomes an equal hero of a bloody old-school body horror.

Original title:
Possessor

Genre:
Fiction, thriller

Actors:
Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland …

Country:
UK, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Ready Player One (2018)

An excellent dystopia with stunning visuals and references to the good old 80s – a film based on the novel by Ernest Cline. In 2045, the planet is plunged into chaos. Instead of reality, people choose the OASIS game world, where you can become anyone you want. Soon, one event will shake gamers – the creator of digital reality, James Holliday, leaves a will. In order to inherit the state of a computer genius, it is necessary to collect all the clues scattered throughout the OASIS universe. The simple guy Wade joins the race for inheritance along with his friends.

Original title:
Ready Player One

Genre:
Fantasy, action, adventure

Actors:
Tai Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn …

Country:
USA, India

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.4

Age Limits :
12+


Dreams (TV series 2018)

The series about virtual reality will tell about Onira-Tech’s clients who do not want to part with digital illusions and return to their present. It is impossible to pull out the refuseniks by force. And a corporation that provides immersion services in cybernetic reality is hiring Mara Kent. The woman is a former police detective and has a background as a behavioral expert. The purpose of her new job is to penetrate other people’s dreams and convince people stuck there to return.

Original title:
Reverie

Genre:
Fantasy, thriller, drama

Actors:
Sarah Shahi, Dennis Haysbert, Sendhil Ramamurthy …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Jumanji (dilogue, 2017 and 2019)

How can a frail nerd become a jock in a few minutes, and a modest girl – a beauty with knowledge of martial arts ? That’s right, you need to get into artificial reality. Four teenagers are transported to the video game Jumanji and try on the role of characters whose qualities are not characteristic of them in life. Spencer, Fridge, Bettany and Martha will have to solve dangerous mysteries, run from rhinos, speak snakes, fly a helicopter and fight guard jaguars. The main thing is not to waste three lives. Otherwise, it will be impossible to exit the game and return home.

Original title:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Genre:
Fantasy, action, comedy, adventure

Actors:
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


AnotherLife (2016)

In the list of the best foreign films about life in virtual reality is a crime fantasy thriller . Ren Amari is the inventor of an innovative drug. By applying it, a person enters the digital world, chosen by him. Another feature of the world of dreams is that a few hours in ordinary life are equivalent to years spent in fantasy. The government decides to use the development to serve time to prisoners by immersing their minds in a mock prison . By coincidence, Ren herself ends up in such a prison.

Original title:
OtherLife

Genre:
Fiction, thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Jessica De Gau, Liam Graham, Fiona Press …

Country:
Australia, UAE

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Theorem Zero (2013)

Another bewitching utopian world of the future, fun playing with the mind of the viewer, from Terry Gilliam – the creator of the film “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. A brilliant computer scientist gets permission to work remotely. And in return, the boss requires the hermit to work on the zero theorem. With the help of simulation programs and a virtual suit, the hero begins to explore the nooks and crannies of human consciousness. He is surrounded by a futuristic world of madness, and the genius himself walks around the house naked, talking about himself in the plural and whiled away the time with a virtual prostitute .

Original title:
The Zero Theorem

Genre:
Fantasy, thriller, drama, comedy

Actors:
Christoph Waltz, Gwendolyn Christie, Rupert Friend …

Country:
UK, Romania, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Tron: Legacy (2010)

The sequel to the old cyberpunk 80s with cool visuals. While the new VR movie didn’t get a high rating, the action movie was well received by sci-fi fans. After the disappearance of Kevin Flynn, his son Sam is the sole heir to a huge computer corporation. Starting his own investigation , a 27-year-old man discovers that his father is alive, but not in reality, but in cyberspace, where he was locked up for many years. Together with him, Sam goes on a journey through the world of programs and gladiatorial battles .

Original title:
Tron

Genre:
Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Actors:
Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.8

Age Limits :
12+


Gamer (2009)

There are two popular virtual spaces in the future. “Society” is a simulation of life where the player can do whatever they want with the character, including mutilation. The characters are real people who voluntarily provide their body as an avatar for a fee. Shooter game for men “Killers” – here, convicted criminals act as avatars, who receive freedom for winning 30 rounds. John Tillman is the favorite among the death rowers, having survived a record 27 matches, and is rushing to win.

Original title:
Gamer

Genre:
Fiction, Action, Thriller

Actors:
Gerard Butler, Amber Valletta, Michael C. Hall, Kira Sedgwick …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 5.8

Age Limits :
18+


Sleep Trader (2008)

A fantastic film about a future where the entire population is controlled by a global network. Americans can use the labor of residents of third countries of the world, not letting them into their territory. These new guest workers working remotely are being called “sleep traders”. They control robots from a distance – builders, waiters, nurses, receiving deductions from pay for every hour of sleep. It is this profession that the main character Memo chooses. Having moved from the countryside to the city, stuffed with cameras, he quickly attracts dangerous attention.

Original title:
Sleep Dealer

Genre:
Fiction, thriller, drama, melodrama

Actors:
Luis Fernando Peña, Metzli Adamina, Jose Concepcion Macias …

Country:
Mexico, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.6, IMDb – 6.0

Age restrictions:
18+


Avalon (2001)

Avalon is an illegal computer game where users fight inside cyberspace. Ash is a super fighter who makes a living from his ability to win in the digital world, without his gaming helmet looks like an ordinary girl in the crowd. One day, an old acquaintance approaches her with a request to join the team in order to complete a dangerous mission together. Soon Ash will get to the most difficult stage of the game, from where they often do not return.

Original title:
Avalon

Genre:
Fiction, fantasy, action movie, thriller, drama

Actors:
Malgorzata Foremniak, Vladislav Kowalski, Jerzy Gudeiko …

Country:
Japan, Poland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Virtual Nightmare (2000)

A fantastic film with an interesting plot and original ideas, many of which seem even deeper than in The Matrix, filmed a year before the release of this film. Dale has everything – a beautiful house, a favorite job, cars and money. However, he is haunted by strange dreams and visions. An attempt to understand his mind leads the hero to a frightening discovery – he is inside a computer game, and everything that surrounds him is not real.

Original title:
Virtual Nightmare

Genre:
Fantasy

Actors:
Michael Muney, Tasma Walton, Todd McDonald…

Country:
Australia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 6.3


The Matrix (trilogy, 1999 and 2003)

At one time, the film won millions of fans around the globe, becoming the canon of a fantastic smart action movie, full of fights, shootouts and philosophical allegories. A hacker named Neo follows cryptic messages that lead him to an equally mysterious mentor, Morpheus. Thomas Anderson learns the truth – his reality is actually a computer simulation, and intelligent machines have long taken over the world. The programmer joins a group of people from the resistance, cut off from the virtual network, and believing that Neo is the Chosen One.

Original title:
The Matrix

Genre:
Fantasy, Action

Actors:
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Monica Bellucci …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.5, IMDb – 8.7

Age Limits :
16+


Thirteenth Floor (1999)

The film is based on a 1960s novel by writer Daniel Galue and is a mix of noir and science fiction. On the thirteenth floor of a megacorporation skyscraper, scientists have created an ideal virtual world model that simulates Los Angeles in 1937. When a person connects to it, he enters the body of one of the inhabitants, completely absorbing his consciousness and controlling him. The creation of this technology led to a whole chain of mysterious murders, which Douglas Hall will have to figure out. After all, he is the prime suspect.

Original title:
The Thirteenth Floor

Genre:
Fiction, thriller, detective

Actors:
Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Muller-Stahl …

Country:
USA, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Existence (1999)

The thriller failed at the box office, but the reviews say that this fantastic horror film still found its audience. In the future, a game has been created that can erase the boundaries between reality and virtual life. At the presentation of an extraordinary novelty, someone makes an attempt on its creator, Allegra Gella. During the attack, the game system was damaged, and in order to find out how destructive the breakdown is, Allegra, along with her assistant, must play herself.

Original title:
eXistenZ

Genre:
Horror, fantasy, thriller

Actors:
Jennifer Jason Lee, Jude Law, Ian Holm…

Country:
Canada, UK, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Nirvana (1997)

It will continue our top film with a cult status, which is worth watching for every fan of cyberpunk, science fiction and auteur cinema with hidden meanings and symbols. Genius programmer Jemmy creates a game based on virtual reality. However, the scientist soon realizes that one of the characters in the game has quite human emotions and feelings. Now Jamie will have to get into the digital space himself in order to fix the problem.

Original title:
Nirvana

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, detective

Actors:
Christopher Lambert, Diego Abatantuono, Sergio Rubini …

Country:
Italy, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
18+


Virtual Reality (TV series, 1995 – 1997)

Sydney Bloom is a lonely girl who lost her family in a car accident. Her social circle is Duncan’s friend and Penelope the parrot. And the girl often hides from problems in virtual reality. One day, during a session on the Internet, Sydney gets into the subconscious of her neighbor, and later realizes that events taking place in the digital world change the real one. In search of the truth, she turns to Dr. Frank Morgan and learns about the existence of a secret government organization.

Original title:
VR.5

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, adventure

Actors:
Laurie Singer, Michael Easton, Anthony Head …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
12+


Lawnmower Man (1992)

The protagonist of the film is the scientist Lawrence, who is confident that the intellect can be made more powerful with the help of computer technology. He tests his theory on the mentally retarded lawn mower Jobe. After training, Jobe really turns into a genius. But as his intelligence grows, the guy becomes a dangerous psychopath , eager to take over the whole world. The film was intended to be an adaptation of a Stephen King novel . However, the thriller had so little to do with the original story that the king of horror sued to have his name removed from the credits.

Original title:
The Lawnmower Man

Genre:
Horror, fantasy

Actors:
Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright …

Country:
UK, USA, Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 5.4

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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