Five Best Ethan Hawke Genre Films

Andrew Hawkins

With the home video release of the new horror thriller Regression starring Ethan Hawke, David Thewlis and Emma Watson, we’ve decided to highlight some of the best genre films Ethan Hawke has been involved in. The casual observer may not view Hawke as a genre staple but he’s carved out a terrific collection of roles over the course of his career.

Regression is a dark and brooding murder mystery, and this isn’t the first time Ethan Hawke has been involved in strange and unconventional storytelling. From science fiction to horror and back again, here is a handful of some of the actor’s best genre roles.


Predestination is an excellent mind-bending science fiction film. The time-travel crime thriller involves plenty of twists and turns and results in one of the most compelling overall plots since Looper came out in 2012. This film stands up against the likes of Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys and Christopher Nolan’s works to include Interstellar, Inception, and Memento. It’s a film that should be watched without any previous knowledge. Go into this one knowing nothing. It’s worth watching multiple times.


The Spierig Brothers make one heck of a team. With Daybreakers, the duo took what looked like a dystopian Matrix knockoff that included vampires, and made a super fun thriller and surprise gorefest. Sam Neil and Willem Dafoe are brilliant in this intense and entertaining popcorn muncher, but Ethan Hawke’s conflicted Dr. Edward Dalton helps ground the film and keeps things from going completely off the rails. This is one to watch for fans of horror themed, post-apocalyptic roller coasters featuring dystopian vampires. It’s fun.


Gattaca is arguably one of the best science fiction films ever made. The story of a young man growing up in a world where everything is decided upon from birth hearkens back to some of the greatest works of the genre to include the novels Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell. The performances in this film are stellar and the supporting characters played by Uma Thurman and Jude Law help elevate Hawke’s portrayal as Vincent to a level of excellence. This is by far one of the actor’s best.


This movie is way better than its reputation would have you believe. Sinister may not be the most original horror movie of the last twenty years, but what it lacks in creativity, it certainly makes up for in mood and ambiance. Ethan Hawke’s Ellison Oswalt is a troubled soul who gets his family killed by trying to reclaim his past fame as a true crime writer. The character is a mess, and Hawke’s portrayal is one of Sinister’s strongest attributes.


Explorers is a fantastic children’s film and a really fun science fiction fantasy. Joe Dante’s 1980s ode to the classic sci-fi films of the 50s is carried by the high energy and charismatic performance of a young Ethan Hawke. River Phoenix and Jason Presson round out the friendship trifecta in this story of adventure and following your dreams. It’s an inspiring film and manna from heaven for fans of movies from this era. Explorers is an absolute classic.

Regression hits store shelves today and is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and VOD. In the film, Ethan Hawke stars as Detective Bruce Kenner. While investigating the brutal assault of a young woman in early 90s Michigan, a plot is slowly unveiled that turns dark and disturbing very quickly. Regression is worth checking out for fans of movies like The Wicker Man and the new Sacrifice starring Radha Mitchell. With great genre films coming out every year, hopefully, we’ll get the opportunity to see Ethan Hawke continue to show us how it’s done.

Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins is a fan contributor at Fandom. He has been on the fan media scene since 2011. Arriving at Fandom by way of CHUD, and Trouble.City; Andrew loves Sci-Fi Horror movies and supervillains. His dislikes include weak plotlines and sky lasers.
Become a
Pop culture fans! Write what you love and have your work seen by millions.