Given that astral projection is such an intriguing and mysterious concept/phenomenon, it comes as no surprise that the film industry sought to capitalize on its appeal quite a number of times.
Some of the artistic efforts resulting from the cinematic exploration of astral projection turned out to be rather documentary-like. Others saw the creators take sometimes unexpected artistic liberties in regards to the phenomenon. All the movies included in the list below are well worth seeing though, as they – in my humble opinion – represent the cream of the crop of astral projection cinematography.
Insidious lends AP a dark twist, focusing on one of the worst fears of travelers of the astral plane: having their bodies possessed by evil entities while they’re projecting.
From the creators of Paranormal Activity and Saw, Insidious sets the benchmark for AP horror movies.
The film is about a family whose AP-capable son, Dalton, gets trapped in a realm called The Further, as his body becomes “haunted” by the evil entities populating that astral plane.
The movie depicts the struggles of the family and those who come to their aid, and the terrifying happenings unleashed by the dwellers of The Further.
Though it “only” earned a score of 6.8/10 on IMDB, the movie was deemed successful enough to sprout a series of sequels, which continued “milking” the original plot.
Doctor Strange (2016)
A more recent – and by IMDB-standards: more successful – movie, Doctor Strange is not focused on astral projection. Instead, the film is in effect the genesis of a Marvel Avengers superhero, Doctor Strange – brought to life by Benedict Cumberbatch’s talent – with astral projection only appearing as an occasional side-theme.
A brilliant but conceited and arrogant neurosurgeon, Dr. Strange is pushed into the realm of the mystic arts by a car accident. Having to cast pride and ego aside, the main character learns how to use the ambient energy of the universe to travel to different dimensions and to perform visually impressive feats of “magic” – thereby also satisfying the itching fingers of the special effects team that worked on the movie.
His repertoire of metaphysical abilities includes astral projection too.
The protagonist of the movie is a young billionaire, in need of a heart transplant, who finds himself on the operating table, under the hands of surgeon who is his best friend. After he’s put under before the operation, he realizes that he is in fact wide awake, albeit unable to move or interact in any way with his physical surroundings.
To his horror, he overhears the medical team talking about murdering him.
As he turns his attention to the astral realms instead of the physical one in his awkward condition, he actually meets the person who donated the heart he’s about to receive and they manage to talk before the latter dies.
The film is rated 6.5/10 at IMDB.
Our Home (Nosso Lar) Astral City (2010)
Rated slightly lower at 6.3/10 is a movie of many titles. Known as Our Home (Nosso Lar – its original, Brazilian Title), or Astral City: a Spiritual Journey, this Brazilian movie is squarely about the afterlife.
The protagonist, a certain Dr Andre Luiz – about whom we learn that he is a selfish man, who does not dedicate enough time to his family – dies and becomes trapped in a world located in the astral plane.
As he soon learns though, this world (called Umbral; Spanish for “Threshold”) is something akin to heaven: a place of harmony where the souls of the deceased exist under rather ideal circumstances, awaiting reincarnation.
Eventually, due to the enlightenment so generously dispensed by the Astral City, the character of the protagonist undergoes a radical change for the better.
An interesting fact about the movie is that it is based on book by the well-known Brazilian medium Chico Xavier.
The Good Night (2007)
A self-described comedic fantasy, the Good Night is not so much about astral projection as it is about lucid dreaming.
Featuring an A-list cast, the movie has protagonist Gary Shaller (Martin Freeman), a burnt-out British pop star, at a crossroads: unhappy and depressed, he meets a young woman, Anna (Penelope Cruz) in his dreams.
Honing his dream-wise skills, Shaller manages to take control over them, thus turning his in-dream relationship with Anna into a full-fledged affair.
His dream-world and woman the very definition of perfection, the commercial jingle-writer finds himself unwilling to do anything but sleep.
The Good Night’s 5.8/10 IMDB rating is a little disappointing, though the movie does not actually aim to transcend its “comedic fantasy” condition anywhere along the line.
Out of the Body (1989)
With an even lower IMDB rating of 4.3/10, Out of the Body does actually revolve around its protagonist’s astral projecting abilities.
Enveloped in the undeniable aura of 80s B-movies, a streak of gruesome murders of seemingly supernatural execution, has the population of Sydney, Australia, on edge.
David, the above-mentioned protagonist, manages to witness some of the murders through his AP skills. Being able to deliver suspiciously exact details about the homicides ends up landing him in hot water with the police though.
With both the law and the forces of the dark-side lined up against him, he attempts to do what’s right: try to save the lives of those he knows are next in line to meet their maker in an explosion of ridiculously campy 80s special effects.
Dreams Come True (1984)
Sticking with the 80s, Dreams Come True – a movie the central theme of which is astral projection – is halfway between an “unusual comedy fantasy” and the very first “sensual comedy about astral projection.”
Of an undeniable 80s pedigree, the film is the story of two random people who can astral project and who learn that doing the deed together can indeed be more fun than going it alone.
Using astral projection, they explore a multitude of interesting places and situations, going all the way to the ends of the Earth (which is apparently located right below the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France).
Along the way, as the protagonists experience various romantic situations, the movie even manages to tickle the funny-bone of the viewer – though it may not be its actual intention.
Rated 6.4/10 at IMDB, Dreams Come True is not a bad movie. It is light and dare I say: funny take on AP.
Altered States (1980)
Altered States is living testimony to the fact that not all movies created in the 80s need to be campy and comedic.
Considered by many a greatly underrated science fiction classic, the movie follows the experiments of a certain Eddie Jessup (William Hurt), a somewhat eccentric Harvard scientist, who employs an isolation chamber and a number of dubious hallucinogens used by indigenous Mexicans, to induce altered mental states.
His experiments are so successful, he taps into a part of his own brain which causes him to regress genetically.
The film is surprisingly well put-together from several angles, and thus it is indeed fully deserving of the 6.9/10 IMDB rating it attained.
That said, it is not as clearly AP-focused as some of the titles discussed above.
If I Stay (2014)
A romantic tear-jerker, If I Stay is in an entirely different league from some of the more or less similar 80s movies discussed above. That said, its 6.8/10 IMDB rating is hardly an accurate reflection of this fact.
Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, the movie serves up the life story of a talented young cellist, whose pre-movie-plot-trigger life borders on perfection. All that blows right up though when she finds herself in a car accident (the above said plot-trigger) that destroys her family and leaves her astral body separated from her physical one.
Stuck halfway between life and death, and fully aware of the changes ushered in by the said plot trigger, she is faced with a major decision: does she decide to return to physical life and live on without her parents, or does she move on to heaven…
A word of warning about this film: calling it a tear-jerker is by no means an exaggeration. It can apparently also be quite addictive: there are people who can’t seem to stop watching and re-watching it over and over.
Psychic Killer (1975)
Being the first movie to deal with astral projection, Psychic Killer is in a category of its own. Instead of being a spot-on depiction and documentary-like presentation of the phenomenon, it serves as a benchmark for the evolution of the concept of astral projection in cinematography.
The movie’s main antagonist is a mental patient who learns to astral project and uses his newfound skills to exact revenge on those he believe have wronged him.
Committing murder after murder without leaving any traces behind, Arnold James Masters brings the dark side of AP into play again.
By any standards, Psychic Killer is indeed a horror movie.
The viewer sees the events unfold from the perspective of Police Lt. Jeff Morgan, the protagonist, whose goal is to chase down the AP-powered killer and to put an end to his bloody vengeance-spree.
The IMDB rating of this film is 4.7/10.
Flatliners (1990 and 2017)
The original version of the film (the 1990 one) is without a doubt the more successful and better received of the two.
Benefiting from an all star cast, the 1990 Flatliners explores the concept of the near death experience and everything associated with it, including Astral Projection.
The plot has five medical students exploring the altered state of consciousness on the boundary between life and death. One of medical science’s greatest mysteries, the central premise of the movie is certainly an intriguing one.
The five protagonists, brought to life through the acting skills of Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin, and Oliver Platt, willingly undergo artificially induced clinical death, followed by resuscitation.
In the beginning, their NDEs seem to follow the expected blueprint. Soon however, haunting elements of their pasts jump to the forefront, creeping into their waking lives and giving the experiment a supernatural turn.
Flatliners 2017 tries to snap up the same concept and run with it. Unfortunately, it falls flat as soon as it strays from the mold of the original. Not even its solid cast can save it from going down as a hardly noteworthy attempt at a remake.
Flatliners 1990 has been rated 6.6/10 at IMDB, while the 2017 remake only scored 5.2/10.
The Blue Man (Eternal Evil) 1985
A made-for-television film, The Blue Man does not betray its pedigree. Marketed in Canada under its original title, and in Australia as “Eternal Evil,” this work of art has Astral Projection as its central theme. Yet, it somehow fails to teach the viewer anything about it.
The main character of the movie is a TV commercial director, who finds little satisfaction is his career and day-to-day life. To mend that situation, he learns how to astral project, from a mysterious woman (Karen Black).
He then puts his newly acquired powers to use, terrorizing and even murdering some people.
A side plot follows a police investigator, who tries to make heads and tails of a series of killings presumably committed by the protagonist.
The film is meant to be a horror, thought it misses the mark in that regard, ending up in psychological thriller territory instead.
Available for viewing in its entirety on YouTube, The Blue Man depicts astral projection as a sort of spiritual vampirism. The person performing the act of AP in it, takes over others’ bodies in the real, physical world.
Its goofy execution and cumbersome special effects fail to convey a sense of dread however. It likely won’t have AP enthusiasts thinking twice about the potential dangers of walking the astral planes…
Enter the Void (2009)
This film gives the viewer a glimpse into the mental states generated by psychedelic drugs, but more importantly: into the astral projection episode some Near Death Experiencers have reported.
Enter the Void is not a run-of-the-mill cinematic experience by any measure. The sheer length of the film (which with some versions approaches three hours), can be patience-testing. That said, the plot goes through all of its main elements in the first 90 minutes.
Following the life, death and post-death of Oscar, an American drug dealer in Tokyo, Enter the Void morphs into a psychedelic visual experience leaving its own story far behind.
The depiction of this post-death state is impressive to say the least. The visual effects are spot-on, grabbing the viewer and dragging him/her right along Oscar’s journey of the astral planes.
This journey starts when the police shoot him and he begins floating above his own body. From there, he gains a dead person’s eye view of the sorrow which befalls his sister Linda, and some aspects of life, right down to the molecular level.
Enter the Void made shallow waves at the box office. Its critical reception, though sometimes contradictory, was generally great however.
Its 7.2/10 IMDB rating is testimony to the “hidden gem” nature of this project.
Astral may not be a particularly successful or popular film. Its IMDB rating is just 5.6/10 after all…
None of this means however that it is not a hidden gem for Astral Projection enthusiasts. In fact, its depiction of the experience is more accurate than that of most other similarly themed films.
It explores Astral Projection from the very perspective of the enthusiast, educating and bringing some scary aspects of it to the forefront.
Protagonist Alex Harmann (Frank Dillane), is a student of metaphysics, who becomes obsessed with the concept of Astral Projection. He takes a scientific approach to opening a passage to the astral planes.
Unfortunately, what he finds in this alternative dimension is not the chance to reconnect with his deceased mother. Instead, his body becomes possessed by sinister entities looking to use it as a portal to the physical world.
Beyond the Astral Projection element, the artistic value of the film is more than decent. The same can definitely be said about the quality of the acting as well.
Its abrupt ending something of a letdown, Astral still stands out as a must-see movie for those even remotely interested in astral projection, if for no other reason, then for the step-by-step instructions it offers for achieving AP.
The Astral Factor (1978)
In spite of its name, 1978’s Astral Factor, a low-budget crime thriller, mostly falls outside the scope of Astral Projection.
The film focuses on a convicted strangler, who is spending time behind bars as the plot begins to unfold.
Having acquired paranormal skills in jail, the main character turns himself invisible and goes after the five women who helped convict him. His newfound skills far exceed invisibility however. He can also remotely move objects while his eyes give off a cartoonish red glow.
The Astral Factor’s special effects have definitely not aged well, though the movie itself is quite intriguing and entertaining in a campy sort of way.
If you are good at suspending disbelief, you might enjoy this piece of cinematographic art, though be forewarned that it hardly has anything to do with astral projection.
Does the 3.6/10 IMDB rating do the movie justice? In light of the above, it probably does.
The good news is that The Astral Factor is apparently in the public domain now so you can view it for free, in its entirety at YouTube.
Astral Projection (2015)
Caleb Harder’s 2015 short, Astral Projection, is hardly a unique take on the phenomenon. That said, it has managed to cram quite a bit of content into a little over 10 minutes.
The protagonist of this mini psychological thriller is a young woman (Elisabeth Crosby) who keeps having dreams that later turn out to have actually occurred in the physical world.
She witnesses a woman assaulted and then murdered, in what she believes to be a dream.
When she decides to research the strange phenomenon, she realizes that she is in fact astral projecting and witnessing real life events as they happen.
Eventually, the astral realm spills into the real world, as the astral projector herself becomes a victim of foul play.
While some of the acting bits are amateurish, the short is one well worth watching for AP enthusiasts and fans of the psychological thriller genre. It is available for viewing in its entirety on YouTube.
Astral Projection is yet to earn a rating at IMDB.