OXYGEN on Netflix is a new sci-fi thriller by Alexandre Aja. It works extremely well on most levels and Mélanie Laurent is simply brilliant as the absolute star of this movie. However, its one downfall is that the runtime is a bit too long. Read our full Oxygen movie review here!

OXYGEN is a new Netflix sci-fi thriller by horror director Alexandre Aja. This time we’re dealing with mind games more than slasher desperation. However, survival is still the main goal and it isn’t easier for our protagonist in this movie than in the classic horror films.

Overall, Oxygen works really well for me in terms of storytelling and character development. A lot is riding on the performance of Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) and she delivers a stellar performance. This Netflix genre film offers many twists and turns along the way. The ending of Oxygen also worked pretty damn well for me.

Continue reading our Oxygen movie review below and find it on Netflix. 

Is this just Buried in a hi-tech version?

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Buried by Rodrigo Cortés (starring Ryan Reynolds). However, the two are nothing alike really. For one, we do get quite a lot of flashbacks since Elizabeth “Liz” Hansen (Mélanie Laurent) needs to jog her own memory.

When she is suddenly awakened from a cryosleep, she has no idea who she is or how she ended up in this cryogenic chamber. Since the oxygen level is plummeting, she needs to get her memory back and work out how to save herself.

Also, our lead protagonist (and prisoner of a hi-tech pod) in Oxygen is interacting with an AI of sorts. And also battling this same AI when it constantly wants to give her a sedative since it registers her anxiety. Only to help, of course, but she needs to stay awake and sharp to solve the conundrum she has woken up in.

Still, I would say that if you enjoyed the claustrophobic vibe of Buried, then Oxygen should work for you as well.

Oxygen – Netflix Review

The ending of Oxygen on Netflix

There’s no need for a “Netflix movie Oxygen ending explained” because it’s all very straightforward. Sure, it’s a somewhat open ending, but overall, you shouldn’t be left with many questions.

As someone who likes to have a story wrapped up nicely, the Oxygen movie ending worked really well for me. Also, it didn’t feel forced or “too pretty”. Instead, we get the complete story before the credits come, and really, some form of an open-ending is also necessary. Unless of course, it’s the end of the entire universe as we know it.

Spoiler alert (not really), Oxygen isn’t about the end of the universe.

Also, I enjoyed that while Liz (Mélanie Laurent) is very much alone for almost the entire duration of the movie, she has the AI to talk to. Sure, it can’t answer everything, but – just like a Google search – she just keeps asking questions until she arrives at the ones the AI can actually answer. In that sense, she isn’t as much alone in this movie as one would expect.

Watch Oxygen on Netflix!

Alexandre Aja is the director of Oxygen with the script written by Christie LeBlanc. I always think of the brilliant Haute Tension (or High Tension), whenever I hear the name Alexandre Aja. However, he also delivered a very good reboot of one of the major horror classics: The Hills Have Eyes in 2006.

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More recently, he directed the alligator horror-thriller Crawl from 2019, which certainly delivered on entertainment. Of course, Alexandre Aja did also direct the 2010 horror-comedy Piranha 3D which was good fun – in both a bloody and crude way.

In other words, Aja knows his way around water-based horror stories as well as the very isolated ones like Oxygen. I really enjoyed this one, but couldn’t help but feel that it was a tad too long. Overall, I was very well entertained and would give it a 3½ out of 5 but we don’t do half ratings here at Heaven of Horror. My recommendation though: Do check it out!

Oxygen is out on Netflix globally from May 12, 2021.


Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Christie LeBlanc
Stars: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi


Oxygen is a French survival thriller directed by Alexandre Aja. The film tells the story of a young woman (Mélanie Laurent), who wakes up in a cryogenic pod. She doesn’t remember who she is or how she ended up there. As she’s running out of oxygen, she must rebuild her memory to find a way out of her nightmare.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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