Last Friday, director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest dud, After Earth, hit theaters to scathing reviews and a poor box office total, despite some gaudy special effects and the presence of Will Smith. However, the film still managed to cause a stir in the media. Casual moviegoers and reviewers from across the country noticed that After Earth contains many of the themes and teachings found in the controversial Church of Scientology.
The movie’s conflicts with fear, emotion, and trauma echo many of the philosophies of the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and his beliefs that one must vanquish these thoughts in order to achieve enlightenment and defeat the evil alien spirits dwelling within us (seriously). And while Will Smith hasn’t come out publicly as a member of the church, he has donated money to the movement in the past, so it’s not unfathomable to think that he might have influenced the script in some way.
With Scientology being such a hot topic in Hollywood, it’s no surprise that the religion's themes and teachings have appeared in other films over the past few decades. To illuminate you on exactly how this enigmatic religion has been given the undercover cinematic treatment, take a look at 5 movies influenced by Scientology.