Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction horror film that tells the story of a group of military scientists who enter “The Shimmer”, a mysterious quarantined zone of mutating landscapes and transforming creatures. The film was written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. It’s also based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. It was written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later)
This one might be a little hard to go over without giving a lot of spoilers away, but I’m going to try hard not to do that to you. The main thing to know about this film is that it may take another watch or two in order to grasp what’s actually going on. Not to mention some pretty cool visuals as well. Those alone are well worth another watch in my opinion. However, this movie itself is a little bit out there, and I know there will be many people that are not going to get it. At least, possibly on the first viewing. What I found the funniest of all, was when I asked co-workers or family members that ‘have’ seen it their thoughts on it. Let me tell you now, this can be a hoot! Being fair though, I can see why some people may not end up liking this movie, with the plot and ending being so very confusing. Not only that, it doesn’t really answer all the questions you will no doubt have.
However, if you’re an H. P. Lovecraft fan, and love the Lovecraftian/Cosmic horror aspects over the blood, gore and constant sci-fi action, then this will probably be a very enjoyable movie for you. It has all the eerieness and deep mystery that you will love, and I can almost guarantee some fine goosebumps running up and down your arm. The film also has some of the best sound designing you’ve probably ever hear. Seriously, it’s mind-blowing amazing. You’re going to want to watch this one on the biggest screen TV you have and cranked up to maximum volume. And then prepare to be annihilated.
Like I said, I don’t want to put an overabundance of detail into this review because honestly, the subtleness of the movie is what makes it, so a play by play would absolutely ruin it. Annihilation is basically a story about a biologist and a group of military scientists who enter a quarantined zone called “the shimmer”. The biologist, Lena, whose character is played by Natalie Portman volunteers so that she to find out what happened to her husband while there, and why he returned barely alive from The Shimmer. Once inside they discover that something incredibly strange and unknown has changed everything that’s biological. You are experiencing the entire journey through Lena’s eyes, who is also an ex-military turned biology professor. The deeper they venture inside, the more they begin to experience the dangers of the place and discover for themselves that they are now not only fighting for their very lives but also their sanity.
The entire cast performed excellently, and the photography and directing were just beyond amazing. The film also has some strong language throughout (the f-bomb, s**t and such), and a small amount of brief sexuality without the explicit nudity. There’s also plenty of symbolism used throughout and you will surely look back on and say “oh yes, I see it.” You need to pay attention like this during the entire film so that you don’t miss the most important and smallest bits and hints. It’s a film that requires some deep thinking, which is what made it so rewarding for me. So, if you’re looking for something that walks a perfect line between horror and psychedelic splendor, then go see this one right away. Oh, did I mention how stunning the visuals are? Absolutely breathtaking in every aspect, so major props on that area.
Release Date: February 23, 2018
Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Starring: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson
MPAA Rated: R
Directors: Alex Garland
Reviewed by: Kathryn Price
Our Rating: 3.4 /5
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