Review: Alex Garland’s ANNIHILATION is Beautiful and Haunting Sci-Fi Thriller

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Director Alex Garland set the bar extremely high with the first film he directed, Ex Machina. Like many of you, I was blown away by that film, and it was going to be a hard film to follow. When I first heard that the director was taking on Annihilation as his next film, it seemed like it would be the perfect project for him. And you know what? It totally was!

The film is based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy and the story follows a team of female scientists who embark on a dangerous journey inside what is known as The Shimmer. This strange alien phenomenon is changing the biology of everything that it engulfs and it's expanding. The team sent in consists of an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and a biologist. Their job is to study The Shimmer; collect specimens; record their observations, find out what happened to previous expeditions, and if they can... come out of it alive.

Nothing can prepare this team for what they are going to face once inside. The deeper they travel into The Shimmer the crazier things get for this team of people. Along the way, they witness and experience things that are both strange, disorienting, and nightmarishly frightening! Seriously... there's some pretty messed up shit that they come across. 

As I was watching the story unfold, there was no way to predict what was going to happen next. The movie definitely kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat. You should know that this is more of a slow-burn thriller. If you're expecting a full-on action-packed sci-fi spectacle, that's not what you're going to get. It seems like the movie is meant to play with the audience's emotions, mess with their heads, and make them think. It certainly takes you in some insane unexpected directions! 

Don't get me wrong, the movie does have some great action as well as some crazy terrifying moments. I don't want to go into detail on any of that stuff because it's best experienced while you're watching the movie. 

This is a fascinating film and if you liked what you saw in the trailers and you're into strange and trippy sci-fi movies, chances are you're going to enjoy Annihilation. Garland did an incredible job with this movie, I especially loved the visual aspect of it, which you get a taste of in the trailers that were released. There were aspects of the movie that reminded me of something you'd see Stanley Kubrick do.

Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac and every one of them give fantastic performances! I was just engulfed in this wonderfully strange and haunting story from beginning to end. I know the movie isn't going to be for everyone, but there's definitely an audience that is going to love and appreciate it.