Annihilation is a movie that fills you with a creeping, crawling sense of cosmic dread and will have you squirming in your seat as you watch a team of highly trained scientists venture into a land where biology has gone haywire and the laws of nature are being repealed before our very eyes. It’s a movie that is by turns terrifying and unsettling, and one that will have you riveted for the entirety of its 2 hour run time. The best part, though, is that it keeps viewers in the dark, disoriented, and constantly questioning what they’re seeing. With Annihilation, writer-director Alex Garland has achieved a rare feat in modern filmmaking: producing a gigantic sci-fi film that manages to preserve its many mysteries, opting for heady horror rather than beating its audience over the head with over-explanation.
[brightcove video_id=”5735426074001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=“rJs2ZD8x”]Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny as the aforementioned team of scientists who embark on a top-secret expedition into Area X, a rapidly expanding zone surrounded by a porous, seemingly alien wall called the Shimmer, which is filled with evolutionary wonders and horrors. By all accounts, it seems like a suicide mission, but each person has a reason for staring into the abyss and taking the plunge into the unknown. It’s one of the reasons that Annihilation works so well, and it’s a big reason why the film was able to create such a dynamic cast of talented performers. To get to the bottom of Annihilation‘s swirling enigmas, our own Maude Garrett (Alpha Book Club) sat down with stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac, as well as writer-director Alex Garland to talk about how they set out to make immersive, emotional sci-fi unlike anything else you’ve ever seen.
Annihilation is in theaters on February 23, 2018. Read our review!
Image: Paramount Pictures
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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter ( @DanCasey).