A Strangely Beautiful Trip to Area X

the shimmer annihilation


Directed by: Alex Garland

Grade: A-

I’m not going to lie- if I was married to Oscar Issac and some weird place did something weird and was possibly killing him- I’d probably brave it to try to save him.

Annihilation is based on the Jeff Vandermeer Southern Reach trilogy.

the all female team in annihilation
You do not want to watch that!

After her husband comes back seriously ill from a top secret mission biologist (and former soldier) Lena winds up as part of a team entering into and exploring Area X an ever increasing amount of land trapped in a “shimmer.” Many teams have gone in before but they lose contact immediately with base. Lena’s husband is the first to return.

Other members of this team include: Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Nuvotny. All the actresses are really good. Natalie Portman usually is (for me.) The cast also had nice chemistry. I felt like I knew less about Rodriguez character than anyone but generally they do a little better than most of these movies and considering they didn’t have names in the book…

Jennifer Jason Leigh is also present as a somewhat cagey shrink.

jennifer jason leigh and natalie portman

Annihilation is strangely beautiful. There are some lovely shots in this movie that really stayed with me and that’s mixed in with some of the straight-up horror that I usually don’t go for- seriously, if you’re squeamish you may want to turn away when they start playing the video.

I admit a lot of the more beautiful shots in the movie appear in the trailers. But even at the end where it gets trippy Alex Garland gets under your skin. The movie really does remind me of Ex Machina- you’ll definitely be thinking about it days later.

deer in annihilation

shot from annihilation

Haunting is probably a good word.

As to the story I don’t want to give too much away. But I was happy with how it turned out. The ending- I think people may interpret it in different ways. I will say you do get an explanation to what’s going on in Area X- at least scientifically (movie-wise anyway) or how the changes are taking place and that worked for me.

Also really liked the score by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow- although it was anything in Area X and the end stuff that was the real standout.

annihilation natalie portman
The many ways in which we burn ourselves up.

The marriage stuff didn’t work for me a 100% but the reasons why are kind of spoilery so I won’t get into that. The psychologist character was somewhat weird as well and I’m still not sure if that was the character or what I saw in the performance.

Also if you’re in a strange, hostile area with no contact with anyone that could help you and have an elevated watchtower why would you keep watch on the ground what looked like twenty or thirty yards from the tower and the stairs?


Recommend: Yes. Although if you’re squeamish like me beware the horror elements- there where two times in this sucker I definitely had to look away!

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